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Coronavirus Live Updates: South Florida Superintendents Push For Federal Relief

Members of the National Guard 50th Regional Support Group based in Homestead were seen at the Residential Plaza at Blue Lagoon, as they were ordered by the state to conduct testing due to the COVID19 outbreak on Friday, April 10, 2020. "

This post will be updated today, Tuesday, April 28, with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

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’Dark Clouds Are Forming’: South Florida Superintendents Join Other Urban Education Leaders In Push For Federal Relief

Updated 12:40 p.m. Tuesday

Leaders of South Florida’s large school districts joined dozens of fellow urban superintendents from around the country asking for more than $200 billion from the federal government in Congress’ next COVID-19 relief bill.

“Dark clouds are forming on the educational horizon that will spell disaster if Congress does not intervene,” according to the letter signed by 62 district superintendents, including Alberto Carvalho of Miami-Dade, Robert Runcie of Broward, Donald Fennoy of Palm Beach and several others representing Florida schools. The letter was from the Council of Great City Schools, a national coalition of large districts.

In the letter, education leaders predicted massive budget cuts to public schools, layoffs affecting hundreds of thousands of teachers and “unprecedented unfinished learning” leaving students dramatically behind after the coronavirus shuttered schools across the country for months.

If Congress provides more money — including funds to cover emergency costs like feeding students and providing computers for distance learning, plus extra support for low-income students and those with disabilities — schools will have some hope of combatting the impending “educational catastrophe,” the superintendents argued.

“With additional federal funds, America’s public schools will be able to add summer school, expand the school day after reopening in the fall, retain and stabilize our teaching force, address the needs of our most vulnerable students, narrow the digital divide, and have a fighting chance at salvaging the futures of millions of young people,” they wrote in the letter addressed to leaders of the U.S. House and Senate. “Moreover, your investment in education will help save the country long term.”

Read the letter here.

— Jessica Bakeman

Florida Cases Surpass 32,800 As Death Toll Grows by 83, Highest In One Day 

Updated 11:45 a.m. Tuesday

Florida’s Department of Health on Tuesday morning confirmed 708 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total of confirmed cases to 32,846. There were 83 new deaths announced — the highest reported on a single day — bringing the statewide death toll to 1,171.

The 83 new deaths are the most the state has announced in one day since April 14, when 72 deaths were reported. Of the deaths announced Tuesday, 44 were in South Florida, according to the state’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard. 

Twenty-two people died in Miami-Dade, pushing the county’s death toll up to 324. Five people died Broward, bringing the county’s death count to 179. Palm Beach County reported 17 additional deaths, raising the county’s death toll to 173.

Of the statewide total of confirmed cases, 31,986 are Florida residents and 860 are non-residents who were diagnosed or isolated in the state. 

Compared to Monday, Tuesday saw 98 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 69 additional deaths reported.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.

— Michelle Marchante / Miami Herald

Florida Releases Data On Number Of COVID-19 Cases In Nursing Homes, ALFs

Updated Tuesday at 7 a.m.

Under mounting pressure from elder advocates and family members of nursing home residents, Gov. Ron DeSantis Monday released information on the number of residents and staff infected by the deadly coronavirus at Florida elder-care facilities — though he still refused to disclose the number of deaths linked to each facility.

One nursing home in the Panhandle has reported nearly twice as many confirmed cases of coronavirus among residents as any other home in the state: Southern Oaks Care Center in Pensacola, a 210-bed home with a spotty record of resident care in recent years. The home has been disciplined by the state 12 times since 2004, for a total of $29,625 in fines.

The data released by the governor’s office shows 87 current residents of Southern Oaks have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, as well as 15 employees. Another five residents with confirmed cases have been transferred from the home. That means about 40 percent of the home’s maximum number of residents has contracted the illness, according to state records.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.

- Carol Marbin Miller and Ben Wieder