Coronavirus Live Updates: Broward County Meets To Discuss How Coronavirus Will Impact Next Year’s Budget
This post will be updated today, Wednesday, Aug. 26, and through the week with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.
WLRN staff continues to add to community resource lists, including this article on where kids and families can get food while schools are closed, and this post about whether and where to get tested for coronavirus.
The dedicated website for the Florida Department of Health, including information about symptoms and numbers of cases, can be found here.
The dedicated website from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found here.
To receive WLRN's coronavirus updates newsletter on Wednesdays and Saturdays, sign up here.
Broward County Meets To Discuss How Coronavirus Will Impact Next Year’s Budget
Updated Wednesday at 6 p.m.
The Broward County Commission is meeting for a workshop Thursday to hear presentations for the county's budget next year.
Commissioners are expected to review survey results collected by the National Association of Counties, showing the effects of the coronavirus on county governments. The analysis shows impacts of $202 billion to counties across the U.S.
They will also have to look at how Florida’s revenue losses will affect the upcoming county budget for 2021.
While the coronavirus continues to cause revenue losses, employment losses and additional expenses — social justice groups in Broward continue to push for the reallocation of funding, earmarked for law enforcement, to community programs.
An organizer with the Black Lives Matter Alliance of Broward, Mike Howson, said commissioners need to listen to concerns.
"We really believe in the budget being a representation of a government's priorities,” Howson said. “These are your voters, your constituents who are sitting here asking you very specific questions about spending their money. How can you ignore them now?"
The group has a research guide to 'defunding the police' online. They plan to meet Monday, Aug. 31 to prioritize which community programs they think should get money.
Broward County's first public budget hearing is Sept. 10. The second public budget hearing is set for Sept. 22. See the full county presentation here.
— Caitie Switalski / WLRN News
Florida Reports 3,220 New COVID-19 Cases And 153 New Deaths
Updated Wednesday at 12:04 p.m.
The Florida Department of Health reported more than 3,000 positive cases of COVID-19, and 153 Florida residents have died.
After two days of reporting its lowest single-day infection counts since June, Florida added 3,220 new cases on Wednesday bringing the total number to 608,722.
South Florida has consistently made up more than a third of all coronavirus cases statewide. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties reported a total of 1,209 new cases. Monroe County only added five more bringing its total up to 1,700.
Miami-Dade County reported 750 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. Broward and Palm Beach counties added 299 and 160 new cases respectively.
Of the 4,480,431 people tested, 13.5 percent tested positive.
The number of COVID-19 related deaths among Florida residents jumped by 153. South Florida makes up 66 of these deaths. The death toll is now at 10, 733.
— By Alyssa Ramos/ WLRN News
Medical Examiners No Longer Required To Certify COVID-19 Deaths In Florida
Updated Wednesday at 10:17 a.m.
A rule change that came into effect last week means Florida's medical examiners are no longer required to certify COVID-19 deaths, instead physicians can do so directly to the Department of Health, bringing an end to what was an independent and detailed accounting of who had died from the pandemic in Florida.
"Medical examiners will not automatically assume jurisdiction of COVID-19 cases and treating physicians may certify COVID-19 deaths," the Aug. 14 motion from the Medical Examiners Commission states.
From the start of the pandemic Florida's medical examiners were tasked with tracking all coronavirus fatalities. A signature from a medical examiner's office and their verification of a positive test was required for a death certificate that listed COVID-19 as a cause or contributory cause of death. But as deaths began to skyrocket through the month of July, medical examiners, especially in south Florida counties, found themselves overwhelmed and couldn't certify deaths fast enough.
Read more at our news partner at the Palm Beach Post.
— By Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon/ Florida Today
UF Part Of Convalescent Plasma Trial
Updated Wednesday at 10:03 a.m.
University of Florida Health announced Tuesday it enrolled two patients in a national clinical trial about convalescent blood plasma and whether it can reduce the effects of COVID-19.
UF Health is one of 50 medical centers nationwide participating in the clinical trial, which is expected to enroll 600 patients. Enrolled patients must have a mild form of COVID-19 but be at risk of developing more severe cases because of immunity issues, their ages, lung disease or diabetes, Lisa H. Merck, a physician who is vice chair of research in the UF College of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine and site principal investigator, said in a prepared statement.
Researchers are interested in how patients respond in the first two weeks of their illness but will track patients for a month. It is a blind clinical trial, meaning patients won’t know whether they have been given convalescent blood plasma or placebos.
— By NSF Staff
Prison Virus Toll Keeps Climbing
Updated Wednesday at 5:49 am
Florida corrections officials on Tuesday reported 77 new coronavirus cases among prisoners and staff, as well as two more inmate deaths related to COVID-19.
The number of inmates who have died from complications of COVID-19 climbed to 86 on Tuesday, with 40 percent of the deaths occurring in the month of August. Three correctional officers also have died after contracting the deadly respiratory illness this month.
Since Monday, an additional 35 inmates and 42 workers have tested positive for the virus. In total, 15,401 inmates and 2,455 corrections workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in March, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Corrections.
As the virus continues to spread throughout the state prison system, the number of inmates who have tested positive for the highly contagious virus has skyrocketed.
Lowell Correctional Institution, a women’s prison in Ocala, reached 1,000 cases on Tuesday. Columbia Correctional Institution, a prison in Lake City with 1,338 inmate cases, is the only other prison in the state with more than 1,000 inmate cases.
But other prisons are nearing the 1,000-inmate benchmark. For example, Mayo Annex has 949 cases, Suwannee Correctional Institution has 811 cases, and Century Correctional Institution has 766 cases. Florida's prison system houses about 87,700 inmates.
— By NSF Staff