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Coronavirus Live Updates: NASCAR To Return To A (Limited) Live Audience At Homestead

This post will be updated today, Friday, June 5, and through the weekend 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 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.

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QUICK UPDATES

NASCAR Racing In Front Of A Live Audience Coming Back To South Dade

Updated at 1:55 p.m. Sunday

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic brought a state of emergency to South Florida, a major sporting event will feature a live audience.

About a thousand members of the military and first responders will be allowed to watch a NASCAR Race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway next Sunday. Their family members will also be able to attend.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez approved a plan to host the event on Saturday.

“Unlike stick-and-ball sports, most NASCAR competitors and personnel are required to wear uniforms and equipment that are above most professional grade [personal protection equipment],” reads the approved plan. All employees will be identified and screened five days prior to the event.

Attendees will be screened for their temperatures, and will be required to wear masks.Tickets will not be available for sale to the general public, but it does mark the beginning of a comeback for NASCAR racing.

The event in South Dade will be the first race to have a live audience for the sport since March. Some NASCAR races have been happening, but they’ve been in front of empty stands.

-Daniel Rivero/WLRN News

State Reports Another 1,433 Cases Of COVID-19, But High Numbers Come As State Ramps Up Testing

Updated at 12:25 p.m. Sunday

The total number of reported COVID-19 cases hit an all-time high on Saturday, according to numbers reported by the Department of Health on Sunday.

In total, 1,433 new cases were reported across the state. The number falls in line with a recent uptick in reported cases, just as most of the state is entering into Phase Two of Florida’s reopening plan.

But the record number of cases is not necessarily as alarming as it might seem. The uptick in positive tests comes as the state has ramped up COVID-19 testing.

As the Miami Herald has reported, the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 has been going down as testing has increased. Experts say this is an important consideration.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez hinted that we would see an uptick in cases in a press conference on Friday.

“You will see more numbers of positive tests, but as a percentage of testing that’s going on, the positives are hovering below 5 percent, and that’s a very good sign,” said Gimenez.

-Daniel Rivero/WLRN News

More Than 62,000 COVID Cases Reported In Florida
Updated Saturday at 12:05 p.m.

The state Department of Health reported 1,270 more cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing to total in the state to 62,758.

The number of deaths was 2,688, an increase of 28 since Friday.

More than half the deaths in Florida — 1,469 — have occurred in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. Monroe County has reported four deaths from COVID-19.

The number of new people tested increased by 11,328, from 27,913 reported on Friday to 39,241 on Saturday, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

-Nancy Klingener/WLRN News

Palm Beach Schools Reassigns Staffers, Expects Budget Cuts Due To COVID-19

Updated Friday at 3:30 p.m.

The Palm Beach County school district is reassigning two top administrators to new jobs focusing on student wellness, a shift that Superintendent Donald Fennoy explains as a response to the 2018 Parkland shooting and the COVID-19 crisis.

Fennoy announced in a memo Friday he would be changing the job descriptions and titles for his current deputy superintendent and chief of staff to realign the district’s priorities. Keith Oswald will be the new chief of student services, wellness, and equity, while Edward Tierney will be the chief of school support and supervision.

“It's important to remember that unexpected events, such as [the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School] and COVID-19, underscore the need for comprehensive wellness plans,” Fennoy wrote in the all-staff memo. “Student wellness directly impacts student achievement, student culture, and student climate.”

Fennoy also hinted at a looming budget crisis.

“As we brace to learn the totality of the negative financial impact on our school district caused by COVID-19, I've been working with the Chief Financial Officer to anticipate and prepare for a tremendous loss of revenue,” he wrote.

—Jessica Bakeman/WLRN News

Statewide Coronavirus Cases Increase By At Least 1,300 For Third Straight Day

Updated Friday at 12:05 p.m.

Florida surpassed 61,000 positive cases of COVID-19 as Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 1,305 cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Florida has a total of 61,488 confirmed positive cases, according to the state's health department.

Friday's update also included the announcement of 53 new deaths, increasing the statewide number to 2,660. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties make up 1,454 of those reported deaths. Monroe County has reported four deaths due to COVID-19. 

-WLRN News

Race, Ethnicity Will Be Required Data For COVID-19 Tests

​Updated Friday 7 a.m.

All laboratories will now be required to include detailed demographic data when they report the results of coronavirus tests to the federal government, including the age, sex, race and ethnicity of the person tested, the Trump administration announced Thursday.

The new requirement, which will go into effect Aug. 1, is designed to help provide long-sought, crucial information needed to monitor and fight the pandemic nationally.

"The requirement to include demographic data like race, ethnicity, age, and sex will enable us to ensure that all groups have equitable access to testing, and allow us to accurately determine the burden of infection on vulnerable groups," said Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Read more from NPR.

Rob Stein/NPR News

New COVID-19 Cases Rise, Infection Rates Don't

Updated Friday 7 a.m.

Over the past two days, as Florida has continued to relax coronavirus restrictions, the state has reported a worrying surge in COVID-19 cases statewide — with Thursday’s tally of 1,419 new infections representing the largest statewide increase in a single day since the health department began providing daily updates on the novel coronavirus in March.

But the number of new cases is only part of the statewide picture when it comes to determining whether we’re experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 infections. While the overall number of positive cases has spiked in the past two days, the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests — out of all the results reported in a day — has declined over the same time period, as the state provides testing to more people.

“As we test more people and get more results, the positivity rate is going down,” said Alberto Moscoso, communications director for the Florida Department of Health, which produces the daily updates.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.

Daniel Chang/Miami Herald