ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – and the over-inflated fears associated with it – grip the globe, it can be difficult to find reliably factual information about what's going on here in Florida.
This blog is a resource to address that crucial need. 10News reporters and producers will use it to share the latest headlines, while actively avoiding the hyperbole that's running rampant across social media and respected news outlets.
Stories that require more in-depth coverage will be posted on WTSP.com/coronavirus.
7:58 p.m. (March 16)
The Florida Department of Health confirms five Florida residents have died from COVID-19 coronavirus, up from four in its last update. The person is located in Orange County.
There are a total of 160 COVID-19 cases in the state of Florida, plus six that are Florida residents who are diagnosed and isolated out of state.
7:12 p.m. (March 16)
WrestleMania and all related events won't be held in the Tampa Bay area, WWE says. However, WrestleMania will stream live at 7 p.m. on April 5 on the WWE Network. Only essential personnel will be there to broadcast it from a closed set at WWE's training center in Orlando. It will be available on pay-per-view.
7:10 p.m. (March 16)
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is ordering all the city's bars and restaurants to limit their capacity to 50 percent to help limit the spread of COVID-19. They will also be closing no later than 10 p.m. until further notice. These instructions take effect at noon on Tuesday.
6:11 p.m. (March 16)
Health care workers have set up three access sites to swab patients who think they might have the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the greater Tampa Bay area. The centralized collection sites will make it easier for people who meet the state testing guidelines to be checked while limiting exposure to doctors.
AdventHealth, which is running the testing sites, says only patients who are screened by their physicians, meet CDC and state testing requirements and have a referral from an AdventHealth doctor will be sent to these locations. If a person meets the criteria, a doctor will call one of the testing sites, and a team member will give the patient instructions on how to proceed.
When patients arrive at testing sites, trained workers in protective gear will meet them at their cars and swab them for COVID-19. The samples are then sent to commercial labs for testing.
If a person feels ill, they should call their doctor and try to limit their interactions with other people. AdventHealth has a free 24/7 hotline, 877-VIRUSHQ, for people with COVID-19 questions.
5:21 p.m. (March 16)
Florida's Tuesday primary election will go on as scheduled despite COVID-19, Secretary of State Laurel Lee said.
5:19 p.m. (March 16)
The Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz says "there will be another spring break," advising people to follow new guidelines of avoiding large groups of people.
5:04 p.m. (March 16)
Gov. Ron DeSantis announces a $50 million bridge loan program, with a zero-percent fixed rate, to "keep people afloat." Businesses with two to 100 employees can apply through the state.
People can visit floridadisasterloan.org for more information.
5:00 p.m. (March 16)
Poker rooms at Seminole Casinos will close at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, until further notice, a statement reads. Casinos otherwise remain open.
4:50 p.m. (March 16)
Universal Orlando will close CityWalk and all of its hotels in an effort to help limit the spread of COVID-19. CityWalk will be shut down -- beginning Tuesday, and the hotels will be closed by 5 p.m. on Friday.
3:50 p.m. (March 16)
Sarasota Memorial Hospital says it learned late Sunday night that two more patients had tested presumptively positive for COVID-19. They were an 87-year-old man who was admitted on March 13 and an 80-year-old man who was admitted on March 14.
Both men were wearing masks when they entered the emergency room. They were put in isolation. Two other patients, who previously tested positive, are still hospitalized.
3:20 p.m. (March 16)
St. Petersburg City Mayor Rick Kriseman has declared a local emergency amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, he took the unprecedented step of banning any events that consist of more than 50 people -- in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest guidelines.
That will apply to festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events and even private parties and weddings. Kriseman said events violating the guidelines could be broken up by law enforcement, as the city works hard to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Beginning at noon on Tuesday, the city will also be reducing capacity at local businesses by 50 percent. That will affect restaurants, cafes, bowling alleys, movie theaters and even the Cross-Bay Ferry.
The new "last call" for alcohol will be at 9 p.m. within St. Petersburg.
Public libraries, recreation centers and pools are being closed to the public until further notice. Outdoor playgrounds and exercise zones will be cleaned more frequently.
City council meetings have been suspended until April 9.
2:30 p.m. (March 16)
Manatee County has declared a state of emergency to mobilize resources to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
12:10 p.m. (March 16)
The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office says 250 poll workers have said they can no longer work the election. That is due to concerns over COVID-19. Some are elderly, some have underlying medical issues and others are concerned about exposing family members. Dustin Chase, communications director for the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office, says voters need to be aware there will be inexperienced poll workers, so they need to be patient. The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections has voiced concerns to the state via email.
12:05 p.m. (March 16)
Citrus County school-aged children will continue to receive their school lunches today through Friday (March 16 - 20) from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Here are the meal distribution sites:
Crystal River Primary - Crystal River (front of the school) Forest Ridge Elementary - Beverly Hills (front of the school) Pleasant Grove Elementary - Inverness (Bus ramp) Citrus High School - Inverness (Stadium road/Cafeteria entrance) Central Ridge Elementary - Citrus Springs (Bus ramp) Lecanto High School - Lecanto (towards Crest School) Rock Crusher Elementary - Crystal River/Homosassa (front of the school)
11:20 a.m. (March 16)
Citrus Connection is updating its Door-to-Door/Paratransit trip criteria to include medical, medical-related and grocery trips only. The limitation of those three types of trips will best assist in combatting the possible spread of Covid-19.
Anyone wishing to schedule medical, medical-related and grocery trips can continue to do so by calling the Regional Mobility Call Center at (863) 534-5500. Citrus Connection will honor already scheduled non-medical trips.
11:17 a.m. (March 16)
An emergency declaration for Sarasota County was signed Sunday night.
10::45 a.m. (March 16)
Venice City Manager Ed Lavallee declared a Local State of Emergency Monday morning and activated the City of Venice Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. This Local State of Emergency shall remain in effect for a period of 7 days unless extended or canceled before such time expires.
10:18 a.m. (March 16)
The March 18, 2020 Public Forum Beach Renourishment Project/Perpetual Storm Damage Reduction Easements has been CANCELED due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
6:35 a.m. (March 16)
Overnight, Disney announced that on Tuesday, it's closing all Disney stores, as well as Disney Springs. All Disney resorts in Orlando will close by 5 p.m. Friday.
6:30 a.m. (March 16)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced that a drive-thru testing facility will soon open at a hospital in Broward County, the state's county hardest-hit by coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases surged on Sunday to more than 130 statewide. State officials also said more than 170 National Guard personnel have been deployed in Broward County - with 300 more soon to be activated. DeSantis said Florida should brace for even more infections and he again urged residents to exercise caution and stay away from crowds to help slow the spread of the virus.
