Coronavirus Live Updates: Baby Boy, 2-Year-Old Girl, Two Palm Beach Deputies Test Positive
This post will be updated today with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.
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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 the 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.
Monroe County to close U.S. 1 to tourists into the Florida Keys
Tuesday, March 24, at 6:15 p.m.
Monroe County officials reversed themselves hours after they said they were not closing the only major highway into the Florida Keys as part of the effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The county decided Tuesday afternoon to place a checkpoint on U.S. 1 at mile marker 112.5 on the 18-mile stretch leading to Florida City on the mainland, sources say.
Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers Tuesday morning said during a press conference that there were no immediate plans to close the road.
Baby boy, 2-year-old girl test positive in Broward
Tuesday, March 24, at 5:55 p.m.
A baby boy and a 2-year-old girl have tested positive for COVID-19 in Broward County, the Florida Department of Health announced Tuesday.
The health department’s data list the boy’s age as zero, making him the youngest person in the state known to be ill with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Health officials have also listed the case under “unknown” for travel-related. DOH did not state whether the baby boy had been in contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus.
Two Palm Beach sheriff's deputies test positive
Tuesday, March 24, at 5:48 p.m.
Two Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies have tested positive for the coronavirus and are at home under quarantine, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.
A third deputy is in a hospital awaiting the results of a coronavirus test. No other details were immediately disclosed.
The deputies are the latest first responders in Palm Beach County to be quarantined for COVID-19, a respiratory ailment for which there is neither treatment nor cure.
Nine Palm Beach Gardens firefighters have been under quarantine since being exposed on two separate medical calls to people who might have the virus. Authorities said six were exposed on one call and three on another.
Keys Energy Suspends Service Disconnections For Nonpayment
Tuesday, March 24, at 3:45 p.m.
Keys Energy Services, the utility that serves from the Seven Mile Bridge to Key West, has temporarily suspended all service disconnections for nonpayment. Normal disconnection practices will resume within a reasonable time after the resumption of normal operations.
Utility bills and/or debt will not be forgiven or erased. Keys Energy will work with affected customers to make payments to the best of their ability in order to prevent the accumulation of a larger balance.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Traffic Drops
Tuesday, March 24 at 3:35 p.m.
The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is still open during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Planes are still coming and going – but there are few people on them. That's good for slowing the spread of the virus, but not good for the county's economy.
Mark Gale, the airport's CEO and aviation director, told Broward County commissioners at a workshop Tuesday that the airport is currently operating at around 30 percent.
"The number of people that would normally go through our screening checkpoints on any given day could be as many as 50, 60,000 individuals. Those numbers have dropped down to approximately 10 to 15,000 individuals,” Gale said.
Gale said the airport is looking to cut its budgets and reduce expenses.
Individual airlines like American, Delta, JetBlue and Spirit are reducing capacity.
— Caitie Switalski
Monroe Reports Third COVID Case
Tuesday, March 24 at 11:10 a.m.
The Florida Department of Health in Monroe County confirmed the Keys' third case of COVID-19 Tuesday, with travel listed as "unknown." The case is "under investigation."
The earlier cases were of a 72-year-old woman in Key Largo and a 54-year-old woman in Key West. They had recently traveled to the United Kingdom and France, respectively.
The person reported Tuesday is a 52-year-old woman, also from Key West.
— Nancy Klingener
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.
DeSantis to Trump: Declare Florida a 'major disaster'
Tuesday, March 24, at 10:46 a.m.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked President Donald Trump to issue a “major disaster” declaration to help the state survive the new coronavirus crisis.
In a letter, DeSantis asks the Trump administration to send the state funds to help with unemployment, crisis counseling, community-disaster loans, and food aid, which DeSantis says the state will need. The letter also provides previously unreleased details about the state’s response to the deadly pathogen, providing a picture of the devastation already wrought.
According to the letter, Florida has spent or is projected to spend about $208 million fighting the virus. Additionally, there are currently 109 potential cases of coronavirus in the states’ nursing homes that are currently under investigation, and over 130,000 people called the state’s unemployment hotline last week seeking assistance.
Cruise ship with sick aboard headed to Port Everglades
Tuesday, March 24 at 10:35 a.m.
A cruise ship with 77 sick people on board is hoping to dock in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on March 30.
The Holland America Line Zaandam ship, owned by Carnival Corporation, originally left Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 7 with 1,243 passengers and 586 crew on board.
The cruise was scheduled to end in Chile on March 21, but Chile did not allow anyone on board to disembark. The ship left Chile on March 21, and is trying to secure transit through the Panama Canal to be able to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on March 30, the company said in a statement.
There is no COVID-19 testing available on board.