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Coronavirus Live Updates: FPL Proposes Pandemic Aid For Small Businesses

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MIAMI HERALD file

This post will be updated today, Friday, Oct. 16, and through the weekend 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.

QUICK UPDATES

Florida Adds More Than 2,500 Cases And 50 Deaths

Florida’s Department of Health on Sunday confirmed 2,539 new COVID-19 cases and 50 deaths.

Throughout the pandemic, less data collection and entry has led to the daily reports on Sundays having lower case and fatality numbers than the rest of the week. Sunday’s case count is the highest reported on a normal Sunday (excluding last week’s combined Saturday and Sunday numbers) since 2,564 on Sept. 6.

The 50 deaths is the most reported on a Sunday since the 51 reported on Aug. 23.

Read more from our news partner the Miami Herald.

-David J. Neal/Miami Herald

FPL Proposes Pandemic Aid For Small Businesses

Updated Friday at 1:15 p.m.

Florida Power & Light has asked state regulators to approve a proposal that would offer bill credits to certain small businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposal, filed Thursday at the state Public Service Commission, would provide 10 percent credits on energy charges and could take effect in December.

It would be available to new small businesses, small businesses that resume operations after being inactive for six months and small businesses located in what are known as “Opportunity Zones” under federal law. Those zones generally are in economically distressed areas.

In the filing at the Public Service Commission, FPL said it “intends this program to help its smallest business customers that may be most significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

FPL and other utilities have taken a series of steps to address customers’ economic problems caused by the pandemic, including temporarily suspending disconnections and trying to work out payment arrangements.

But with utilities resuming disconnections in recent weeks, the Public Service Commission this month rejected a proposal that would have halted many electricity shut-offs for at least 90 days.

— News Service of Florida Staff

Statewide Coronavirus Cases Increase By 3,356 Resident Death Toll Reaches 15,736

Updated Friday at 11:43 a.m.

Florida surpassed 740,000 positive cases of COVID-19 as Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 3,449 cases of COVID-19 on Friday.

Florida now has a total of 748,437 confirmed positive cases, according to the state's health department.

Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties make up 1,039 of the newly reported cases. Monroe County added 20 new cases overall.

Friday’s update also included the announcement of 94 new resident deaths, increasing the statewide number of Floridians who died to 15,830.

— By WLRN News

Tri-Rail Boosts Service As More People Return To Work During Pandemic

Updated Friday at 6:53 a.m.

Tri-Rail, South Florida’s tri-county commuter rail system, is close to returning its train schedules to pre-COVID-19 levels as more workers are returning to their jobs.

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority said the line will increase service to 46 weekday and 28 weekend trains, starting Monday. It’s the fourth schedule change since the agency cut back service in mid-March.

“Since the last increase in service a month ago, we have continued to see an upward trend in ridership,” Steven Abrams, the agency’s executive director, said Thursday. “This increase will not only help accommodate workers for businesses that have recently reopened, but also holiday travelers as people start to plan their vacations.”

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

— By David Lyons / The South Florida Sun Sentinel