7:16 p.m. (March 15)
The Florida Department of Health has announced 30 new cases of COVID-19 in the state. That brings the total number to 136 Florida residents and 13 non-Florida residents.
6:07 p.m. (March 15)
A minor leaguer for the New York Yankees has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, making him the first known player affiliated with Major League Baseball to contract COVID-19.
The Yankees didn’t identify the player. The team said the player had spent his entire time at the minor league complex in Tampa, Florida, and hadn't been over at the main stadium and facilities used by the major leaguers.
3:42: p.m. (March 15)
ZooTampa at Lowry Park joined the growing number of local businesses closing to help limit the spread of COVID-19. It's scheduled to open back up March 29.
3:23 p.m. (March 15)
The Florida National Guard said it will activate a special task force to help limit the spread of coronavirus in the state.
Task Force-Medical will be made up of medical professionals who will support the Florida Department of Health in Broward County.
2:12 p.m. (March 15)
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is closing to the public starting Monday, March 16 until March 27 at 10 a.m. to " ensure social responsibility and the health and security of our community."
CEO Frank Dame said there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff, volunteers, interns, or from any of our visitors.
Veterinary staff will continue to work with their rescued, rehab, and resident marine life through the closure.
The public is invited to watch their webcams in the interim.
1:16 p.m. (March 15)
In an effort to protect visitors and "mitigate the spread" of COVID-19 The Dalí Museum is temporarily closing its doors. The closure includes the postponement or cancelation of both internal and external events.
Starting March 16 the museum will close until March 31.
Employees will still see support from the museum through the closure, stating:
"The health and safety of visitors, staff and volunteers are the Museum’s priority. As part of these efforts, The Dalí is making provisions to support all Museum salaried and hourly employees."
List of canceled public programs:
March 19: Opera at The Dalí
March 22: Mimosas & Masterpieces: Brunch at The Dalí
March 24: Poetry at The Dalí
March 26: Drag Queen Bingo at the Surreal Speakeasy
March 29: Los Vinos de Dalí 2020 postponed
March 29: Mimosas & Masterpieces: Brunch at The Dalí
6:26 a.m. (March 15)
The Florida Department of Health overnight announced a spike of positive COVID-19 coronavirus cases, including five in the Tampa Bay region.
Three of the local cases are in Hillsborough County, with one each in Citrus and Pasco counties.
10:45 p.m. (March 14)
TSA says an officer from Orlando International Airport tested positive for COVID-19.
7:25 p.m. (March 14)
President Donald Trump says his COVID-19 test came back negative.
6:25 p.m. (March 14)
Another person has died of COVID-19 in Florida. State health leaders say the person was 77 years old. The case was not travel-related.
5:15 p.m. (March 14)
Governor DeSantis announced on Saturday he was directing Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration to restrict all visitors for the next 30 days. He said exceptions will be made for "compassionate visitations."
1:12 p.m. (March 14)
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex announces it will close as of Monday, March 16, until further notice.
11:09 a.m. (March 14)
COVID-19 concerns have temporarily closed down both the Wagon Wheel and Mustang flea markets until April 1. The closure impacts 7 flea market dates.
"Out of an abundance of caution and to assist with our nation’s preventive efforts, Wagon Wheel Flea Market & Mustang Flea Market will temporarily close beginning Sunday, March 15," the flea market wrote on Facebook.
Flea market staff are working with vendors. Customers with questions are asked to contact email@example.com.
9:34 a.m. (March 14)
The remainder of the Sarasota St. Paddy's Festival is canceled. It was set to continue Saturday and Sunday.
7:28 a.m. (March 14)
The YMCA of the Suncoast is offering limited child care for parents who are are health care providers, emergency service workers or are in a situation that have no other alternatives. Participants must already be enrolled in the Suncoast Y's afterschool program to register.
- CENTRAL COUNTY - Greater Ridgecrest YMCA: 1801 119th Street North, Largo
- NORTH COUNTY - Lutheran Church of the Resurrection: 1555 Windmill Pointe Road, Palm Harbor
- NORTH COUNTY - Camp Muskogee: 2201 Soule Road, Clearwater
- SOUTH PASCO COUNTY - Gills Family YMCA: 8411 Photonics Drive, New Port Richey
1:30 a.m. (March 14)
A third person from Florida has died after being sickened by the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
The Florida Department of Health says the person, who was from Orange County, tested positive for the virus while traveling and died in California.
Early Saturday morning, health leaders confirmed 25 new people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Florida.
10:36 p.m. (March 13)
Sarasota Memorial Hospital says a second patient there has tested presumptively positive for COVID-19, coronavirus. The patient is a 67-year-old woman from Manatee County.
9:11 p.m. (March 13)
All Publix Super Markets will close at 8 p.m. to give its store teams time to conduct additional preventive sanitation and restock products on our shelves, beginning Saturday, March 14.
5:22 p.m. (March 13)
Hillsborough County Public Schools said Friday in a news release that all Florida school districts have been directed by the state's Department of Education to close for two weeks.
The order is designed to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Students and teachers in Hillsborough County were already scheduled to be off for spring break from March 16-20.
Now, they are scheduled to return on March 23.
5:13 p.m. (March 13)
Pasco County Schools announced Friday on Twitter they will remain closed for an extra week after spring break.
Students and teachers were already scheduled to be off the week of March 16-20.
Now, Pasco County schools will stay closed through March 23.
4:30 p.m. (March 13)
Royal Caribbean Cruises is calling off its cruises in the United States for the next 30 days.
The cruise line said it the suspension would start at midnight Thursday and it would start pausing the fleet's U.S. sailings for 30 days.
4:12 p.m. (March 13)
Miami-Dade County Public Schools will temporarily close, beginning on Monday, March 16, to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
4:10 p.m. (March 13)
Palm Beach County schools are closing through March 27. The district will be evaluating the situation to decide if the closure should last longer.
3:58 p.m. (March 13)
Tampa Theater suspends shows and events through march 31. This includes films, concerts, tours and special events.
Individuals with tickets should hold on to them as they will still be valid for the new show dates.
3:40 p.m. (March 13)
President Trump announced Friday from the White House he has declared the coronavirus pandemic an official national emergency.
He is ordering all states to set up emergency operations centers to coordinate the fight against the virus.
The president praised his administration for taking bold action to limit the spread of COVID-19, and he promised that the nation would get through this together.
3:22 p.m. (March 13)
Legloand Florida has joined other theme parks in closing its gates from March 15-31 over the coronavirus. The resport says both its water park and theme parks are closing out of an abundance of caution.
