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  • A lawsuit has been filed against the Florida Department of Health for failing to provide information about county-level COVID-19 deaths.During a stop in Fort Myers, Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis indicated that the state may resume releasing county-level data on COVID-19 deaths.The number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide has risen dramatically in recent weeks.Florida plans to begin issuing $5,000 fines to businesses, schools and government agencies that require proof of COVID-19 vaccination beginning Sept. 16.Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has sent a letter to the Sarasota County School board, threatening to withhold funding totaling the amount of school board members' salaries over the district's mandatory mask mandate for students. At least ten other school districts face similar funding threats due to their mask policies.Governor Ron DeSantis did not violate the law by ending federal unemployment benefits early for out of work Floridians, according to a judge's ruling, Monday.COVID-19 patients continue to strain resources at Southwest Florida hospitals. Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Cape Coral Hospital now have refrigerated trailers serving as additional morgue space to store dead bodies.
  • Closing arguments are slated for today (Aug. 26) with a ruling expected Friday in a lawsuit filed by parents challenging Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order barring school districts from imposing mask mandates for students.Lee Health reported another record-high number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, Wednesday, with 646 patients, including 15 children.A Leon County circuit judge, Wednesday, waded into a lawsuit about whether Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration violated state law when it cut off federal unemployment money in June for tens of thousands of jobless Floridians. A ruling is expected by Friday, though the decision is likely to be appealed.Florida’s Poison Control Centers say they’ve treated nearly 30 Floridians after they took doses of ivermectin in an effort to ward off COVID-19. Ivermectin is a deworming medication used to treat livestock.Tampa Mayor Cathy Castor announced Wednesday that the city will mandate COVID-19 vaccines for the city’s 4,700 employees.The Florida Hospital Association is sounding the alarm, saying a survey shows 68 hospitals have less than a 48-hour supply of oxygen. The lack of available liquid oxygen due to the surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations has prompted Tampa Bay water officials to temporarily use bleach at its Lithia Hydrogen Sulfide Removal Facility, meaning residents may notice slight changes in the way their water tastes and smells.In the past four weeks, the average number of weekly vaccine doses administered in Florida rose by 57% from the previous month. Experts say that's great, but it won't stop the surge overnight.
  • Despite a nationwide decrease in COVID-19 cases over the last week, a USA Today Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data finds that in the week ending June 6, Florida experienced a 14.9% increase in new cases compared to the prior week. Florida has documented more than 2.3 million COVID-19 infections and more than 37,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.More than 19 million total vaccine doses have been administered in Florida so far. Last week, the Florida Hospital Association reported that COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state are at their lowest level in more than a year and down nearly 20% from the peak reached in July 2020.The American Federal of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations are urging Governor Ron DeSantis to reverse coarse on a plan to prematurely end Florida’s participation in a federal program that provides an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits to jobless Floridians.A federal judge will hear arguments, Thursday, in Florida’s lawsuit against the CDC over its rules for how the cruise industry can resume sailings. One way the CDC will allow cruise ships to resume operating is if staff and passengers are fully vaccinated, but a new Florida law set to take effect July 1, bars businesses from requiring vaccine passports. Meanwhile, the Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruise lines have recently announced plans to resume cruises from Florida portsState health officials are no longer providing daily updates on the coronavirus pandemic through the Florida Department of Health's online COVID-19 dashboard, and instead are updating information on a weekly basis.Florida courts can lift mask-wearing and social distancing requirements for in-person proceedings starting June 21.
  • 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.
  • State health officials reported 3,184 new COVID-19 cases and 51 deaths, Wednesday. As of Wednesday morning, nearly 9.4 million people in Florida have been vaccinated including more than 7.2 million people who have completed a two-dose series or taken the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.Florida officials plan to reinstate a requirement that those receiving state unemployment benefits must show that they’re looking for work and applying for jobs.The Florida Division of Emergency Management this week announced plans to close state-run COVID-19 testing sites throughout the state.The number of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 is going down in Florida, but new admissions are still higher than in most parts of the country, especially for younger and middle-aged adults.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC have now approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 12 to 15-year-old children.Collier and Manatee County School District officials are looking to make mask wearing optional for summer school and for the new school year that begins this fall.
  • 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 5,571 new COVID-19 cases and 83 deaths, Wednesday for a total of more than 2.1 million cases and more than 35,000 deaths statewide since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 8.2 million people in Florida have been vaccinated so far, including more than 2.9 million people who have received a first dose and more than 5.3 million who have completed the series.The University of South Florida is studying whether those with a history of allergies are more at risk for severe reactions from COVID-19 vaccines.The Florida Senate continues to consider a bill that would increase the cap on unemployment benefits from $275 a week to $375 a week, although Gov. Ron DeSantis has voiced opposition to the move.Sarasota Health officials are holding a pop-up vaccine clinic on Saturday for 16 and 17-year-olds.Sarasota is currently experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 infections and reduced vaccine demand.
  • State health officials reported 6,331 COVID-19 cases, Wednesday, for a total of 944,745 cases. The Florida Department of Health also reported 94 new coronavirus-related deaths, Nov. 23, increasing the statewide death toll to 18,310 fatalities.Over the past seven days, the single-day average number of new infections reported has increased to 7,529 cases. The average number of daily deaths reported over the past week has increased to nearly 72 fatalities a day.
  • State health officials reported 3,255 new COVID-19 cases, Thursday, increasing Florida's total to 674,456 cases. The Florida Department of Health also reported 147 new coronavirus-related deaths, Sept. 17, bringing the statewide death toll to 13,247 fatalities.Of the 5,018,057 COVID-19 tests that have been reported in Florida so far, the overall positivity rate stands at 13.44%. The latest single-day positivity rate stands at 4.44%.
  • State health officials reported 3,571 new cases of COVID-19, Thursday increasing Florida's total to 637,013 cases.The Florida Department of Health also reported 149 new coronavirus-related deaths, yesterday, bringing the statewide death toll to 11,800 fatalities. The seven-day average for numbers of deaths reported in a day is 112. That number has not dropped below 100 reported deaths a day since July 16.