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Sundial

Heard On Sundial: Navigating The Unemployment Crisis. And Palm Beach County’s COVID-19 Response

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Alejandra Martinez
/
WLRN
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's unemployment benefits landing page.

On this Monday, April 6, episode of Sundial:

Navigating South Florida’s unemployment crisis

The number of Floridians applying for unemployment benefits continues to rise as thousands of people are being laid off in masses due to this coronavirus. 

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Navigating Florida’s unemployment system has caused many headaches and frustration over the last month. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which handles unemployment claims, has been overwhelmed with busy signals, calls, and online requests.

Read more: Audits Repeatedly Warned Florida Unemployment System Needed Fixing

Over the weekend, the state released a paper application that can be downloaded from the DEO’s website and mailed in.

On today's WLRN Sundial program, we gathered a group of unemployment experts and reporters to answer your questions: Marc Weinstein, a clinical professor of Management at Florida International University's business school; Helene O'Brien, Florida Director for 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and WLRN’s Jenny Staletovich, who's been reporting on the unemployment crisis.

If you want to ask WLRN Sundial a question about unemployment, send us an email at sundial@wlrnnews.org, message us on Facebook or tweet at us

Palm Beach County's Response to COVID-19 and testing

Palm Beach County leads the state in deaths due to COVID-19. 

Over the weekend, 14 people died raising the county total to 49 deaths to this virus. The rollout of testing sites in the county began early last week, with the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches opening in West Palm Beach. 

The testing site is being run by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. Darcy J. Davis, the organization's Chief Executive Officer joined host Luis Hernandez on Sundial.

Also, cities across South Florida have responded differently to the coronavirus pandemic. The city of Boca Raton took drastic measures to reduce the spread early on and implemented a full shelter in place, back in mid-March. 

"Testing and personal protective equipment for medical workers are two of the biggest challenges," says Andy Thomson, a Boca Raton city council member. "We pushed to get new testing facilities opened up. We need to give people what they need."

WLRN Sundial producer Chris Remington helped in the production of this episode.