Legoland accommodations will remain open through the closure. Employees will continue to work on site as scheduled.
Guests can email firstname.lastname@example.org to hear about their options for those who booked travel packages or tickets with them.
3:18 p.m. (March 13)
The Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg is csing its Catholic school and Early Childhood Center between March 16-20. Virtual learning will being starting March 18.
Maintenance staff is deep cleaning the buildings while students and staff are gone as a precautionary measure.
All field trips, galas and suction are canceled or postponed until April 17.
2:31 p.m. (March 13)
Busch Gardens is the latest theme park temporarily closing its gates due to coronavirus concerns.
All Busch Gardens theme parks, including those in Tampa Bay, will close from March 16 through the end of the month.
Through the temporary closure, "essential personnel" will continue to look after the animals in Busch Garden's care. Their animal rescue and rehab operations will continue to operate.
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment full-time employees will continue to be paid through the closure.
Latest on park operations can be found here.
2:22 p.m. (March 13)
Hillsborough Community College students will be experiencing an extended mid-term break out of "an abundance of caution" over the coronavirus.
Classes will resume on March 30, but all other college events, travel and activities will remain canceled until April 6.
During their closure to
2:16 p.m. (March 13)
Tampa Prep is closing until March 30, 2020, due to coronavirus concerns.
Staff and administrators will be working remotely; while students are told that they should remain off campus until the school reopens.
“Although we have no known cases of coronavirus at Tampa Prep, we still urge our community to remain calm, informed, and poised to support children as we navigate these challenging times,” Head of School for Tampa Prep, Kevin Plummer said.
They are also working with the College Board to contact students who were registered for the March 14th SATs to reschedule.
2:14 p.m. (March 13)
Lakeland's SUN 'n FUN Aerospace Expo has been postponed until May 5-10 due to concerns over COVID-19. The event holders released the statement below:
"SUN ‘n FUN and the Aerospace Center for Excellence are deeply concerned about the developing crisis with COVID-19 and understand our responsibility to help in the fight against the spread of the disease. Our first priority is always the health, safety, and well-being of our patrons, partners, staff and volunteers."
2:00 p.m. (March 13)
Sarasota's St. Paddy's Festival is back on. A previous news release said the three-day event had been canceled.
The fun and festivities kick off at 4 p.m. Friday at JD Hamel Park in downtown Sarasota.
1:39 p.m. (March 13)
Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC) is closing all campuses and locations to students until 6 a.m., Monday, March 23, 2020. All online classes will continue without interruption.
Most face-to-face classes will resume online and remain online until the end of the semester, though PHSC is giving special consideration to classes that require in-person instruction, like labs.
PHSC President, Timothy L. Beard released the statement below:
"I sincerely appreciate your flexibility and attentiveness as we seek to address this unprecedented situation in a focused and thoughtful way. I will count on you in the coming days to help our students continue their learning through teaching, student services, and operation support, and there isn’t a team I’d rather be working with through these unprecedented days ahead with than ours."
1:30 p.m. (March 13)
It's pretty much expected at this point. Another big public event has been canceled. Visit St. Pete/Clearwater has called off the 2020 Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The organizers released this letter:
Dear friends, family, and loyal Sugar Sand Festival supporters,
On Thursday, Florida Governor DeSantis made a recommendation and request to postpone and/or cancel all mass gatherings in an effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
As an organization that is passionate about their charitable work and tourism efforts on Clearwater Beach, it is with great sadness to announce our decision to "sunset" and postpone the 8th Annual Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival presented by Visit St. Pete Clearwater. This community-generated event has created countless memories for both residents and visitors who travel to be a part of an event that celebrates some of Mother Nature's greatest gifts. Simply put, we are heartbroken. In these uncertain times, there is no higher priority than the safety of our guests, volunteers, partners and staff.
For those of you who have pre-purchased tickets, festival organizers will be contacting you within the next week to issue you a refund.
We look forward to saving you a seat on our sugar sand beaches, and leave you with wishes of good health. This situation is unprecedented to all, that is why we must move forward together and "Play Nice in the Sandbox".
- Respectfully, Team Sugar Sand.
12:15 p.m. (March 13)
(AP) The mayor of Miami says he tested positive for the new coronavirus after meeting with a Brazilian official who also was in close proximity to President Donald Trump. Mayor Francis Suarez said Friday that he was not feeling any symptoms, and called for anyone who has been close to him since Monday to self-isolate for 14 days. Florida politicians such as U.S. Sen. Rick Scott had expressed concerns about coming into contact with the Brazilian president’s press secretary, Fábio Wajngarten, who tested positive after joining Bolsonaro in a visit to Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.
11:40 a.m. (March 13)
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was supposed to happen this weekend, has been canceled.
IndyCar says the decision was made after careful consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All NTT IndyCar series events are being canceled through April.
"Although we are disappointed to delay the start to this IndyCar season and will miss our incredible fans who support us each year in St. Petersburg, Birmingham, Long Beach, and Austin, the safety of our fans, participants, staff, partners, and media will always remain our top priority."
IndyCar said it would continue to coordinate with public health experts and government officials to determine when its regular schedule should resume.
11:37 a.m. (March 13)
The 2020 Sarasota Film Festival, scheduled for March 27- April 5 has been postponed. A new date has not been announced.
10:50 a.m. (March 13)
After Spring Break, starting March 23, a specific procedure will begin for any Hillsborough County student, employee or another person who needs to come to a school and meets any one of these requirements:
- Has traveled out of the country or gone on a cruise within the past 14 days, OR
- Believes they may have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus/COVID-19, OR
- Believes they may have symptoms of coronavirus/COVID-19 (fever, cough or shortness of breath)
Any person who fits any one of those three requirements MUST follow the steps below and complete a “Return to School Report”:
Visit HillsboroughSchools.org, click the button that says “Return to School Report” and follow the instructions. (The "Return to School Report" button will be active starting on March 23)
Call your school or worksite, tell them you need to file a “Return to School Report” and have an employee at the school or worksite complete the “Return to School Report” online form with you, using their computer at the school or worksite while you are on the phone.
Depending on the situation and risk factors, the “Return to School Report” process MAY direct you to contact your doctor or the Florida Department of Health for guidance on when you are able to return to school.
10:45 a.m. (March 13)
Effective immediately, the Straz Center is suspending all performances, classes, and events.
Patrons should hold on to their tickets. The Straz will reschedule as many events as possible. The Straz Center Ticket Sales Office will be in touch with ticket holders about refunds and other options soon.
