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Coronavirus Live Updates: New Testing Site To Open In Doral, 16 Dead At Wilton Manors Nursing Home

Miami Herald

This post will be updated today, Friday, May 8, and through the weekend with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

WLRN is here for you, even when life is unpredictable. Local journalists are working hard to keep you informed on the latest developments across South Florida. Please support this vital work. Become a WLRN member today. Thank you.

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.


New Testing Site To Open Monday In Doral

Updated Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

A new COVID-19 drive-thru testing site will open in Doral on Monday, May 11. It will be located in the Walmart parking lot at 8651 NW 13th Terrace.

Those eligible to be tested will include first responders, healthcare providers and others who display COVID-19 symptoms – as well as high-risk persons without symptoms.

The testing site will be supported by Walmart, Quest Diagnostics and state and local officials. Walmart opened two other Miami-Dade drive-thru testing sites last week – one at 9300 NW 77th Avenue in Hialeah Gardens and another at 3200 NW 79th St in Miami. Testing will not be available inside any of those stores.

-WLRN News

State Reports Total of 40,596 COVID-19 Cases 

Updated Sunday at 1 p.m.

Florida’s has had a total of 40,596 cases of the new coronavirus, the stated Department of Health reported Sunday. That represents an increase of 595 over 24 hours.

On Saturday, Florida crossed the 40,000 threshold.

Florida officials also reported Sunday that at least 1,721 people in the state have died from the new coronavirus, five more than on Saturday.

Read more from our news partner the Sun Sentinel

-Anthony Man/Sun Sentinel

Keys Taking Reservations, But Still Don't Have Date For Reopening To Visitors
Updated Saturday at 1:20 p.m.

Hotels, vacation rentals and other tourist lodging in the Florida Keys can start taking reservations — but visitors can't actually come until Monroe County lifts its state of emergency.

And the county isn't saying when that will be. The Keys are closed to visitors and "do not anticipate opening to non-residents during the month of May, and potentially longer," according to a press release.

Any contingent reservations made for a time while the state of emergency is in effect, can be canceled by the property owner or the visitor, with either a full refund or credit for a future stay, according to the county's amended emergency order.

-Nancy Klingener

16 Dead At Wilton Manors Nursing Home

Updated Saturday at 1:15 p.m.

Sixteen residents of the Manor Pines Convalescent in Wilton Manors have died from coronavirus-related illnesses, as the disease continued to hit particularly hard in facilities that serve Florida’s most vulnerable residents, according to a state report released Friday.

The report on coronavirus-related deaths in Florida nursing homes is released weekly. Last week’s report showed just three such deaths at the Wilton Manors nursing home. No staff at the home have died, according to the report.

Ralph Marrinson, president of the Marrinson Group, which operates Manor Pines and seven other senior care facilities in Florida and South Carolina, said in a telephone interview that he was upset about the deaths and has been taking extensive steps to contain the disease.

Read more from our news partners the Sun Sentinel

-David Fleshler and Dan Sweeney/The Sun Sentinel

Florida COVID-19 Cases Top 40,000

Updated Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

Florida has 40,001 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data released by the state Department of Health on Saturday.

That's a one-day increase of 802 cases, about 2 percent. Monroe County's total went from 80 to 89, an increase of more than 11 percent. All nine of the new cases were from a longterm care facility in the Upper Keys.

The state reported a total of 1,715 deaths, an increase of 46 from Friday.

A majority of those deaths — 976 — were in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Monroe County has so far reported 3 deaths.

-WLRN News

Ten COVID Cases At Keys Nursing Home Would Represent 10 Percent Increase For Monroe

Updated Saturday at 10:40 a.m.

Nine residents and one employee of a Florida Keys nursing home tested positive for the novel coronavirus this week, according to the facility’s owner.

The Florida Department of Health has not confirmed the results, but once official, they will represent a jump of more than 10% in positive cases in the Keys.

Residents and staff at the 120-bed facility on Plantation Key, Crystal Health and Rehab Center, were tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, after a speech therapist there tested positive earlier this month.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald

-David Goodhue/Miami Herald

‘It’s not like flipping a switch’: DeSantis says Palm Beach County to reopen Monday

Updated Friday at 2:15 p.m.

Starting Monday, restaurants and retailers in Palm Beach County will able to open for business with restrictions, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced at a press conference in West Palm Beach.

“I think Palm Beach is incredibly important for our state,” he said Friday. “It’s not like flipping a switch ... but we’ll be able to get people back to work.”

Palm Beach County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to send a letter to DeSantis asking for his blessing to break away from Miami-Dade and Broward counties and start reopening nonessential businesses. Friday, the county voted to open its beaches on May 18.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.

