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Coronavirus Live Updates: Palm Beach County Health Director Warns Parties Near College Campuses Could Cause COVID Uptick

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Palm Beach County
Palm Beach County Commission

This post will be updated today, Tuesday, September 22, 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.


Palm Beach County Health Director Warns Parties Near College Campuses Could Cause COVID Uptick

Updated Tuesday at 2:25 p.m.

The Palm Beach County health director says she doesn’t expect to see a major uptick of COVID-19 cases in elementary and middle schools.

Speaking at a commission meeting today, Dr. Alina Alonso warned high school seniors and university students about exposure. She said contact tracers see most positivity cases among the young demographic just outside of university campuses.

“What we get from our contact tracing is ... it’s either the clubs that they’re going to or the house parties or what’s very popular now is the gathering at parking lots at night, late at night, and then having tailgate parties," Alonso said.

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention removed a public statement that confirmed airborne transmission of COVID-19. Alonso said experts have always said that airborne transmission is possible.

“It’s in your saliva and in your nasal cavity and your throat and so it would need to be expelled when you cough or sneeze like we have always been saying,” Alonso said.

Alonso said the county assigned desk charts for each classroom and buses to make contact tracing easier.

— Wilkine Brutus/WLRN

WATCH LIVE: Miami-Dade, Broward School Boards Weigh Reopening Plans

Updated Tuesday at 12:15 p.m.

The Miami-Dade County school board has resumed its debate over when to reopen school buildings to students after streaming 18 hours of public comments overnight.

Board members are asking questions of Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and his leadership team based on concerns they heard in the comments, including complaints from teachers about the process of applying for accommodations based on their medical conditions.

The board is poised to vote later Tuesday whether to approve Carvalho’s reopening plan. Board members have proposed amending it to push back the proposed start date to no sooner than Oct. 5.

Watch the meeting here.

Broward County's school board is also considering a reopening plan Tuesday. Superintendent Robert Runcie and his staff members are explaining the plan and answering questions now.

Watch the meeting here.

—Jessica Bakeman/WLRN News

Statewide Coronavirus Cases Increase By 2,470, Resident Death Toll Reaches 13,416

Updated Tuesday at noon

Florida surpassed 680,000 positive cases of COVID-19 as Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 2,470 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Florida now has a total of 687,909 confirmed positive cases, according to the state's health department.

Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties make up 682 of the newly reported cases. Monroe County only added three cases overall.

Tuesday’s update also included the announcement of 99 new resident deaths, increasing the statewide number of Floridians who died to 13,416.

— By WLRN News

Palm Beach County Mask Ordinance Extended Until At Least Oct. 22

Updated Tuesday at 8:24 a.m.

Palm Beach County has extended its mask mandate for one more month. But chances are you’ll have to keep covering your face in public for much longer than that.

Facial coverings may be more effective against the new coronavirus than previously thought, public health officials said last week. And because a vaccine against the virus may not be available until well into 2021 — possibly as late as spring or even summer — masks, social distancing, washing hands and quarantining are still the country’s best defense against COVID-19, they say.

Palm Beach County first passed the ordinance requiring masks in public places on June 25 in response to a staggering number of new infections in the state. The order sparked a furious debate from an angry and vocal crowd about public safety and personal freedom.

Read more from our news partner at the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

— By Brooke Baitinger / The South Florida Sun Sentinel