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Coronavirus Live Updates: Lauderhill Police Officer Dies Of COVID, State Announces 9,338 More Cases

This post will be updated today, Friday, July 24, and through the weekend with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

WLRN is committed to providing the trusted news and local reporting you rely on. Please keep WLRN strong with your support today. Donate now. 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 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.


Lauderhill Police Department Loses Officer To COVID-19

Updated Sunday at 2:45 p.m.

The Lauderhill Police Department made a somber announcement on its Media Relations Twitter page Sunday afternoon: The department lost one of it’s longtime officers due to the Coronavirus.

Officer Corey Pendergrass died Sunday morning from complications related to COVID-19, the illness associated with the Coronavirus, according to the post.

Pendergrass had served at the department since 1997.

“We will miss you tremendously,” the statement read.

-Caitie Switalski / WLRN News

Florida Adds More COVID-19 Cases: Over 9,300 Confirmed On Sunday

Updated Sunday at 12:20 p.m.

There were 9,338 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 added on Saturday July 25, according to the Florida Department of Health’s data dashboard.

Just over 11 percent of yesterday’s tests came back positive. The state released the prior day’s count late Sunday morning.

The state’s total death toll during the pandemic is now up to 5,972 confirmed deaths, including both Florida residents and non-residents.

Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties have reported deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

Broward County added 1,184 new cases and 25 new deaths.

Miami-Dade County added 2,904 new cases and 9 new deaths.

Monroe County added 15 new cases and no new deaths.

Palm Beach County added 598 new cases and 3 deaths.

 -Caitie Switalski / WLRN News

Keys Add Boat Ramp, Vacation Rental Restrictions Ahead Of Lobster Mini-Season

Updated Saturday at 12:15 p.m.

Many public boat ramps in the Keys will be closed during the upcoming lobster mini-season Wednesday and Thursday, and some that are open will only be open to local residents and people who can show proof of vacation rental or hotel reservations.

Thousands of people usually come to the Keys for the annual event. The area has seen a sharp rise in cases of COVID-19 since reopening to visitors June 1, with a record high of 84 cases reported Friday.

Everyone in Monroe County is required to carry a mask when they leave their home and wear it while on the premises of a business or if they can't social distance. In Key West, you have to wear a mask at all times outside your home, except when seated and eating or drinking at a restaurant.

Monroe County has also tightened its restrictions on vacation rentals. They are now limited to two people per bedroom, plus two, and must have a manager in the same city or region of the Keys. That manager's contact information must be posted where it is visible from the street.

— Nancy Klingener/WLRN News

With 12,199 New Cases Saturday, Florida Overtakes New York In COVID-19 Case Count

Updated Saturday at 11 a.m.

Florida jumped ahead of New York in confirmed cases of COVID-19 according to the CDC’s data, after the Sunshine State reported another 12,199 infections on Saturday.

The state says 414,511 people have been diagnosed with the disease, placing it number two in the nation and now in front of New York State and its 411,140 cases. California leads the way with 425,616, based on the COVID Data Tracker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Florida Department of Health also said another 126 people have died from COVID-19 complications, for a total of 5,894 deaths in Florida. Statistics show that more than 80 percent of residents who have died were 65 or older.

Read more from our news partner the Sun Sentinel

-Marc Freeman/Sun Sentinel

State 'Computer Programming Error' On Child COVID Rates Calls State Data Into Question

Updated Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

An error by the Florida Department of Health produced a COVID-19 positivity rate for children of nearly one-third, a stunning figure that played into the debate over whether schools should reopen.

A week after issuing that statistic, the department took it back without explanation. The next weekly report on children and COVID-19 showed the rate had plunged to 13.4%.

The department blamed a “computer programming error” for the mistake, in response to questions from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Experts said the change and the failure to explain it to the public calls into question the state’s data at a time when accurate and trustworthy information is crucial to a society grappling with an unprecedented health crisis.

Read more from our news partner the Sun Sentinel.