- Samantha J. Gross/Miami Herald

Palm Beach County Tentatively Set To Reopen Beaches May 18, For Residents Only

Updated Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Palm Beach County Commissioners gave tentative approval to reopening county beaches — for county residents only — with a 4-3 vote.

The reopening would go into effect May 18 and commissioners plan to meet again May 15 for further discussion of the plan, and to potentially move up or push back the county's timeline.

Motion were made to pass reopening of the beaches; no chairs and umbrellas; motion added section which only allow PBC residents to access public beaches. @WLRN#pbc#beachpic.twitter.com/DPtbffdEC6 — Wilkine Brutus (@wilkinebrutus) May 8, 2020
Motion passes 4-3 on reopening beaches, which is set to open on May 18th; PBC commissioners will reconvene again on the May 15th - can move up timeline up or back.@WLRN#pbc#beachpic.twitter.com/q5JMq72c1V — Wilkine Brutus (@wilkinebrutus) May 8, 2020

- WLRN News

Miami-Dade Set To Reopen Some Businesses With May 18 As A 'Target Date'

Updated Friday at 12:30 p.m.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the county is moving forward with reopening some sectors of the economy with a “target date” of May 18.

“I have spoken to the governor and he is in agreement,” said Gimenez. "Miami-Dade should move forward in opening up certain sectors of the economy with the target date — and I stress it again, it’s a 'target date' of May 18."

Details about which sectors of the economy that will be reopened are still being figured out, he said. New requirements for businesses and more detailed information will be coming in the next few days. And the reopening of beaches, movie theaters, bars and nightclubs will come at a later date.

The announcement follows promising developments when it comes to tracking COVID-19 cases in the county.

“Yesterday’s hospital report shows 582 coronavirus patients throughout Miami-Dade County. It’s the lowest number of patients in the hospital since I first issued the emergency order, number 18-20, on April 4th, requiring hospitals to report their numbers daily,” said Gimenez.

The mayor said he is in communications with Broward County about potentially taking steps to open up both counties' economies on the same day. A meeting with Broward officials will happen Saturday, he said.

- Daniel Rivero

Miami-Dade County To Get More COVID-19 Nursing Home Data, But Not From The State

Updated Friday at 11:35 a.m.

Miami-Dade County wants more COVID-19 data from nursing homes but they won't be relying on the state's reports.Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed an emergency order on Wednesday requiring assisted-living facilities to reveal information about how COVID-19 is affecting their patients and staff when the county asks for it.

The county wants both the number of patient deaths related to COVID-19 and the number of positive cases among their patients and staff that the facility has had to-date. For each employee that tested positive, the county wants the date of the last time they were in the facility.

They’re also going to track the number of residents that were sent to hospitals for treatment.

I’ve signed Emergency Order 22-20, requiring nursing homes & other residential care facilities to disclose COVID-19 positive cases upon request, including numbers of patients & staff. To read more about the order click here: https://t.co/tWm917S9Kk@MiamiDadeEM@MiamiDadeCounty — Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (@MayorGimenez) May 7, 2020

Jennifer Moon, the mayor’s deputy overseeing health facilities, told the Miami Herald the county decided to require local reports after they saw the state’s data was unreliable.Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration only recently began to publish reports on COVID-19 in nursing homes.

Those reports received criticism from several elder-care facilities, which called them out-of-date and inaccurate.Our news partner the Miami Herald and other news organizations are pursuing legal action to obtain more data on nursing homes. This includes data the state collects but has not made public.

-WLRN News

Florida Coronavirus Cases Increase Above 39,000

Updated Friday at 11:25 a.m.

The state has more than 39,000 positive cases of COVID-19 as Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 371 cases of COVID-19 on Friday morning. Florida has a total of 39,199 confirmed cases.

Friday's update also included the announcement of 69 new deaths, increasing the statewide number to 1,669. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties make up 945 of those reported deaths. Monroe County has reported three deaths due to COVID-19. 

-WLRN News

'We're Ready To Open For Business,' Palm Beach Asks DeSantis For Permision

Updated Friday at 6:30 a.m.

The appeal to Gov. Ron DeSantis was short and to the point. Palm Beach County wants to get back to business the same as most all of Florida.

The county sent DeSantis a letter Thursday asking for him to consider easing coronavirus restrictions in Palm Beach County, which remains shut down with the rest of South Florida because the majority of cases are concentrated here. Outside Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, restaurants and other businesses in Florida are allowed to reopen at 25% of capacity.

The letter signed by Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner made no argument for reopening and presented no health data to justify it. It simply asked for a discussion.

“We are recommending you consider and grant our county the opportunity to reopen in Phase 1 of your plan in a similar fashion to other counties of the state outside of South Florida,” the letter reads, in part. “We would like to engage in discussions with you regarding the acceleration of this at the earliest possible date.”

Read more at the Sun Sentinel.

-Austen Erblat / Sun Sentinel