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Verónica Zaragovia

  • Lee Health and the NCH Healthcare systems have resumed performing elective surgeries as numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients continue to decline.State workers in Florida are still struggling more than a year and a half into the pandemic. Three state prisons have closed due to a lack of corrections officers. Agencies under Governor Ron DeSantis' control began ordering employees back to their offices last October with mask wearing and social distancing optional. Since then, state agencies have disclosed little public information about how their workers are faring.Gov. DeSantis is crediting the recent decline in hospitalized COVID-19 patients to his efforts to increase access to monoclonal antibody treatments, but doctors argue that the treatments are just part of the reason why hospitalizations are on the decline and that the treatments are not a replacement for vaccination.A lawsuit filed by several Florida school districts over mask mandates was recently dismissed, but Leon County School District officials say they’ll refile their suit to reflect recent rule changes from the Florida Department of Health. A dozen other Florida districts are presently defying Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attempts to ban mandatory masking in schools.
  • Physician and researcher Dr. Joseph Ladapo was announced, Tuesday, as Florida’s new Surgeon General. In a news conference, Ladapo discussed his objection to mandates and lockdowns as tools to quell the spread of COVID-19, saying whether to get the vaccine should be a personal choice.Pfizer-BioNTech says its vaccine trial for 5-11-year-old kids is showing promising initial results. A vaccine for children may be approved by November or December.Manatee County Commissioners are among local elected leaders raising concerns about possibly being caught between state law banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates and President Biden's proposed federal mandate requiring large employers to require workers to get vaccinated, or be tested for the virus weekly.
  • A Florida judge overturned an emergency motion, Thursday, attempting to reinstate a stay on his previous ruling that allows school districts to keep their student mandatory mask policies in place.Numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Southwest Florida continue to decline, as COVID-19 deaths of hospitalized patients continue to grow.The Fallen Officer Memorial Page lists COVID-19 as the number one cause of death for law enforcement officers nationwide in both 2020 and 2021.
  • 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.
  • Hearings began Aug. 23 in a lawsuit brought by parents challenging Governor Ron DeSantis' executive order barring school districts from imposing mask mandates for students. Hearings in the legal challenge are expected to continue through Wednesday.Florida Democrats seeking to unseat Governor Ron DeSantis have focused heavily on the pandemic since the most recent surge in COVID-19 cases. A recent survey of voters indicates this strategy isn't hurting at this time.Sarasota Memorial Hospital is now leasing a refrigerated trailer to serve as an expanded morgue. The trailer isn't currently in use, but was leased in preparation for an expected surge in COVID-19 deaths in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Lee Health reported another record-high number of COVID-19 patients in its hospitals Monday, and capacity is stretched to the point that non-patient areas like cafeterias may be needed to care for patients.Sarasota Memorial Hospital is looking to boost the number of employees vaccinated against COVID-19 by offering $500 bonuses to staff who are fully inoculated by Oct. 1.