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Coronavirus Live Updates: Sea Turtle Hatchling Releases Go Virtual In Broward Due To COVID-19

green sea turtle hatchling.jpg
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This post will be updated today, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 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.

QUICK UPDATES

Sea Turtle Hatchling Releases Go Virtual In Broward Due To COVID-19

Updated Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Florida’s sea turtle nesting season ends this month. Every year, the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program allows people to attend hatchling releases in person. But that’s being held virtually this year because of the pandemic.

Derek Burkholder is the director of the county’s conservation program and the Marine Environmental Education Center at the Carpenter House. He says sea turtles help people learn about South Florida beaches.

“They are a vital part of our marine environment and because they do sort of link the ocean and land by coming out and laying their nests on the beaches, I think sea turtles, outside of their role in the oceans, they also provide a great opportunity for people to learn about the ocean,” he said.

People can watch sea turtles hatch every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The programs run until Oct. 29. Head here to pre-register.

—Alejandra Marquez Janse/WLRN News

Palm Beach County’s Health Director Says Don’t Panic Over Slow Uptick In Cases

Updated Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

There’s good news on the healthcare front in Palm Beach County. There have been zero COVID-19 related deaths since Oct. 7. But there's also bad news.

Last week the county averaged 125 daily positive cases. New cases yesterday were over 200. And the positivity rate in the county is now above 5 percent.

Speaking at an in-person commission meeting Tuesday, Dr. Alina Alonso said people shouldn’t panic about the uptick of positive COVID-19 cases.

“I’m not causing panic. I’m simply saying that we have to be very cautious as we look at these numbers and try to determine where they are coming from,” Alonso, the county's health director, said. “And be prepared to do what we need to do to put perhaps additional control measures in terms of stopping the spread of COVID.”

Alonso said the public needs to take better precautions as we enter flu season. Those include wearing facial coverings and maintaining healthy social distance.

—Wilkine Brutus/WLRN News

Broward County Accepts Grant Money For ‘Safe Elections’

Updated Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

The Center For Tech and Civic Life, a nonprofit, has granted Broward County a little more than $1.4 million to use "exclusively for the public purpose of planning and operationalizing safe and secure election administration in Broward County in 2020."

At a regular meeting Tuesday, county commissioners voted to accept the grant funding without discussion.

The county submitted a safe voting plan to the nonprofit, outlining that it wishes to use the majority of the funds for paying personnel who’ve already been hired to tabulate a higher-than-normal volume of vote-by-mail ballots, as well as an outreach campaign to voters.

“Broward faced the loss of polling places due to the pandemic,” the county’s safe voting plan stated. “Some precincts were condensed to ensure access, higher volumes of vote by mail ballots, and ballots not counted due to voter errors (no signature, etc.). Late deliveries were received by the USPS…”

The county also outlined it will use about $50,000 of the funds to secure the drop boxes voters are using to drop off their vote-by-mail ballots.

“While the Postal Service has been extraordinarily cooperative, a number of their practices have endangered some Broward ballots mailed close to Election Day,” the plan stated. “Approximately 96 staff will be assigned to retrieve ballots from the post office. This is a significant, very welcome development that has been in the works for some time. It will make a real difference in the final days leading up to Election Day.”

—Caitie Switalski Muñoz/WLRN News

Statewide Coronavirus Cases Increase By 3,662 Resident Death Toll Reaches 16,105

Updated Tuesday at 11:52 a.m.

Florida surpassed 760,000 positive cases of COVID-19 as Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 3,662 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Florida now has a total of 760,389 confirmed positive cases, according to the state's health department.

Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties make up 1,050 of the newly reported cases. Monroe County added 13 new cases overall.

Tuesday’s update also included the announcement of 84 new resident deaths, increasing the statewide number of Floridians who died to 16,105.

— By WLRN News

Court Win Revives Miami-Dade’s COVID-19 Curfew In The Legal Tussle With Night Clubs

Updated Tuesday at 5:31 a.m.

The ongoing fight between Miami-Dade nightlife, especially nudie bar nightlife, and the county government over its COVID-19 curfew took a small swing to the county Monday. An appeals court ruling dropped the curfew curtain again.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the decision came down too late Monday for enforcement so the midnight to 6 a.m. curfew starts again Tuesday night.

At least Miami-Dade’s night clubs and strip clubs got weekend business and Monday Night Football.

— By David J. Neal / The Miami Herald

Read more from our news partner at the Miami Herald

Miami-Dade Schools’ COVID Cases Jump To More Than 80, At Least 50 Schools Impacted

Updated Tuesday at 5:15 a.m.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases among Miami-Dade County public schools students and staff jumped to more than 80 over the weekend, a 75 percent increase in new cases from Friday to Monday, according to the district’s latest information.

But parents and teachers fear that number is significantly higher and say the district has not been transparent enough about the severity of the problem as children enter their third week back to face-to-face learning.

“We’ve been kept in the dark,” said Jennifer Desa, whose son attends Air Base K-8 Center in Homestead.

— By David Goodhue / The Miami Herald

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald