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Coronavirus Live Updates: Florida Adds More Than 5,100 New Cases, 163 New Resident Deaths

MDFR agent tropical park.jpg
The Miami Herald
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crew members are assisting in the vaccination process for seniors at Miami-Dade’s Tropical Park on Jan. 9, 2021.

This post will be updated today, Thursday, Feb. 18, and through the week with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

WLRN staff continues to add updates on testing and vaccination sites, executive orders and messages from government officials, and the latest news on COVID-19. You can find information on free food and food distributions here.

The dedicated website for the Florida Department of Health, including information about the numbers of cases, can be found here.

The dedicated website from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found here.

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Florida Adds More Than 5,100 New Cases, 163 New Resident Deaths

Updated Thursday at 3 p.m.

Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 5,117 positive cases of COVID-19 Thursday. Florida has a total of 1,849,744 confirmed positive cases, according to the state's health department.

Thursday's update also included the announcement of 163 new resident deaths, increasing the statewide number of Floridians who died to 29,474. Factoring in non-resident deaths the number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 29,990.

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties make up 9,922 of those reported deaths. Monroe County has reported 44 deaths due to COVID-19.

— WLRN News

Miami’s Jackson On Cusp Of Expanding COVID Vaccine To Include Some Of Those 55 And Up

Updated Thursday at 6:20 a.m

After more than a month of frenzied online lotteries and ad hoc partnerships with faith leaders, Miami’s public hospital has finally seen a slackening of demand among people 65 and older for the two federally authorized COVID vaccines.

That’s led to internal conversations at Jackson Health System about whether it’s time to shift the focus to those 55 and older who have underlying medical conditions that put them at risk for severe COVID-19 — a bucket of people already eligible under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ late December executive order on vaccines, but who have struggled to find appointment slots.

Jackson Health has already been vaccinating that age bracket of existing patients, but hasn’t yet opened the appointments up to the public — no South Florida hospital has.

— By Ben Conarck / The Miami Herald

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.

Need A Second Vaccination Dose? There’s A New Way To Schedule At Two Miami-Area Sites

Updated Thursday at 6:16 a.m

There’s a new scheduling process for second-dose appointments at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens and Marlins Park in Miami.

Seniors 65 and older and eligible healthcare workers can schedule their second-dose appointment the same day they receive their first dose, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, which is tasked with the state’s vaccine distribution.

The on-site scheduling system has been in the works since the state-run sites opened and will help streamline the appointment process, the division said.

— By Michelle Marchante / The Miami Herald

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.

Students Must Return To School For Testing, Even If They’ve Been Learning At Home

Updated Thursday at 6:14 a.m

Florida wants all students in grades 3 and up to show up in person for standardized tests this spring — regardless of whether their parents have kept them at home for COVID-19.

State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran signed an order this week requiring the tests. The order said the tests are more important than ever because many struggling students are learning at home and falling behind.

Test results will “ensure that each student is given the services and supports they need to succeed in life,” the order says.

— By Lisa J. Huriash / The South Florida Sun Sentinel

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