Coronavirus Live Updates: New COVID-19 Testing Site Opens In Broward County
This post will be updated today, Wednesday, April 8, 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.
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More South Florida Cities Issue Mask Orders
Wednesday, April 8, updated at 7:22 p.m.
Some cities and counties across South Florida are asking people to wear masks.
The city of Homestead is urging that people cover their noses and mouths while out in public.
Miami's order also extends to construction workers on job sites as well as food delivery workers.
All of Monroe County is under a mask order, too.
— Alexander Gonzalez
New COVID-19 Testing Site Opens In Broward County
Wednesday, April 8, updated at 3:10 p.m.
There’s a new place in Broward County to go get tested if you think you might have COVID-19.
Broward Health has extended drive thru testing in Broward County, and opened a location at Central Broward Park and Broward County Stadium in Lauderhill Wednesday.
To meet criteria to get tested for the virus, people must be preregistered through a call center, have a prescription, and meet testing guidelines from the CDC.
Walkups are not allowed, according to an email distributed by County Mayor, Dale Holness. To register, call 954-320-5730.
— Caitie Switalski
With A ‘Heavy Heart,’ Palm Beach Schools Superintendent Cancels High School Graduations
Wednesday, April 8, updated at 9:55 a.m.
Graduation is officially canceled for most of the 14,000 high school seniors in Palm Beach County.
The district became the first in South Florida to announce the expected move amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Superintendent Donald Fennoy announced Tuesday night in an emailed memo that the district would be canceling May graduations scheduled to be held at the South Florida Fairgrounds.
“Cancelling this annual tradition at the Fairgrounds is something I never would have envisioned before COVID-19 changed life as we know it,” Fennoy said in the memo.
Twenty-six of the 32 scheduled graduation ceremonies were slated to take place at the Fairgrounds. It’s unclear what the district is planning to do about the other graduations, which were expected to happen on school campuses.
While students are continuing their studies remotely, public school campuses in Palm Beach County are closed “until further notice.” This is a marked difference from South Florida’s other districts — Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe — where administrators have announced closures through May 1, per state guidance.
In the memo, Fennoy said the district is working on alternate arrangements to honor the major milestone for the county’s seniors.
“Please know that your teachers, your principals, your superintendent and everyone who assisted you along your educational journey are profoundly proud of you and your accomplishments,” Fennoy wrote, addressing seniors. “You deserve to be celebrated in grand fashion. I regret, more than I can say, that this is just not possible to safely accomplish in a public setting at this time.”
He said diplomas will be mailed to students’ homes.
— Jessica Bakeman
Keys To Screen, Require Two-Week Isolation Of All Air Arrivals
Wednesday, April 8, updated at 9:45 a.m.
Everyone who flies into the Florida Keys will be screened and required to self-isolate for two weeks.
Monroe County started the procedure on April 8 to try and prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
Key West International Airport was scheduled to receive 12 commercial flights and six general aviation flights on Wednesday. One general aviation flight was expected at Marathon Airport.
The Keys are closed to visitors. There’s a checkpoint at the county line that only allows vehicles carrying Keys residents, property owners, workers and deliveries.
— Nancy Klingener
Monroe Restricts Store Occupancy, Orders Masks In Some Businesses
Wednesday, April 8, updated at 9:15 a.m.
Monroe County has ordered employees and customers of groceries, pharmacies, food distribution points and other businesses where 10 or more people may gather to wear masks. Delivery workers are also required to wear face coverings.
Also, businesses must limit their capacity to 50 percent of maximum occupancy and provide hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes.
The rules mirror those that Key West enacted earlier in the week.
— Nancy Klingener
Judge Orders Miami Jail To Prevent COVID-19 With Social Distance And Soap
Wednesday, April 8, updated at 7 a.m.
A federal judge has ordered that the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections take swift action to enforce social distance and make sure inmates have better access to sanitation products.
U.S. Judge Kathleen Williams gave the ruling on Tuesday in response to a lawsuit filed by several inmates, who are "medically vulnerable" from the MetroWest Detention Center. It alleges that the facility lacked basic hygiene needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 inside the jail system.
She also gave the corrections department until Thursday to have a list of every inmate that has a variety of documented health problems, and ordered that tests be given to every inmate exhibiting well known symptoms of the coronavirus, as reported by the Miami Herald.
The temporary order is in effect for 14 days, or until the court issues another order in the case.
Two days before the suit was filed, the department announced that all officers and inmates must wear masks.