10:15 a.m. (March 13)
In light of the risk of COVID-19, the following ongoing events in the City of Venice have been canceled through May 1:
- City Bicycle Rides on the second Wednesday of the month
- Historic Bike Tours scheduled for March 17 and March 31
- Venezia Park and Grand Homes Walking Tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays
- All concerts at the Centennial Park Gazebo
- Walk-in Pinebrook Park on March 18
10:04 a.m. (March 13)
The Masters has been postponed.
9:52 p.m. (March 13)
Saturday Night Brawl IV set for 7:30 p.m. March 28, 2020, has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns.
The reschedule date is yet to be determined. Tickets will still be valid for the new date.
9:40 a.m. (March 13)
With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Florida, BayCare Health System is implementing visitor restrictions at its hospitals across the Tampa Bay region to safeguard the health of patients, team members, physicians, and the community.
Starting Friday, BayCare facilities will start screening visitors for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Those who are deemed a risk will be restricted from entering the facility and may be referred to an emergency department. In an abundance of caution, also restricted from visiting are all children under the age of 18.
- St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Tampa
- St. Joseph’s Hospital, Tampa
- St. Joseph’s Hospital – North, Lutz
- St. Joseph’s Hospital – South, Riverview
- St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, Tampa
- South Florida Baptist Hospital, Plant City
- Morton Plant North Bay, New Port Richey
- Bardmoor Emergency Center, Largo
- BayCare Alliant Hospital, Dunedin
- Mease Countryside Hospital, Safety Harbor
- Mease Dunedin Hospital
- Morton Plant Hospital, Clearwater
- St. Anthony’s Hospital, St. Petersburg
- Bartow Regional Medical Center
- Winter Haven Hospital
- Winter Haven Women’s Hospital
8:30 a.m. (March 13)
The Little League International Board of Directors and staff have decided to delay the start of the Little League season to begin no earlier than April 6.
4:20 a.m. (March 13)
The Florida Department of Health says there are now 42 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Florida.
11:20 p.m. (March 12)
The Gasparilla Film Festival was postponed.
10:43 p.m.(March 12)
The Florida Health Department announced 17 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the state. Three of the cases are in the Tampa Bay area.
New Positive Cases
- A 73-year old male in Palm Beach County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case and is associated with a Nile River Cruise/Tour in Egypt.
- A 74-year old male in Palm Beach County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case and is associated with travel to Europe.
- A 50-year old male New York resident who is currently in Sarasota County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. It is currently unclear whether this was a travel-related case; the epidemiological investigation is ongoing.
- A 70-year old male Massachusetts resident in Sarasota County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. It is currently unclear whether this was a travel-related case; the epidemiological investigation is ongoing.
- A 24-year old female in Alachua County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case and is associated with travel to Europe.
- A 70-year old male in Volusia County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case and is associated with a Nile River Cruise/Tour in Egypt.
- An 83-year old male in Duval County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. It is currently unclear whether this was a travel-related case; the epidemiological investigation is ongoing.
- A 57-year old male in Clay County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. It is currently unclear whether this was a travel-related case; the epidemiological investigation is ongoing.
- A 28-year old female in Broward County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. It is currently unclear whether this was a travel-related case; the epidemiological investigation is ongoing.
- A 25-year old female in Broward County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case.
- A 20-year old female Texas resident in Broward County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case and is associated with travel to Europe.
- A 68-year old female in Broward County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This case is associated with Port Everglades.
- A 36-year old male in Broward County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case.
- A 49-year old female Hillsborough County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case and is associated with travel to Europe.
- A 77-year old male in Lee County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. It is currently unclear whether this was a travel-related case; the epidemiological investigation is ongoing.
10:30 p.m. (March 12)
A 70-year-old man, who is a patient at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, tested presumptively positive for COVID-19.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital said the man was admitted March 10 and placed in isolation under the care of staff trained in appropriate infection prevention and control measures.
Test samples have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation, but health experts are treating it like a completely confirmed case for public health purposes.
10:00 p.m. (March 12)
The Valspar Championship is being called off.
The PGA Tour announced Thursday night that The Players Championship was being canceled, along with all events through the Valero Texas Open. That would include The Valspar Championship, which was scheduled for March 19-22 at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor.
Earlier in the day, the PGA had said the Valspar Championship would still be played -- just without spectators. But, it has since been called off altogether.
9:08 p.m. (March 12)
Universal Orlando Resort will close its theme parks starting at the end of the business day on Sunday.
Universal said the closure is coming out of an abundance of caution to help stop the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
The theme parks said it would most likely be closed from March 15 through the end of March. The park will continue to evaluate the situation.
8:34 p.m. (March 12)
Disney World in Orlando said it was closing due to coronavirus concerns, Disney Parks News tweeted. Park officials said there were no confirmed cases at the park, and they were shutting things down as a precaution.
8:16 p.m. (March 12)
XFL, the winter and spring professional football league launched by WWE CEO Vince McMahon, announced on Thursday that it won't play regular-season games because of the coronavirus.
Read the full statement below:
"Currently, the XFL will not be playing its regular-season games. However, all players will be paid their base pay and benefits for the 2020 regular season. All XFL ticket holders will be issued refunds or credit toward future games. The XFL is committed to playing a full season in 2021 and future years."
5:45 p.m. (March 12)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are transitioning their entire training center staff to work from home as professional sports teams work to combat the threat of coronavirus. In addition, the franchise has stopped business-related travel, including for its scouts and coaches.
All business operations and preparations for the 2020 season are still continuing.
4:27 p.m. (March 12)
Cigar City Brewing has canceled their 2020 Hunahpu's Day festival originally set for tomorrow, March 13.
"We have decided at this time it is the most responsible action to take for our loyal consumers, our employees, the craft community in addition to the great city of Tampa. We are disappointed that we will not be able to celebrate with some of our biggest fans and fellow brewers as we have done for the past ten years," the company said in a release.
Ticket holders are eligible to have their festival portion of the ticket refunded.
4:23 p.m. (March 12)
The NCAA announced Thursday afternoon that March Madness has been canceled.
"This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health treat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities," the NCAA said in a statement.
The first and second rounds of March Madness were supposed to be played at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
4:09 p.m. (March 12) The University of South Florida suspended its spring athletics competition.
4:04 p.m. (March 12)
The Florida Department of Health's latest positive cases of COVID-19 show 30 cases in the state. Three of those cases are non-Florida residents.
3:49 p.m. (March 12)
Cher is postponing all concerts on her "Here We Go Again" tour effective immediately due to coronavirus concerns.
"I'm heartbroken, but the health of my fans and my touring family comes first. The shows have been really special but, nothing is more important than everybody's safety. I'm excited to see everyone when we're back out on the road." Cher said in a release.
