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  • Governor Ron DeSantis has appealed a Leon County Circuit Court Judge’s ruling striking down his executive order barring school districts from imposing student mask mandates.Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran sent a letter, last week, threatening to withhold state funding from the Lee County School district due to its mask-wearing policy for students, which only allows students to opt-out with a doctor’s note.The Florida Department of Health, last month, changed the way it reports the number of deaths from COVID-19 to a method that misleads people into believe there's been a decline in deaths.The Orlando Utilities Commission is reminding customers to conserve water as an unprecedented surge in the coronavirus causes a shortage of liquid oxygen. Two weeks after making the request, the utility says customers are saving on water, but not enough.With Florida legislative committee meetings starting later this month in advance of the 2022 annual law-making session, the state Senate is not planning to limit public access as Florida continues battling the COVID-19 pandemic.The Carnival Cruise Line plans to require proof of vaccination for passengers when cruises resume from some Florida ports in November.Federal COVID rental assistance relief funds in Sarasota and Manatee County have been slow to reach residents in need.
  • A lawsuit challenging Governor Ron DeSantis’ ban on school districts imposing mask mandates for students is expected to conclude today. Lee Health reported a new record high of 641 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, Tuesday. Lee Health has reached 98% of staffed operational capacity and could soon begin seeing patients in traditionally non-treatment areas like cafeterias.Doctors are urging pregnant patients to get a COVID-19 vaccine and hoping the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine will help people overcome vaccine hesitancy.The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is not taking action against staff who knowingly spread COVID-19 by coming to work, despite a positive test and symptoms.Disney is requiring union workers to get vaccinated or lose their jobs.
  • State health officials reported 4,504 new COVID-19 infections and 71 deaths on Thursday. As of Thursday morning, more than 9.1 million people in Florida have been vaccinated, including more than 6.6 million who are fully vaccinated with either two-doses or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.Local Governments in Southwest Florida and beyond are allowing emergency declarations and COVID restrictions to end following Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order, Monday, lifting all coronavirus restrictions imposed by local governments.COVID restrictions are being loosened in Florida courthouse buildings. The CDC has issued guidance to cruise lines about how they can begin trial voyages and theme parks in Central Florida are planning to do away with temperature checks as the CDC’s guidance is changing.
  • At the signing of a bill banning COVID-19 passports, Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced a surprise executive order suspending all local emergency orders related to the pandemic.In opposition to CDC guidance, last week Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees issued an advisory saying that Floridians who have been fully inoculated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear masks in public.State health officials report 3,075 new COVID-19 cases and 39 Deaths on Monday. More than 8.9 million people in Florida have been vaccinated including more than 2.5 million who have received a first dose, and more than 6.3 million people who have been fully vaccinated.Sarasota County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program aimed at helping those facing financial hardship from the pandemic and struggling to pay rent will begin taking applications May 5.
  • State health officials reported 7,537 COVID-19 cases Wednesday and 160 deaths. Despite warnings from health officials about the more contagious COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7, Gov. Ron DeSantis dismissed those concerns during a news conference at a new pop-up vaccine clinic in Venice. The new pop-up clinic increases vaccine access for residents in southern portions of Sarasota County. The City of Marco Island has a new vaccine registration system. Publix locations in Manatee and Sarasota Counties began administering vaccine doses this week. The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County is working to track coronavirus cases related to the Super Bowl and celebrations surrounding the game.
  • State health officials reported 5,737 COVID-19 cases and 120 deaths, Monday. Currently more than two million people in Florida have received the vaccine including more than 1.3 million people who have received a first dose and nearly 694,000 people who have completed the series with two doses.Lee Health received 1,000 vaccine doses this week, primarily for people under 65 years old who are at higher risk from the virus. In Sarasota County, 7,000 vaccine doses will be administered this week primarily to people 65 and older who are awaiting a first dose.Physicians say even people who have contracted COVID-19 should get the vaccine because it remains unclear how long the vaccine provides immunity and because a second infection of the virus can be more severe.Also, there are several efforts available to help seniors navigate Florida’s online vaccine appointment registration system.
  • State health officials reported 8,875 new COVID-19 cases, Wednesday, for a total of 1,676,171 infections. The Florida Department of Health reported 160 coronavirus-related deaths, Jan. 27, increasing the statewide death toll to 26,249 fatalities
  • State health officials reported nearly 5,600 new COVID-19 cases, Sunday bringing Florida's total to 734,491 cases. The Florida Department of Health also reported 180 new coronavirus-related deaths, Oct. 11, increasing the statewide death toll to 15,552 fatalities.Sunday's single day case load increase was larger than what the health department has been reporting recently, after health officials did not update the state's coronavirus online dashboard Saturday, for the first time in seven months.
  • The world-class musicians of the non-profit chamber music group Sarasota Musica Viva are in the midst of their third full season performing at venues in…
  • Environment
    Sarasota County Commissioners turned down a plan Wednesday to locate a controversial cement-recycling plant near a popular bird sanctuary.Jim Gabbert…