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Coronavirus Live Updates: Carnival Cancels Cruises Through June, Lower Keys Drop Electric Bills

Community Health of South Florida, Inc. begins drive through testing for coronavirus at its Doris Ison Health Center, 10300 SW 216 Street on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

This post will be updated today, Monday, April 13, 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.

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


All Broward Voters Will Get Vote-By-Mail Signup Forms
Updated at 4:07 p.m.

With the coronavirus pandemic raising concerns about how people can safely vote in 2020, the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office plans to send vote-by-mail signup forms to 1 million registered voters in the county who haven’t already asked to receive mail ballots.

Supervisor of Elections Peter Antonacci is also asking the County Commission for $1.3 million to pay for the mailer, the costs of the near-certain increase in the number of people voting by mail, and other changes required to conduct voting in the coronavirus era.

Many people may not want to vote in person. After the March 17 primary, two Broward pollworkers —including one who handled voters’ driver licenses at one polling place — tested positive for coronavirus.

Read more from our news partners the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Carnival Cruise Line Cancels Cruises Into June As COVID-19 Pandemic Continues
Updated at 11:46 a.m.

Carnival Cruise Line announced Monday it is canceling all U.S. cruises through June 26.

The company previously said it would resume cruising on May 12. The move comes days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended its no-sail order until late July, or until the COVID-19 pandemic is declared over.

All major cruise companies agreed to suspend new cruises on March 13 for at least 30 days in response to the pandemic, following a March 8 warning against cruising issued by the CDC because of the increased risk of coronavirus infection on ships. On March 30, cruise companies canceled cruises into May.

Read more at our news partners the Miami Herald.

Lower Keys Electric Bills To Drop By 10 Percent For Two Months
Updated at 10:45 a.m.

Keys Energy, the utility that provides power from the Seven Mile Bridge to Key West, will decrease electric bills by 10 percent in May and June. The Utility Board, which governs Keys Energy, will re-evaluate in June and decide whether to continue the decrease for July.

The utility is deferring non-urgent capital projects and implementing "austerity measures," according to a press release.

The utility has also suspended service disconnections for nonpayment. Utility bills and debt customers who can't pay their bills or don't have any way to pay other than cash (the public offices are closed) can call 305-295-1000 or email Web.Accounts@KeysEnergy.com.

Past due bills and debts won't be forgiven or erased, but the utility will work with customers on payment plans, according to the press release.

— Nancy Klingener

Miami-Dade Begins At-Home Testing; Hard Rock Site Lifts Age Restrictions
Monday, April 13, updated at 7 a.m.

Coronavirus testing continues to expand in South Florida.

People of all ages, regardless of symptoms or occupation are now able to get tested for the new coronavirus at the drive-thru testing site in Hard Rock Stadium with no scheduled appointment. 

Before, testing at that site was only available people 65 or older, first responders and health care workers. 

And starting tomorrow, at-home testing will be available in Miami-Dade County for seniors and adults who are home bound or have disabilities. 

The tests will be administered by the county's fire rescue personnel, said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez.

Appointments can be made starting today, Monday, by calling 305-499-8767.

South Florida continues to lead the state in the number of people affected by the coronavirus, accounting for 58.6% of the cases and 55.1% of the deaths in the state, as reported by the Sun Sentinel.

According to the Florida Department of Health, Miami-Dade County has the most confirmed cases and deaths in the state, with 7,058 infections and 97 deaths.

Broward has 2,945 confirmed cases and 76 deaths.

Palm Beach has 1,646 confirmed cases and 81 deaths.

Monroe County has the lowest numbers, with 59 confirmed cases and 3 deaths.

Satewide, there are 19,895 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 461 deaths. 

You can find more information about testing sites in South Florida here.

— Leslie Ovalle