Her Tampa show has be re-scheduled for Sept. 8, 2020.
No action is needed for fans who currently have tickets and plan to attend the re-scheduled date, those who do not are eligible for refunds.
3:04 p.m. (March 12)
St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Thursday the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be closed to spectators.
All of the surrounding race related events are canceled.
Fans of the races can still catch all the action on TV.
2:55 p.m. (March 12)
Country singer Kenny Chesney is postponing the first 11 dates of his Chillaxification Tour, which included a May 9 appearance at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
2:30 p.m. (March 12)
The Mayor's River O'Green Fest and the St. Patrick's Day Parade have been canceled in Tampa amid efforts to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
2:14 p.m. (March 12)
There's a new COVID-19 case in Florida. The state's Department of Health announced on Twitter a 68-year-old man tested positive at AdventHealth in Altamonte Springs.
According to FDOH, the man is being cared for in isolation, and his case is travel-related.
2:11 p.m. (March 12)
Rapidly hiring workers, enlisting volunteers and making emergency purchases – that’s all possible under a local emergency declaration just approved by Pasco County commissioners in an emergency meeting.
It was requested by Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, and it gives County Administrator Dan Biles and Emergency Management Director Andrew Fossa wide-ranging powers to ramp up the county’s response to the coronavirus.
According to a news release, they can “do what they feel is necessary to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the community.”
Pasco County’s last state of emergency was declared before Hurricane Dorian in August.
2 p.m. (March 12)
The Twelve Hours of Sebring has been postponed due to the United States' temporary ban on travel from Europe as part of the nation's broader effort to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) announced Thursday that the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, which was scheduled for March 18-21, will not be held at that time.
The race has been rescheduled for Nov. 11-14 at Sebring International Raceway. People who bought 2020 admission tickets and parking passes will be able to go to the rescheduled event in November.
1:40 p.m. (March 12)
The NHL is pausing its season due to COVID-19 concerns.
1:26 a.m. (March 12)
The 2020 Tampa Bay AirFest scheduled for the weekend of March 28-29 has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. No date has been announced.
Sponsors or vendors can call 813-828-3055. For all other queries please contact Public Affairs at 813-828-2217.
1:25 p.m. (March 12)
You may see EMS workers around Pinellas County wearing protective clothing while responding to some calls. These protective measures are in accordance with CDC guidelines designed to keep both the workers and the patients safe against respiratory infections.
1:20 p.m. (March 12)
The 14th annual Mutt Madness in Dunedin scheduled for Saturday has been canceled.
1:10 p.m. (March 12)
Sen. Rick Scott released the following statement on his decision to self-quarantine following potential contact with a Brazilian delegation member who tested positive for Coronavirus.
“My office was alerted today by the Brazilian Embassy that a member of President Bolsonaro’s delegation tested positive for Coronavirus. On Monday, I met with the President in Miami, and while I do not believe I interacted with the infected person, that individual was in the same room as me. The Embassy said the person had no symptoms leading up to or the day of the conference. After consulting with the Senate’s attending physician and my personal doctor, I have been told that my risk is low, and I don’t need to take a test or quarantine. However, the health and safety of the American people is my focus and I have made the decision to self-quarantine in an abundance of caution. I am feeling healthy and not experiencing any symptoms at this time. I will still be working on my plan to combat Coronavirus and protect American families, and my offices in D.C. and throughout the state will still be fully operational to help Floridians.”
12:40 p.m. (March 12)
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Down Syndrome West Florida has canceled all March events because of coronavirus.
12:40 p.m. (March 12)
There will be a news conference about COVID-19 and the GrandPrix at 3 p.m. at St. Petersburg Police Headquarters on First Avenue N. You can watch on the 10News Facebook page and in the 10News app.
12:15 p.m. (March 12)
NHL Public Relations posted on Twitter that given the uncertainty regarding the next steps regarding the coronavirus, clubs are advised not to conduct morning skates, practices or team meetings today. The Tampa Bay Lightning is scheduled to play tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers at Amalie Arena.
12:10 p.m. (March 12)
AdventHealth confirmed to 10News that they treated the Pasco County man who tested positive for COVID-19 at their Wesley Chapel location.
He was treated and released.
No one else was exposed as he called ahead, was identified as a potential case and AdventHealth says protocols were put in place to bring him into a negative pressure room, isolated and treated.
12 p.m. (March 12):
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' news conference revealed the following information:
- Six new cases of COVID-19 were announced last night, including the first case in Miami. That one involved a 56-year-old man who had traveled to Iran. There have been 34 Florida cases and two deaths. It's important to note: Both those deaths involved people with underlying health conditions.
- Gov. Desantis is urging people to take extra steps to protect those who are more vulnerable to coronavirus, specifically those who are elderly. Certain senior centers and daycares have closed in Miami-Dade county.
- The state plans to increase COVID-19 testing. Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami will be one of the first to get test kits.
- The state is urging people to practice social distancing.
- The governor is suspending all official travel for state employees for 30 days. State agencies will maximize telecommuting.
- Local municipalities are being strongly encouraged to limit mass gatherings, including sporting events.
12 p.m. (March 12)
11:43 a.m. (March 12)
There are last-minute polling location changes due to the Coronavirus.
Precinct 120 The (Estates at Carpenters) and precinct 216 (Florida Presbyterian Homes) have notified the Supervisor of Elections they will not be able to host a precinct due to CDC guidelines for senior living facilities.
For this election only, voters who normally vote at The Estates at Carpenters will be voting at Gibsonia Baptist Church, 5440 US Hwy 98 North, Lakeland.
Voters who normally vote at Florida Presbyterian Homes will be voting at Lake Mirror Center, 121 South Lake Avenue, Lakeland.
11:30 a.m. (March 12)
Major League Soccer is suspending match play for 30 days because of coronavirus.
Grant Wahl, of Sports Illustrated, was the first to report the news. There have been no reports that any MLS players have tested positive.
Florida has two MLS teams. Orlando City Soccer Club and Inter Miami CF.
11:05 a.m. (March 12)
In cooperation with the Senior Center Foundation, this Saturday’s March 14 Health and Wellness Expo inside the Historic Gulfport Casino is postponed until Saturday, June 6.
11:05 a.m. (March 12)
Saint Leo University will move to online classes to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
At its residential campus in Pasco County, students now are on spring break and instructed not to return.
Online classes will begin March 23 for those students who attend at the main campus.
Education center students at Saint Leo’s Tampa (Channelside); MacDill Air Force Base; Pasco-Hernando State College sites in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, and Brooksville; and Lakeland locations will begin online classes March 16.
