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Coronavirus Live Updates: Health Officials In Palm Beach County Introduce The “Hero” Mobile, A COVID-19 Testing Vehicle

Drive-through coronavirus testing sites are growing more common as communities try to get their coronavirus transmission under control. Without continued social distancing, federal estimates suggest the virus will continue to spread widely.
Drive-through coronavirus testing sites are growing more common as communities try to get their coronavirus transmission under control. Without continued social distancing, federal estimates suggest the virus will continue to spread widely.

This post will be updated today, Thursday, Oct. 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.

QUICK UPDATES

Health Officials In Palm Beach County Introduce The “Hero” Mobile, A COVID-19 Testing Vehicle

Updated Thursday at 1:10 p.m.

There’s a new mobile tool to test COVID-19 hot spots in Palm Beach County. The "Hero" mobile is 1 of 3 mobile testing vehicles. It’s staffed by nurse practitioners, a registered nurse, two medical assistants, and two registration specialists.

Darcy Davis is the executive director and CEO of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, introduced the 38-foot clinic on wheels this week.

“There is a need to increase testing to our residents who lack transportation or the time to travel,” Davis said. “A need to test families close to home.”

Deaths and hospitalizations continue a downward trend in Palm Beach County but the average for new positive COVID-19 cases are trending up slightly. The county’s positivity rate hovers around 5 percent.

—Wilkine Brutus/WLRN News

Statewide Coronavirus Cases Increase By 5,557 Resident Death Toll Reaches 16,267

Updated Thursday at 12:50 p.m.

Florida surpassed 760,000 positive cases of COVID-19 as Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 5,557 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

Florida now has a total of 768,091 confirmed positive cases, according to the state's health department.

Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties make up 1,778 of the newly reported cases. Monroe County added 30 new cases overall.

Thursday’s update also included the announcement of 57 new resident deaths, increasing the statewide number of Floridians who died to 16,267.

— By WLRN News

Firm Behind Florida Unemployment Mess Will Get $135 Million State Contract After All

Updated Thursday 8:06 a.m.

Deloitte Consulting, the company behind Florida’s disastrously faulty unemployment system, is getting another huge state contract after all.

Despite months of negative publicity, including criticism from Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Agency for Health Care Administration is moving forward with Deloitte on a potential $135 million contract to overhaul the state’s Medicaid data system.

In August, the agency announced its plan to award Deloitte the contract. But the new project got delayed when two of Deloitte’s competitors, Accenture and IBM, filed bid protests claiming, in part, that Deloitte lied on its bid and the state ignored its history with the unemployment system.

— By Kirby Wilson and Lawrence Mower / The Miami Herald

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.

Florida To Investigate All COVID-19 Deaths After Questions About ‘Integrity’ Of Data

Updated Thursday at 8:04 a.m.

Florida, which has reported the deaths of over 16,400 people from COVID-19, now says the public may not be able to trust any of those numbers.

The state Department of Health on Wednesday ordered an investigation of all pandemic fatalities, one week after House Speaker Jose Oliva slammed the death data from medical examiners as “often lacking in rigor” and undermining "the completeness and reliability of the death records.”

House Democrats then blasted the House Republicans' report as an insult to coronavirus victims and an attempt “to downplay the death toll.”

— By Marc Freeman, Andrew Boryga and Cindy Krischer Goodman / The South Florida Sun Sentinel

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

Carnival Plan To Resume U.S. Cruises On Dec. 1 Remains On Track After Judge’s Ruling

Updated Thursday at 8:02 a.m.

Carnival Corporation is still on track to resume cruises in the U.S. on Dec. 1 after a favorable ruling from a federal judge Wednesday.

The company, on probation since 2017 after pleading guilty to dumping oil into the ocean for several years, will have to attest to the environmental protection status of each of the company’s cruise ships 30 days before they reenter U.S. waters to restart cruises, according to the order from U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida Patricia Seitz.

Carnival Corp. successfully fended off a stricter order proposed by the judge at a hearing on Friday that would have required ships to get her approval 60 days before reentering U.S. waters — which would have essentially derailed its plans to restart cruises from PortMiami and Port Canaveral on Dec. 1. For ships returning to U.S. waters before Dec. 31, the company can file its certification up to seven days after returning, Wednesday’s order said.

— By Taylor Dolven / The Miami Herald

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.