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Coronavirus Live Updates: West Palm Beach Officials Cancel Popular GreenMarket, Downtown Events As COVID-19 Cases Rise

WLRN screenshot
Dr.Alina Alonso at the Palm Beach County Commission meeting. 10/27/2020

This post will be updated today, Thursday, Jan. 14, 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.


West Palm Beach Officials Cancel Popular GreenMarket, Downtown Events As COVID-19 Cases Rise

Updated Thursday at 4:25 p.m.

COVID-19 restrictions couldn’t save the popular GreenMarket in downtown West Palm Beach.

The waterfront farmer’s market has attracted thousands of people each week since it returned a few months ago. All of the pandemic-related safety measures were in place — masks were mandatory, vendors were spaced out. But city officials say the expected post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases is forcing the suspension of large gatherings.

In a statement, city officials announced all private and public events permitted through Jan. 24 will be suspended. Palm Beach County’s test positivity rate hovers around 10%. Health director Dr. Alina Alonso says she wants the county to be under the 5% threshold that could allow for proper contact tracing.

The city says it will modify the suspensions as needed.

— Wilkine Brutus/WLRN News

Florida Adds More Than 13,000 New Cases, Miami-Dade Death Toll Reaches 4,500

Updated Thursday at 4 p.m.

Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 13,720 positive cases of COVID-19 Thursday. Florida has a total of 1,531,192 confirmed positive cases, according to the state's health department.

Thursday's update also included the announcement of 217 new resident deaths, increasing the statewide number of Floridians who died to 23,613. Factoring in non-resident deaths the number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 23,981.

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties make up 8,454 of those reported deaths. Monroe County has reported 37 deaths due to COVID-19.

— WLRN News

Broward Teachers Union Launches Radio Ad Following Lawsuit Filed Last Week

Updated Thursday at 1 p.m.

Following a lawsuit filed last week, the Broward Teachers Union and the American Federation of Teachers launched a radio Wednesday, echoing previous statements they’ve made about some teachers being asked to return to school campuses.

"Some of our teachers are facing challenges of their own. Cancer, kidney disease, diabetes and other life-threatening conditions," says the minute-long ad that's available in English and Spanish. "That’s why it’s nothing short of a betrayal when Superintendent Robert Runcie said he would force medically high-risk teachers into environments that threaten their health."

The teachers union is against the district ending remote work accommodations for more than 1,100 teachers as the spread of COVID-19 continues. Superintendent Runcie has said his concern is that many students are not doing well academically through online learning.

In a press conference last week, he said 600 teachers will be allowed to continue working from home, but that the list may grow.

— Sherrilyn Cabrera/WLRN News

Zoo Miami Is Now A Vaccine Site. Here’s How You Can Get A COVID Shot There

Updated Thursday at 9:44 a.m.

Zoo Miami’s parking lot is turning into a COVID-19 vaccination site Friday, and its first patients will be those who booked appointments through Miami-Dade County’s online portal earlier this week.

The county-run drive-thru vaccination site at 12400 SW 152nd St. on the southern edge of West Kendall is for seniors 65 and older and frontline healthcare workers. Appointments are required but you won’t be able to get one yet.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava made the official announcement Thursday during a news conference at Tropical Park, another COVID-19 vaccination site.

— By Michelle Marchante and Douglas Hanks

Read more from our news partner at the Miami Herald.

Delray Beach Fire To Give Out 200 COVID-19 Vaccines To Seniors

Updated Thursday at 7:59 a.m.

Delray Beach Fire Rescue will soon administer a small amount of coveted coronavirus vaccines to those 65 and older who sign up online.

The state department of health in Palm Beach County will provide 200 vaccines to Delray’s fire department, which is “likely” to be the first in a series for the department to administer to the general public, according to a news release.

Delray Beach Fire Rescue will start administering the vaccines on Friday to seniors who sign up online. Seniors who want the vaccine can register starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday. They will only be able to register at this link: https://DelrayBeachVaccine.as.me/DelrayBeach.

—By Brook Baitinger / The South Florida Sun Sentinel

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

105 Publix Pharmacies Will Offer COVID-19 Vaccines In Florida. South Florida Left Out Again

Updated Wednesday at 6:14 a.m

The Publix COVID-19 vaccine program added 56 more stores on Wednesday, a day after 27 Publix pharmacies were added to the state list. None of the 105 pharmacies administering vaccines will be in South Florida, the epicenter of the state’s COVID-19 cases.

On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said 56 Publix stores in Flagler, St. Johns, Volusia and Collier counties will offer thousands of vaccines to people 65 and older on Thursday through their pharmacies. The 105 stores that will administer the vaccines are mostly in North and Central Florida.

Publix vaccinations by appointment will begin Thursday for the new stores. Those eligible can make an appointment and see store locations at publix.com/covidvaccine.

— By Devoun Cetoute / The Miami Herald

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.

Florida Surgeon General Promises Improvements, But Long Waits, For COVID Vaccine Distribution

Updated Thursday at 6:00 a.m

Faced with complaints about Florida’s maddening system for distributing COVID vaccines, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees on Wednesday promised improvements but said many Floridians will be in for a long wait.

In his first testimony in the state Legislature since the beginning of the COVID crisis, Rivkees and his top deputy addressed the vaccine shortage, how soon teachers will get it and whether tourists are taking advantage of Florida’s loose laws.

They avoided direct answers to some questions, such as how long it will take to vaccinate seniors and why teachers can’t be moved up on the list. And they heard the frustration of senators who have been fielding calls from constituents angry about the crashed websites, long lines and perceptions of line-jumping by the well-connected, such as members of hospital boards.

— By David Fleshler and Cindy Krischer Goodman / The South Florida Sun Sentinel

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

Mounting Glitches Keep Palm Beach County Seniors On Edge About Vaccinations

Updated Thursday at 5:51 a.m

An email blast that was supposed to calm anxious seniors about their chances of receiving a coronavirus vaccine imploded on the Palm Beach County Health Department when its system was unable to send out the messages en masse.

Once again blaming technical glitches, health officials on Wednesday said their system couldn’t send all 120,000 emails at once.

The emails, which were to be sent out Tuesday to assure seniors that their requests for appointments had been received, were being sent out “incrementally,” said Alexander Shaw, a spokesman for the state-run health department.

— By Jane Musgrave / The Palm Beach Post

Read more from our news partner at The Palm Beach Post.