Effective immediately, the university is canceling all large group events. Additional details about individual cancellations will be shared by event organizers. All sports activities are suspended indefinitely. In addition, no fans will be permitted at the Acrobatics & Tumbling home events.
10:30 a.m. (March 12)
Authorities say a passenger on a commercial airline that flew into Palm Beach International Airport tested positive for COVID-19.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue officials say other passengers were advised to monitor their health and airport crews sterilized the containment area where passengers deplaned, which is away from the main terminal.
10:30 a.m. (March 12)
Princess Cruises, which had one of its ships quarantined off the coast of Japan last month, is suspending global operations through early May because of the coronavirus pandemic. The cruise line, which is part of Carnival Corp., said Thursday that 18 cruise ships will cease voyages that were scheduled to depart between March 12 and May 10.
10:10 a.m. (March 12)
USF Athletics will conduct all upcoming scheduled home competitions with only teams, essential staff and limited family attendance at facilities until further notice.
The restrictions will be put in place beginning with Thursday's women's tennis match vs. James Madison and will also impact baseball, softball and men's tennis competitions on campus this weekend and in the near future as well as the Bulls Invitational track meet slated for March 20-21.
USF football coach Jeff Scott has also elected to reschedule the spring football practice previously scheduled for today to a later date to be determined.
USF is still assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the remaining spring football practices, set to resume on March 24 following the university's spring break next week, and the spring football game, set for April 18.
9:44 a.m. (March 12) St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced that general admission to the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is canceled.
The race is still scheduled to take place from March 13-15.
9:35 a.m. (March 12) A daycare in Palm Harbor has shut down after a parent at Westlake Christian school, which is on the same campus, tested positive for coronavirus.
PHUMC The Robin's Nest said in a Facebook post, the parent is now in self-isolation, and the campus is bein gclosed "in an abundance of caution."
The daycare will be closed through at least Friday.
9:25 a.m. (March 12) USF Athletics will not allow fans to attend upcoming home games for any sport starting with Thursday's women's tennis match vs James Madison.
Only teams, essential staff and a limited amount of family members will be allowed at the facilities until further notice, according to a news release.
USF hasn't made a decision yet on what to do about remaining spring football practices, which are scheduled to resume on March 24. The spring football game is currently set for April 18.
“After consulting with university leadership, I have made the decision that it is in the best interest for the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, fans and the community at large to conduct our athletic competitions for a period of time in the absence of fans,” Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly said.
“We will continue to monitor closely the impacts of COVID-19 and consult public health resources as we assess the need for further adjustments moving forward.”
9:10 a.m. (March 12) Comedian Martin Lawrence announced he's postponing his "LIT AF Tour" which was scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Thursday night at the University of South Florida. According to a news release, the decision to postpone was made after USF canceled all university-sponsored events for the next 30 days.
Lawrence was supposed to appear at Tampa's Yuengling Center on campus.
6:30 a.m. (March 12)
Farnell Middle School in Tampa is closed for at least the next 48 hours after a person was exposed to coronavirus. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis did not say if the person was a student or an employee.
5:30 a.m. (March 12)
Hillsborough County Public Schools will hold a press conference at 6:30 a.m., today regarding coronavirus. You can watch live on 10News, the 10News app, and our Facebook page.
4:30 a.m. (March 12)
The Florida Department of Health confirms three new positive cases of coronavirus disease in Florida. The update comes just hours after three more cases were confirmed late Wednesday night.
This brings the total to 26 confirmed cases in the state.
10:18 p.m. (March 11) Tampa International Airport responded to President Trump's announcement to suspend European flights.
TPA sent us this statement:
"The airport is aware of Trump’s announcement regarding the suspension of European flights and we’re currently analyzing what that means for TPA. Passengers affected during the specified time period should contact their airlines for the latest information about their flights."
The Department of Homeland Security released a statement after the president's remarks to clarify. The Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf said the ban does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.
9:26 p.m. (March 11) The Florida Department of Health announces three new positive cases of COVID-19 coronavirus.
They are as follows:
- A 63-year old male New York resident who is currently in St. Johns County has tested positive. He is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case where this individual traveled from New York to attend Daytona Bike Week in Daytona, Florida. The New York Department of Health is leading the epidemiological investigation for this individual.
- A 56-year old male in Miami-Dade County has tested positive. He is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case.
- A 70-year old male in Broward County tested as positive. He is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This individual attended an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Conference in Tampa, Florida. The epidemiological investigation is underway.
9:05 p.m. (March 11) President Trump says the U.S. will suspend all travel from Europe to the U.S. for 30 days, starting Friday; it does not apply to the U.K.
5:20 p.m. (March 11) Florida State University is following the trend of colleges going online-only as they try to keep conoravirus off-campus.
"It has become clear that to protect the students and the residents of our state, proactive rather than reactive guidance to universities is necessary," the Board of Governors said in news release.
Students are still being told to leave stay away, but there is a tentative schedule for FSU's eventual return to normalcy.
- March 14: Residence halls will close at noon to visitors and for those residents who depart for spring break. Residents who stay may remain in the halls.
- March 23 – April 5: Classes will be held via remote instruction.
- April 4: Residence halls are anticipated to reopen at noon to visitors and those residents who traveled for spring break.
- April 6: Face-to-face classes are anticipated to resume.
4:35 p.m. (March 11) The NCAA on Wednesday made a major announcement in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.
"I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a tweeted statement.
"While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States. This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes."
4:26 p.m. (March 11) The head of Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration sat down with 10Investigates' Courtney Robinson to talk about what the state is doing to ensure nursing homes and assisted living facilities are complying with procedures to prevent and contain the spread of coronavirus.
Secretary Mary Mayhew says, at this point, there have been no cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Mayhew says these facilities need to be screening visitors and turning away anyone who is sick, has traveled internationally or been on a cruise in the last 14 days. Additionally, she says workers who are ill need to stay away.
4:25 p.m. (March 11) COVID-19 is now a pandemic, according to the World Health Organization.
So, what does that mean?
The Centers for Disease Control defines a pandemic as "an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people."
But, what does that mean for you and your family?
The truth is, it doesn't change a whole lot. The advice from the CDC remains the same – wash your hands thoroughly and often, disinfect surfaces, avoid travel to heavily-affected areas and isolate yourself and call a doctor if you start to experience symptoms.
Here is a list on contacts if you have more questions about coronavirus:
Here is a link to information on which kinds of disinfectants effectively kill coronavirus EPA issues list of disinfectants to use against coronavirus
3:48 p.m. (March 11) Universities across the state are moving all classes online amid the growing number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases across the globe.
The Florida Board of Governors said all state universities will have to make plans to transition to online courses "as soon as possible" because of the outbreak.
