Coronavirus Live Updates: More Than 1,000 New Florida Cases; With 14 New Deaths
This post will be updated today, Tuesday, March 31, 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.
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More Than 1,000 New Florida Cases; State Passes 6,700 Cases, With 14 New Deaths
Tuesday, March 31, updated at 8 p.m.
Florida has more than 6,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the state’s health department reported Tuesday evening. State health officials announced 403 more cases bringing the state total to 6,741.
The state also reported 85 deaths as of Tuesday, 14 more deaths since Monday night.
One of the eight new deaths, one was in Miami-Dade County, bringing the county’s death toll to seven. Palm Beach also had three new deaths confirmed Tuesday evening, raising its deaths to 14. Broward’s death toll stood at 12 but did not reflect a new death reported Tuesday. There have not been any deaths in the Keys.
— Michelle Marchante and Devoun Cetoute / Miami Herald
Top Miami-Dade Home Builder: It’s Time To Shutdown Construction Sites To Fight COVID19
Tuesday, March 31, updated 3:15 p.m.
One of Miami-Dade’s leading builders, Sergio Pino, issued a public plea Tuesday for the construction industry to shutdown construction sites and prevent an outbreak of coronavirus among their workers.
“The only way to stop the spread of this virus is by cutting its roots,” Pino, president of Century Homebuilders, said in an email. Construction workers, he said, “continue to be exposed and have already been infected. This will result in a chain reaction across the board in all jobsites as long as they remain open.”
He called on fellow builders to “close simultaneously” and halt the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. He said Century was considering shutting down its sites for 10 work days, but that the lack of an industry-wide closure “will defeat the purpose and this virus will continue to multiply from jobsite to jobsite and into our homes.”
On March 26th, Pino became the first developer in Miami-Dade to cease work at one of his sites, the $100 million mixed-use project 850 LeJeune Road, after two of his workers tested positive for coronavirus.
— Douglas Hanks & Rene Rodriguez / Miami Herald
WLRN Will Answer Your Coronavirus Questions
Tuesday, March 31, updated 2:35 p.m.
WLRN is taking questions from our listeners about how the coronavirus is affecting South Florida.
Miami Beach resident Patricia Bartleson says she can see seven cruise ships anchored off the coast from her balcony. She asked us to look into why they are not leaving and who is still on them.
“Are there passengers on the ship? And if so, what are their plans for them to disembark and where will they go?" she wrote WLRN on Facebook.
For an answer, we reached out to Taylor Dolven, the Miami Herald’s tourism reporter. She says these ships aren’t likely going anywhere until the cruise industry begins to recover.
“There are no passengers on these ships, there are only crew," she replied through a voice memo on WhatsApp. "And the companies are working hard to get those crew members home, but that’s been complicated given increased travel restrictions.”
Dolven says some crew members who are not essential to ship operations will eventually return to their home countries.
If you have a question that you’d like our newsroom to answer, we’d like to hear it. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Katie Lepri
Florida confirms 634 new coronavirus cases. Total now more than 6,300, with 6 new deaths
Tuesday, March 31, updated 12:30 p.m.
Florida’s Department of Health on Tuesday morning announced 634 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total of confirmed cases to 6,338. Six new deaths were also announced, raising the death toll to 77.
Details about the six deaths were not immediately available.
Of the total confirmed cases in the state, 6,096 are Florida residents and 242 are non-Florida residents. It was unclear Tuesday morning if there were any new confirmed cases of the disease in South Florida.
— Michelle Marchante / Miami Herald
New Testing Site Opens At Ball Park in Palm Beach County
Tuesday, March 31, 9:54 a.m.
Coronavirus testing at FITTEAM Ball Park of the Palm Beaches begins today, by appointment only.
The drive-thru operation is already booked through Thursday after more than 330,000 calls came in to schedule appointments, the Palm Beach Post Reports.
The site will start with 1,000 testing kits — more kits and protective gear is expected to arrive by the end of the day.
Palm Beach is the third county in the state with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 439 as of Monday. Miami-Dade is first with 1,701 and Broward is second with 1,137. The low number of confirmed cases in Palm Beach can be attributed to low testing in the county.
Testing is by appointment only and can be scheduled by calling 561-642-1000.
— Leslie Ovalle
Florida At 5,704 COVID-19 Cases; 4 More Deaths In South Florida
Tuesday, March 31, 7 a.m.
The confirmed case count of COVID-19 in Florida has jumped by 231, according to a state update on Monday evening. Miami-Dade accounted for 69 cases, or about one-third, of the latest confirmed increase.
The state, with 5,704 confirmed cases (5,489 residents) as of 6 p.m. Monday, also said there were eight new deaths for a total of 71. One of those was in Miami-Dade County, another in Broward County and two in Palm Beach County. The other deaths were in Citrus, Clay, Duval and Osceola counties.
The percentage of people testing positive rose to 13 percent on Sunday, up from a 10 percent positive rate over the past week, health officals said.
Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.