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Coronavirus Live Updates: Fort Lauderdale Moving The Homeless Into Hotel Amid Coronavirus

Susan Stocker
South Florida Sun Sentinel
A Fort Lauderdale worker uses a leaf blower Monday to clean the sidewalk at Stranahan Park.

This post will be updated today, Thursday, April 30, with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

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Fort Lauderdale Moving The Homeless Into Hotel Amid Coronavirus 

Updated Thursday 7:15 p.m.

Hotel rooms for the homeless on the taxpayer dime? That’s the plan, say Fort Lauderdale officials who are ready to spend up to $200,000 to provide shelter for the homeless for 30 days in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s all part of the ongoing effort to stop the spread of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly virus, they say.

“We don’t want to see homeless on the streets,” Mayor Dean Trantalis said. “It’s not safe for them. We knew there were empty hotels so we thought we could negotiate a deal to provide housing and also meals. In the end, we’re all trying to help the homeless.”

So, like other big cities on the nation’s west coast, Fort Lauderdale is doing its part to find a place for people living on the streets in these difficult times. A $200,000 federal grant would eventually reimburse the city, says City Manager Chris Lagerbloom.

Read more at our news partner the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Florida Death Toll Hits 1,268 As Miami-Dade Surpasses 12,000 Cases

Updated noon Thursday

Florida’s Department of Health on Thursday morning confirmed 497 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total of confirmed cases to 33,690.

Of the new reported cases, 136 are in Miami-Dade, pushing the county to hit and surpass the 12,000 mark. The county now has a total of 12,063 known cases.

Health officials also announced 50 new deaths statewide, bringing the death toll to 1,268. Of the new deaths, 25 were in South Florida.

  • Fourteen people died in Miami-Dade County, bringing the county’s death count to 352 — Florida’s highest death toll. 
  • In Broward, three people died, raising the county’s death count to 185. 
  • Palm Beach County reported eight new deaths, bringing the county’s toll to 186.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.

— Michelle Marchante / Miami Herald

More Testing Sites Come To South Florida, As Rest Of State Reopens 

Updated Thursday 8 a.m.

Five new walk-up and drive-thru COVID-19 sites are expected to open in South Florida over the next week, as the rest of the state moves forward with lifting stay-at-home orders starting Monday.

The new sites will be state-run. They include a walk-up and drive-thru in Miami-Beach; a drive-thru in Fort Lauderdale; a walk-up in Riviera Beach; and a walk-up in North Miami to serve the area's Haitian community.

“That’s bringing testing to people who may not be seeking out the testing,” Governor Ron DeSantis said. “The drive-thru sites are great, but we can’t force anyone to do it. They either go or they don’t. So these walk-up sites are really important. We want to be able to spot trends in some of the underserved communities.”

In a commission workshop earlier this week, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said the city meets four of the five community guidelines for reopening. The only one they haven't met yet is a robust testing program.

The Sun Sentinel reports that Fort Lauderdale had 1,115 cases of the new coronavirus as of Tuesday that makes them the fourth municipality in the state with the most cases.

The first drive-thru testing site in the city is located in Holiday Park and opens on Thursday by appointment only.

Credit City of Fort Lauderdale
The first coronavirus drive thru testing site in Fort Lauderdale opens Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Testing is available to anyone over the age of 18, regardless of symptoms and without a doctor's referral. A proper identification document with a photo, name and date of birth is required.

It will be open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. To make an appointment call 1-800-209-7919. 

-Leslie Ovalle

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