State university campuses will stay open and operations will continue.
11:15 a.m. (March 11)
The mayor of St. Petersburg held a news conference Wednesday morning to discuss concerns over coronavirus and the upcoming Grand Prix.
Rick Kriseman said the city is taking every precaution to ensure the event is a safe experience.
He said to use common sense, wash your hands, avoid close contact with sick people and stay home if you are sick or high risk.
Additional handwashing stations will be at the event as well as hand sanitizing stations.
Kriseman says the two Pinellas positives did not have contact with a lot of people prior to diagnosis.
9:30 a.m. (March 11)
Pinellas County Schools shared a video on how classrooms are cleaned to keep children safe from coronavirus.
10:42 p.m. (March 10) The Florida Department of Health confirms eight new positive COVID-19 cases, with all people being cared for and isolated, the agency said.
Three of those cases are local to Tampa Bay, including two in Pinellas County and one in Pasco County.
The spike in new cases brings the total number to 23 in Florida.
Florida health officials break down where the cases are located:
- A 68-year old male in Nassau County has been identified as positive. This person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case.
- A 68-year old female Georgia resident who is currently in Alachua County, Florida, has been identified as positive. This person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. The Georgia Department of Public Health is leading the epidemiological investigation for this individual.
- A 73-year old male in Collier County has been identified as positive. This person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case.
- A 68-year old female in Collier County has been identified as positive. This person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case.
- A 64-year old female in Collier County has been identified as positive. This person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case.
- A 67-year old male in Pinellas County has been identified as positive. This person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case.
- A 64-year old male in Pinellas County has been identified as positive. This person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case.
- A 46-year old male in Pasco County has been identified as positive. This person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case.
8:23 p.m. (March 10) Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will not visit Tampa this week because of ongoing COVID-19 concerns.
The former vice president's campaign said the scheduled "get out the vote" event for 5 p.m. Thursday is off.
Instead, Biden is expected to deliver remarks on coronavirus from his hometown of Wilmington, Del. That is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday.
6 p.m. (March 10): Hillsborough County has partially activated its Emergency Operations Center. The limited activation lets the county and its partner agencies better monitor the COVID-19 situation and coordinate resources as necessary. As of Tuesday, there had been no additional confirmed cases of coronavirus in Hillsborough County -- other than the two reported last week.
5:15 p.m. (March 10) The University of South Florida on Tuesday announced the following travel restrictions for "essential university-related business travel" in an effort to protect students and faculty from the spread of COVID-19.
- International travel to any "Level 3 or Level 4 country" is prohibited (The CDC says the countries included in Level 3 are China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. As of now, there is no Level 4)
- Travel to any other country must be pre-approved
- All domestic air travel must be pre-approved
- Pre-travel screening is required for any person who has symptoms, recently traveled to an affected country or had "in-person exposure" with someone who has. USF says this measure is designed "to ensure we are not contributing to the spread of the virus."
All "non-essential" travel is banned until further notice.
USF Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph Wilcox said in a news release the university is also canceling or postponing all gatherings of more than 100 people. Smaller gatherings "that do not include participants from outside the state" can be held without pre-approval.
Campus events can be held, but USF is urging organizers to "exercise discretion" when deciding if the events are necessary. They all require pre-approval.
4:57 p.m. (March 10) It's a story from out of the state, but it could soon have an impact here in Florida. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden both announced Tuesday they're canceling rallies in Cleveland because of concerns about coronavirus.
“Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland,” Sanders communications director Mike Casca said in a statement.
Biden's campaign echoed the same tone.
"In accordance with guidance from public officials and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio tonight is cancelled. We will continue to consult with public health officials and public health guidance and make announcements about future events in the coming days," Biden communications director Kate Bedingfield said.
One of those future events is scheduled to take place Thursday here in Tampa Bay. 10News is reaching out to ask when a decision on that event will be made.
You can read more about tonight's cancellations here.
3:44 p.m. (March 10) Hillsborough County Schools says it has canceled out-of-state trips only by plane for its students.
Out-of-state trips by bus or car are allowed, spokeswoman Tanya Arja said.
In Pinellas County, all trips by plane are canceled but other out-of-state trips are will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Student field trips involving air travel also are suspended in Polk County.
3:30 p.m. (March 10) Douglas Holt with the Hillsborough County Health Department during a news conference with Mayor Jane Castor said the city is not dealing with any active COVID-19 cases.
Castor again reiterates what health officials have said: Elderly people and those at high risk of infection should take the necessary steps, such as limiting air travel, to avoid contracting the virus.
1:44 p.m. (March 10)
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody activated a price gouging hotline for people to report possible scams amid high demand for cleaning and sanitizing products.
Price gouging hotline: (866) 9NO-SCAM
“Be on the lookout for scams and guard against gouging, but remember, the best thing you can do right now is heed the advice of health experts—wash hands regularly and stay home if you are ill," Moody said in a release.
The products covered under the state's price gouging laws during the state of emergency include protective masks and sanitizing and disinfecting supplies like hand sanitizer, wipes and cleaning products.
8:40 a.m. (March 10)
AdventHealth is offering a free phone service for Floridians with questions about coronavirus.
The number to the 24-hour hotline is 877-VIRUSHQ.
AdventHealth says the goal is not to replace the doctor-patient relationship. Instead, nurses will provide answers to general medical questions and suggest next steps for callers.
The company is also launching a new FAQ website.
“While the risk for coronavirus infection in Florida remains low, it’s vital that the public be equipped with the facts to help prevent the potential spread of the virus,” said Dr. Vincent Hsu, Infection Control Officer at AdventHealth, said.
“We hope the community will use these resources, remain vigilant and help keep Florida healthy by taking simple steps such as staying home if you’re sick and routine hand washing.”
8:05 a.m. (March 10)
14 Florida residents have tested positive for coronavirus.
8:36 p.m. (March 9) The Florida Department of Health announces a new positive COVID-19 coronavirus case in Volusia County. The person is a 60-year-old woman who has a recent history of travel.
She is being isolated from the general public, the department says.
It is the second case in Volusia County and among the 13 positive cases in the state of Florida.
7:25 p.m. (March 9) In a rare joint statement, four major North American sports leagues announced on Monday that locker rooms will be closed to media until further notice amid coronavirus concerns.
Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League said in a press release that locker rooms and clubhouses will be restricted to players, coaches and essential team personnel.
It will affect changes in player access with the Tampa Bay Rays, the team announced in its own statement.
5:44 p.m. (March 9) Florida congressman Matt Gaetz is under self-quarantine after coming into contact with someone at the Conservative Political Action Conference who later tested positive for coronavirus.
