Social distancing matters. Here is how to do it and how it can help curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’ll update this story throughout the day with the latest news about coronavirus and its effects in Florida.
As expected, confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus jumped yet again Thursday.
There are now 2,484 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in Florida, according to the state Department of Health.
Florida is reporting 29 deaths linked to COVID-19.
The United States has reported 1,296 coronavirus-related deaths nationwide, as the country surpassed Italy and China Thursday for the most confirmed cases (85,991) of COVID-19, according to information from John Hopkin’s University.
Worldwide, the number of cases stands at 537,042, with 24,100 deaths associated with the virus.
South Florida continues to act as an epicenter for the novel coronavirus, as reported cases of the virus have barraged Dade (654) and Broward counties (505), which account for nearly 47 percent of the total statewide cases.
Three other counties have reported more than 100 cases, as of Thursday evening: Palm Beach (174), Hillsborough (151) and Orange (119).
Multiple deaths have been recorded in the following counties: Clay (4), Broward (3), Duval (3), Lee (3), Orange (3), Palm Beach (3), and Sarasota (2). Additionally, coronavirus patients have died in Citrus, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Santa Rosa, and St. John’s counties. The ages of the deceased range from 52 to 96.
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Where is COVID-19 in Florida?:Use this map to track the outbreak of COVID-19
The virus is hitting every age group in the state, with the majority of cases between the ages of 25 and 74.
The state Department of Health, under the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis, will update the latest COVID-19 numbers at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.
For a list of symptoms, scroll below.
Florida, home to millions of elderly residents, doesn’t have enough coronavirus tests. Could it be the next epicenter?
6:47 a.m. March 27
The Sunshine State has come under fire after its beaches remained jammed with spring breakers last week and Gov. Ron DeSantis has ignored calls to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order.
That may contribute to Florida becoming the next hot spot for COVID-19, a chilling possibility considering that the elderly are the most likely to die from the disease and Florida is home to nearly four million people 65 and over, the second-highest number in the U.S. behind California.
Containment strategies still debated as numbers near 2,500
6:35 p.m. March 26
As the number of cases and deaths related to COVID-19 — the illness caused by the novel coronavirus — rise dramatically in Florida, the debate over how best to contain the virus and keep it from spreading goes on.
With Florida lagging the nation on social distancing requirements, public health officials, epidemiologists, health care workers, and politicians have urged Gov. Ron DeSantis to shut down the Sunshine State before it becomes the next hot zone like New York City.
Walgreens offers drive-thru shopping from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.
5:52 p.m. March 26
Walgreens made it a little more convenient to shop at its convenience stores.
In a message to its customers, the pharmaceutical store chain said: “We’re just a window away. We’re here to make life a little easier with convenient drive-thru shopping, updated store hours and the answers you need.”
UF Health workers devise way to reuse hospital materials, otherwise discarded
4:56 p.m. March 26
With respiratory masks used by health workers battling the coronavirus in short supply, the University of Florida Health’s department of anesthesiology has developed masks that can be produced in large quantities using materials already found in hospitals and medical facilities.
N95 respirator masks have been in high demand worldwide since the outbreak of COVID-19. That led a UF Health anesthesiology professor to create a simple respirator mask from the sterile wrapping that is normally used to surround surgical instrument trays before they pass through gas sterilization or an autoclave.
The innovative mask uses Halyard H600 two-ply spun polypropylene that cannot be penetrated by water, bacteria or particles. It blocks 99.9% of particulates, making the masks about 4% more effective at blocking particulate material than the N95 masks, according to Bruce Spiess, M.D., a professor of anesthesiology in the UF College of Medicine, who made that calculation based on the manufacturer’s specifications.
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