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Unemployment

  • The Florida Board of Education, next week, will consider taking action against 11 Public School Districts with mask mandates that are out of compliance with state rules and an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis.Sarasota School Board members, next week, will vote on whether to repeal the district’s mask policy.A federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate for hospitals is coming in October. Today marks the deadline for NCH employees to be fully vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Lee Health are not imposing a staff vaccine mandate in advance of the federal mandate.Nearly 40% of COVID-19 deaths in Lee Health hospitals have been in the past two months amid the summer pandemic surge driven by the delta variant.A new report projects Florida will have a shortage of 60,000 nurses by 2035.With weekly unemployment claims rolling in at pre-pandemic numbers, state leaders say they remain optimistic about seeing results from a summer push to get people back into the labor force.Republican state lawmakers are sponsoring a bill that would exempt religious institutions from emergency orders.Florida families with children are now set to receive more than $1 billion in federal pandemic relief funds through a program created by Congress last year to assist children who lost access to free and reduced-price school meals when instruction shifted from in-person to virtual.
  • On Friday, Florida reported more than 75,000 COVID-19 cases over the past week, which marks a continuing decline from the summer surge driven by the delta variant. Over the past week, Florida reported an average of more than 10,800 new infections a day.Hospitals in Southwest Florida also continue to report gradual declines in admitted COVID-19 patients.A Florida Highway Patrol trooper in Fort Myers died of complications due to COVID-19 over the weekend. The coronavirus is the leading cause of death this year for law enforcement officers nationwide.Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.0% in August as state leaders continue to push people back into the workforce.A University of Miami study (still pending peer review) finds that vaccinating teachers and cutting class sizes in half would be effective tools for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
  • State health officials reported 1,606 new COVID-19 cases and 24 deaths Monday bringing Florida’s total to more than 2.3 million infections and more than 37,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. As of Monday morning, more than 10 million people in Florida have received a vaccine including more than two million who have received a first dose and more than 7.9 million who have completed a two-dose vaccine series or received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.The state Department of Economic Opportunity announced Monday that unemployed Floridians will no longer receive the additional $300 dollars a week in federal unemployment assistance beginning in late June. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program isn’t slated to sunset until early September, but state officials are cutting off jobless residents early as part of what they’re dubbing a “return to work” initiative.Florida unemployment rate inched up slightly to 4.8% in April as restaurants across the state are reporting labor shortages. The leisure and hospitality sectors are recovering more slowly than other industries in Florida.Norwegian Cruise Line plans to resume voyages from ports on the West Coast, Central America and the Caribbean starting in August. Norwegian is pulling its business from ports in Florida because Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning businesses from requiring proof of vaccination, even though the federal government requires that 98% of a cruise ship’s crew and 95% of passengers be vaccinated before setting sail.
  • Florida health officials reported 5,271 new COVID-19 cases and 46 deaths Tuesday for a total of more than 2.2 million infections and more than 35,600 fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic. The Florida Division of Emergency Management reports that as of Tuesday morning, more than 8.6 million people in the state have received a vaccine including more than 2.7 million who have received a first dose and more than 5.8 million who have completed the series.People seeking vaccine doses at federally-supported clinics in Florida, Monday, were about evenly split between the two-dose Pfizer vaccine and the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This comes after a pause on use of the J&J vaccine was lifted. Federal regulators ordered the temporary halt on administration of the J&J vaccine over very rare instances of people developing blood clots.State legislators are united in an effort to improve the website people use to apply for unemployment benefits after the site crashed last spring as it was inundated with people seeking benefits at the start of the pandemic. However, in the final days of the annual legislative session, lawmakers remain divided over a proposal to increase the maximum weekly unemployment benefit from $275 to $375.Members of a Southwest Florida family accused of selling a toxic industrial bleach as a cure for the coronavirus through their church, have been indicted on federal charges. Last year a federal judge ordered Mark Grenon and his sons to stop selling the substance through Genesis II Church of Health and Healing in Bradenton, but they continued selling it anyway.
  • State health officials reported 4,237 new COVID-19 cases and 32 deaths on Monday. The latest single-day positivity rate reported by the state Division of Emergency Management increased to 10.84%, which is the highest reported since Jan. 28.More than eight million people in Florida have been vaccinated including more than 2.9 million who have received a first dose and more than 5.1 million people who have completed the series.Lee Health is now offering COVID-19 vaccine dose appointments to any Floridian 18 or older. The Health system is encouraging more people to get the vaccine and to continue following CDC guidelines as hospitalizations have increased in recent weeks.FEMA-run vaccine sites in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa are now offering Pfizer vaccine doses with no appointment necessary.The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported Friday that Florida’s unemployment rate was unchanged in March, remaining at 4.7%. The jobs report indicates a slight uptick in the number of people deemed out of work, as the hospitality industry continues to lag in job growth amid the COVID-19 pandemic.Eight workers with a Sarasota-based tax preparation business have been arrested on coronavirus relief fraud charges. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office says they filed 114 fraudulent applications in an effort to receive more than $319,000 in federal CARES Act funding. Another Florida man alleged to have received more than $7.2 million in pandemic relief funds was arrested on an international warrant in Croatia.
  • DeSantis said his goal is to get people back to work rather than increase the benefits.
  • Florida is again seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations. The Florida Division of Emergency Management reports, Sunday’s positivity rate increased to 10.09%, which is the highest its been since Feb. 3.Governor Ron DeSantis vows to sign an executive order banning governments and businesses from requiring “vaccine passports.”State lawmakers are planning to reserve more than $300 million in funding for public schools, in case some of the nearly 90,000 students who didn’t enroll amid the ongoing pandemic come back to school in the fall.Florida’s unemployment rate continued to decline in February to 4.7%.Governor DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody have threated to sue the federal government over the ongoing moratorium on cruise ship operations at U.S. ports, saying it’s hurting Florida’s economy.Former Cape Coral City Councilman John Carioscia died Sunday of complications from COVID-19. In his final months in office Carioscia supported an unsuccessful effort to adopt a mask mandate in the city.North Fort Myers business owner Casey David Crowther was convicted, Friday of COVID-19 relief funding fraud related to a $2 million PPP loan he was awarded last year.
  • Florida's biggest industry — tourism — is still hurting. But over the past year, the state has gained jobs in warehousing, delivery services, and home construction.
  • The state Department of Economic Opportunity reported Monday that Florida’s unemployment rate decreased to 4.8 percent in January, down 0.3 percentage points from a revised December rate.
  • The report comes after Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Dane Eagle said retaining the current system is “not an option.”