-David Fleshler/Sun Sentinel

Palm Beach County Officials Extends Mask Mandate Another Month

Updated 1:50 PM

Last month, Palm Beach County commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a mask mandate to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Yesterday, county administrator Verdenia Baker extended the emergency order, which was set to expire today. The order now requires facial coverings to be worn in public places until Aug. 23, an additional 30 days.

—Wilkine Brutus

Palm Beach County clarifies, revises restrictions on food and alcohol services after 11 p.m

Updated at 1:25 PM

Palm Beach County officials have updated executive orders that restrict the evening operating hours that restaurants can serve food and alcohol, prohibiting on-site establishments, indoor and outdoor, from serving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

In an ongoing effort to curb the recent spike in COVID-19 case, the order includes “amusement parks, hookah and smoking bars and lounges, kava, kratom and similar bars and lounges.”

After Dr. Alina Alonso, the county’s health director, said private parties and late-night gatherings were fueling some of the spread of the virus, county administrator Verdenia Baker said the gatherings are in violation of the law. The revised order is sent out to clarify what businesses remain closed, which include:  “Bars;  Nightclubs, establishments offering adult entertainment, strip clubs,  Hookah, cigar, and other smoking bars and lounges; Bowling alleys, Arcades,  Playhouses, Concert houses, Movie theaters,  tattoo parlors, auditoriums" and other entertainment venues

—Wilkine Brutus

Florida’s top Republicans are mixed on sending their kids and grandkids to school

Updated Friday 12:45 p.m.

With Florida’s schools emerging as the latest battleground in the fight over coronavirus public health measures, the state’s three top Republicans aren’t entirely in agreement about what they think is the safest way to go to school when it comes to their own family members.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said his children, who are too young to attend school, would be going in person if they were old enough.

Sen. Rick Scott said his grandchildren will not attend school in person.

And Sen. Marco Rubio did not say if his children would attend classes in person when asked by the Miami Herald, but said he wants to see Miami’s community spread decrease in the coming weeks before students return.

Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article244442472.html#storylink=cpy
To read more, visit our news partner the Miami Herald.

City of Miami to offer financial help for struggling homeowners and renters

Updated Friday 10 a.m.

Miami commissioners on Thursday approved $1.6 million in aid for city residents struggling to pay their mortgage or rent in an economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bulk of the money, $1.3 million, will go toward a mortgage assistance program to help low- and moderate-income homeowners who have either lost their jobs or suffered pay cuts. Of that total, $131,000 will fund the administration of the program and $1.1 million will be distributed to people in grants of up to $6,000. The mortgage assistance money is flowing from the federal CARES Act through the state-run Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

Commissioners also approved $300,000 in rent relief for tenants. Low-income renters who’ve lost work in the pandemic and face eviction could qualify for up to $3,500 in aid.

To read more, visit our news partner the Miami Herald.

Juvenile Justice Youth COVID-19 Cases Top 200

Updated Friday at 6 a.m.

More than 200 youths in Florida’s juvenile-justice system have tested positive for COVID-19, with the number of cases steadily increasing, according to information released Thursday by the state Department of Juvenile Justice.

The number of infected youths increased to 216 on Thursday, up from 159 a week earlier.

The numbers show a spike during the past week at St. Johns Youth Academy, which has 26 cases, the most in the state. Next highest was Palm Beach Youth Academy, which has had 21 cases, though 20 of the youths are no longer in medical isolation, according to the department.

In all, 78 of the 216 youths who have tested positive statewide are no longer in medical isolation. The number of infected juvenile-justice workers also increased to 185 on Thursday, up from 164 a week earlier.

The largest numbers of infected workers have been at Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center and Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center, which have each had 16 cases. In all, 78 of the 185 workers who have tested positive have been medically cleared to return to their jobs, according to the department.

A news release said the department has taken a series of steps to try to prevent the spread of the disease.

“All staff that work at state-operated juvenile detention centers and residential commitment programs are screened daily on every shift prior to entering the facility,” the release said. “If a staff presents with symptoms, he or she is denied entry and instructed to contact their health care provider. Staff will not be permitted to return to work until cleared by a medical professional. Outside vendors and personnel continue to be screened daily prior to entry.”

— News Service of Florida


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