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Coronavirus Live Updates: Florida Adds More Than 7,100 New Cases, 136 New Resident Deaths

Image: VA VAntage Point blog
Image: VA VAntage Point blog

This post will be updated today, Tuesday, March 2, 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.

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

QUICK UPDATES

Florida Adds More Than 7,100 New Cases, 136 New Resident Deaths

Updated Tuesday at 3:15 p.m.

Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 7,179 positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.

The state has a total of 1,918,100 confirmed positive cases, according to the state's health department.

Tuesday's update also included the announcement of 136 new resident deaths, increasing the statewide number of Floridians who died to 31,135. Factoring in non-resident deaths the number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 31,696.

— WLRN News

Jackson Expands Vaccine Eligibility To Include 3 Work Groups, At-Risk People 50 And Over

Updated Tuesday at 1 p.m.

Jackson Health System will soon begin vaccinating law enforcement officers, firefighters and K-12 school personnel ages 50 and older.

The hospital is also lowering its age requirement for at-risk people from 55 to 50. It’s also scrapping a list of 13 medical conditions to include any health condition that makes someone a high risk for COVID complications.

For people with an at-risk condition, a doctor’s note is still required and must be on the physician’s letterhead or prescription pad. The note from the physician must list the patient’s name, the high-risk condition being treated and a recommendation to be vaccinated.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.

— By Michelle Marchante / Miami Herald

Florida’s COVID Vaccine Plan For People Under 65 Creates Confusion

Updated Tuesday at 12:50 p.m.

Vaccines for COVID-19 just became available to a lot more people in Florida, creating confusion as doctors, pharmacies and health officials try to figure out what it will take to get a shot.

Publix said Monday no documentation would be required for a vaccination under Friday’s executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis that extended eligibility to anyone under 65, provided their doctor determined they were “extremely vulnerable” to the disease.

But the governor’s order stated some sort of paperwork would be needed, stating “Such physician determinations shall include a statement that the patient meets the defined eligibility criteria established by a form prescribed by the Florida Department of Health.” Meredith Beatrice, spokeswoman for the governor, said the state will provide a form for doctors to fill out.

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

— By David Fleshler and Cindy Krischer Goodman / Sun Sentinel.

HHS Tells Florida It Won’t Change Vaccine Allocation To Account For Snowbirds

Updated Tuesday at 6:03 a.m

The Department of Health and Human Services declined to change the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines to account for the thousands of seasonal residents who move to Florida during the winter months after a majority of the state’s members of Congress asked it to do so in January.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s office received a letter from the HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response, Robert Kadlec, on Monday after Rubio and 17 of the state’s 27 U.S. House members, including Republicans and Democrats, said the influx of “snowbirds” strained the supply of vaccines, which are available to both residents and non-residents who move to Florida for the winter.

HHS said it isn’t changing the allocation of vaccines after Florida lawmakers asked for more doses to account for an increase of seasonal residents who are eligible for a shot.

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.

— By Alex Daugherty / The Miami Herald

Colombia Becomes The First Country In Latin America To Get Vaccines Through COVAX

Updated Tuesday at 6:01 a.m

Colombia became the first country in hard-hit Latin America to receive coronavirus vaccines through COVAX, a World Health Organization-backed alliance aimed at getting shots to countries with fewer resources.

A plane carrying 117,000 Pfizer/BioNTech doses landed at Bogota’s El Dorado Airport Monday, arriving as many in the region grow impatient over the slow pace of the COVAX vaccine rollout.

“Today marks a very important milestone,” Colombian President Iván Duque said. “Today COVAX makes its first delivery in the Western Hemisphere. And the first country to receive it is Colombia.”

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.

— By Antonio Maria Delgado and Jacqueline Charles / The Miami Herald