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Coronavirus Live Updates: State Reports More Than 5,500 New Cases Sunday, Vaccinations Near 1.7 Million

 The first seniors in the South Florida general public could start getting their shots to fight COVID-19 — as soon as this weekend.
The first seniors in the South Florida general public could start getting their shots to fight COVID-19 — as soon as this weekend.

This post will be updated today, Friday, Feb. 26, and through the weekend 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.

To receive WLRN's coronavirus updates newsletter on Wednesdays and Saturdays, sign up here.

QUICK UPDATES

Positivity Rises Slightly As State Reports Numbers For Sunday

Updated Sunday at 6 p.m.

Sunday, the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 5,539 new cases and 126 total deaths in the state, continuing trends for each number.

Current hospitalizations continued to decrease, a sign of progress against COVID or a factor of the state losing 100 to 200 people per day or a combination of the two. Positive test rates hopped up a bit in the state and Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

For the novel coronavirus pandemic, Florida has had 1,909,221 total cases, 30,852 resident deaths and 31,406 total deaths.

— David J. Neal / The Miami Herald

Read more from our news partner the Miami Herald

Broward Health Offering COVID Vaccine To At-Risk 18-Year-Olds And Up. Slots Filled Up

Updated Friday at 6:25 p.m.

Broward Health has begun offering the COVID-19 vaccine to at-risk people 18 and over, the only hospital in South Florida to publicly expand vaccine eligibility to this younger group with certain medical conditions.

On Friday, the health system began accepting appointments to this new group of people, but it quickly filled up, Broward Health Spokeswoman Jennifer Smith said. There is no timeframe for when new appointments will open again, but next week is a possibility.

Those 18 and over who wish to get a vaccine must fall under one of these high-risk groups:

▪ Asthma (moderate to severe)
▪ Cancer
▪ Cerebrovascular Disease
▪ Chronic Kidney Disease
▪ COPD
▪ Cystic Fibrosis
▪ Down Syndrome
▪ Heart conditions (such as heart failure, Coronary Artery Diseases or Cardiomyopathies)
▪ Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
▪ Immunocompromised state from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids or use of weakening medicines or solid organ transplant
▪ Liver Disease
▪ Neurological conditions, such as dementia
▪ Overweight or Obese (BMI of greater than 25)
▪ Pregnancy
▪ Pulmonary Fibrosis
▪ Sickle Cell Disease
▪ Smoking
▪ Thalassemia (inherited blood disorder)
▪ Type 1 Diabetes
▪ Type 2 Diabetes

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.

— Devoun Cetoute / Miami Herald

Florida Adds More Than 5,900 New Cases, 146 New Resident Deaths

Updated Friday at 4:25 p.m.

Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 5,922 positive cases of COVID-19 Friday. Florida has a total of 1,898,223 confirmed positive cases, according to the state's health department.

Friday's update also included the announcement of 146 new resident deaths, increasing the statewide number of Floridians who died to 30,624. Factoring in non-resident deaths the number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 31,162.

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties make up 10,219 of those reported deaths. Monroe County has reported 46 deaths due to COVID-19.

— WLRN News

Mobile Units To Distribute Vaccine To Underserved Communities In Palm Beach County

Updated Friday at 2:55 p.m.

Amid concerns over a lack of equity in vaccine distribution, the state of Florida is soon sending mobile units to help some underserved elderly communities in Palm Beach County. They’ll also set out to vaccinate older residents who feel uncomfortable leaving their homes over COVID-19 fears.

At least 12 apartment complexes and independent living facilities are scheduled to be visited by the state’s mobile units within the next two weeks, according to Palm Beach County. The vaccine is expected to be limited to residents of those facilities who are 65 or older. The Florida Division of Emergency Management is planning to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine at the following sites:

  • Belle Glade: Glades Pioneer Terrace
  • Boca Raton: Shirley H. Gould House
  • Boca Raton: Weinberg House
  • Delray Beach: Delray Housing Authority
  • Delray Beach: Groves of Delray
  • Lake Worth Beach: Lake Worth Towers
  • West Palm Beach: Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior Complex
  • West Palm Beach: St. Andrews Residence
  • West Palm Beach: St. James Residence
  • West Palm Beach: Villa Regina
  • West Palm Beach: Wedgewood Apartments
  • West Palm Beach: Windsor Park

Read more at our news partner the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

— By Wells Dusenbury / Sun Sentinel

South Florida Institute On Aging Panel Discusses Vaccines, Telehealth Improvements

Updated Friday at 10:30 a.m.

The South Florida Institute On Aging held a virtual roundtable Thursday. Health officials and doctors discussed COVID-19, Assisted Living Facilities and access to vaccines.

Mark Doyle, president and CEO of Holy Cross Hospital in Broward County, spoke about how he believes the best thing to come out of the pandemic is advancement of technology around telehealth visits.

"For the seniors it's been a probably slower adoption of that, but in any event it definitely has accelerated,” Doyle said. “Even insurance companies in the past, they would not pay for telehealth. Now, even insurance companies are paying."

While the panel discussed vaccinating seniors — a new vaccination site at the Broward College North Campus in Coconut Creek began putting shots in arms Thursday.

The site is expected to be open for at least two months, administering 200 vaccines every day and will take both people with appointments as well as walk-ups. It’s an effort to reach healthcare workers and people age 65 and up that have had trouble accessing other vaccination sites.

— By Caitie Switalski Muñoz / WLRN News

South Florida High Schools Exploring In-Person High School Graduations For Class Of 2021

Updated Friday at 6:30 a.m

South Florida’s Class of 2021 may be able to have a semblance of a normal send-off, after all.

The school superintendents of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Broward County Public Schools both announced this week that they are working toward holding modified, in-person high school graduations.

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced Thursday that his staff has begun conversations regarding physical, in-person graduations for the Class of 2021. The announcement came at the end of a School Board budget workshop.

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.

— By Colleen Wright / The Miami Herald

All 136 Publix pharmacies Will Offer Vaccine In Broward And Miami-Dade Counties

Updated Friday at 6:13 a.m

People can start signing up Friday to get the COVID-19 vaccine from any of the 136 Publix pharmacies in Broward and Miami-Dade counties — the final two counties in Florida left for the supermarket chain to start offering shots.

Vaccinations are by appointment only, and the appointment scheduling starts 7 a.m. Friday at publix.com/covidvaccine.

Publix offers reservations every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.

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

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

Levine Cava Enlists Softbank’s Claure, Former Miami Beach Mayor For New Economic Program

Updated Friday at 6:08 a.m

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced a new economic development initiative Thursday to boost the county’s economy as it begins to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative, RENEW305 — for Revive, Explore, Network, Economic partnership and Workforce — is part of a “coordinated campaign to reassure the world that we can reopen safely for business,” said Levine Cava.

“We’re looking beyond this coronavirus pandemic to build on our natural assets and capture the new economy,” Levine Cava said. “We’re going to bring together investors, train our workforce, and focus on key sectors like tourism and cruising. We’re going to build on the creativity, entrepreneurship, vision, and collaboration that has always been the hallmark of our success.”

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.

— By Rob Wile / The Miami Herald