In a series of tweets Monday, the Republican lawmaker is said to have come into contact 11 days ago with the attendee.
5:32 p.m. (March 9) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a news conference said he believes Florida will receive $27 million from Congress after more than $8 billion was approved last week in an effort to combat coronavirus.
In total, DeSantis said, the state is dealing with 18 COVID-19 cases, including a handful of Florida residents who were diagnosed in another state. Two people have died.
The virus remains a concern for the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
4:29 p.m. (March 9) The whole travel industry has been rocked by COVID-19 coronavirus uncertainty. That includes anxious airline passengers who might be worried about who’s sitting next to them on their next flight.
Now, the airlines and cruise lines are trying to give people options.
Here’s a look at what some of the biggest carriers out of Tampa Bay and the cruise lines that regularly dock at Port Tampa Bay are doing.
2:58 p.m. (March 9) Two students in the Sarasota County Schools district have been excluded from school by the Florida Department of Health, the district announced on Facebook.
They reportedly came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus.
The students are said to be well but will be monitored in the coming days.
2:53 p.m. (March 9) Travel advisory clarification: After initially saying anyone who traveled internationally should self-isolate for two weeks, the Florida Department of Health has slightly walked back its initial advisory.
The updated advisory now appears to be more directed at people who develop COVID-19 symptoms, which can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms typically appear 2-14 days after exposure. The advisory is also more focused of travel to specific countries.
Click here for more detailed information on this story.
2:00 p.m (March 9) The advice is simple, and health leaders certainly hope it will be effective; If you travel internationally, self-isolate for 14 days after returning home to the United States.
The Florida Department of Health is urging everyone who goes overseas to stay away from other being when they get back – just in case they came in contact with COVID-19.
Other countries are seeing much higher rates of the virus, but numbers are rising across the U.S.
There are currently 18 confirmed cases in Florida.
1:45 p.m. (March 9): Princess cruise line officials say passengers on a third ship have been ordered to stay on board while crew members get tested for COVID-19. The ship will dock in Grand Cayman to pick up test kits, but passengers won't be allowed off. From there, it will sail toward Fort Lauderdale, where it will remain off Florida's coast until further notice.
6:45 (March 8) The Florida Department of Health said a 67-year-old Broward County man tested positive for COVID-19.
6:44 (March 8) The Centers for Disease Control said the two crew members aboard the Regal Princess cruise ship off Florida's coast tested negative for COVID-19.
The CDC rescinded the no sail order for the Regal Princess Sunday.
Right now, we do not know when the cruise ship will dock.
5:19 p.m. (March 8) Senator Rick Scott sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Wolf, CDC Director Redfield, FAA Administrator Dickson and the Administrators of Santa Rosa County and Lee County Health Departments requesting additional information surrounding the cases of Chinese Coronavirus-related deaths in Santa Rosa and Lee counties.
3 p.m. (March 8) Senator Rick Scott met with Tampa leaders to discuss the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. Senator Scott talked about how the cruise industry is working to make sure that they can conduct testing out on the sea.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said there is a plan in place to fight viruses like this. She said it's very similar to how the city plans for hurricanes.
10:58 a.m. (March 8) The Regal Princess cruise ship is not being allowed to dock in South Florida after passengers aboard were told two crew members are being tested for COVID-19 coronavirus.
It's believed those crew previously were on board the Grand Princess ship, which for days has been forbidden to dock in San Francisco after at least 20 positive coronavirus cases were reported. At least one person among those cases died.
7:27 a.m. (March 8) For the first time during the coronavirus outbreak, 100 countries worldwide are reporting cases.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted the news Sunday, saying there are things everyone can do right now. The easiest, health officials say, is to wash your hands and stay away from people who are showing symptoms.
Florida continues to report 11 positive coronavirus cases, five Florida cases repatriated and one non-Florida resident case.
9:45 p.m. (March 7)
The Florida Department of Health announced a new presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Manatee County. The person is an 81-year-old woman who had a recent history of travel outside of the United States.
Health experts said they are isolated and being properly cared for.
You can find more information on Florida's Department of Health website.
7:08 p.m. (March 7)
The Florida Department of Health reported two more presumptive positive cases of COVID-19. One case is in Okaloosa County and the other is in Volusia County.
Health experts said the two had traveled on a river cruise on the Nile River in Egypt from Feb. 4-18.
Everyone who was on that cruise is being asked to self-isolate for 14 days following their return after several passengers tested positive for COVID-19.
4:45 p.m. (March 7)
Vice President Mike Pence says the Trump Administration is asking cruise lines to step up their procedures to prevent coronavirus.
Governor Ron DeSantis said the two people who have died from Florida from COVID-19 were elderly people who had serious underlying medical conditions.
3:22 p.m. (March 7)
The Florida Department of Health reported a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Charlotte County. Health experts said the person is isolated and being appropriately cared for.
That brings the total number of positive Florida cases of COVID-19 to 14.
2:20 p.m. (March 7)
The World Health Organization tweeted that the global number of COVID-19 cases has topped 100,000.
Here in Florida, there have been 13 cases. Two of those people have died.
12:45 p.m. (March 7) Senator Marco Rubio joined a group of senators from other states in sending a letter urging the Department of Health and Human Services to take action to protect the nation's senior citizens against coronavirus.
According to a news release, the push came after confirmation of "community trasmission" of the disease.
You can read the entire letter here:
Dear Secretary Azar:
The novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, alarmingly continues to spread worldwide, and community transmission in the United States is now confirmed. As members of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, we write to highlight the unique health needs of the more than 50 million older adults in the United States in light of the Department’s ongoing efforts to protect Americans from the COVID-19 outbreak.
As we heard this week at the Senate HELP Committee hearing, older adults and individuals with underlying health conditions are particularly susceptible to COVID-19. In addition, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, confirmed in early February, “the data coming out of China continues to say that people who are at higher risk for severe disease and death are those who are older and with underlying health conditions.” According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the COVID-19 case-fatality rate (CFR) among older patients was significantly higher — nearly fifteen percent in patients 80 and older and eight percent in patients 70-79 — than the CFR in the general patient population, which was less than three percent. The overall CFR may continue to fluctuate, but there is no doubt older adults can face a much more difficult prognosis if they are infected with COVID-19.
We are particularly concerned about community spread in the United States, given the fact that older adults abroad have been the most affected by this outbreak in terms of mortality. This is compounded by the developing situation at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington. Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions are at particular risk and may require more attention than others during a surge capacity event such as a COVID-19 outbreak. In recognition of age and health conditions affecting susceptibility, it is important that the Department consider the unique health needs of older Americans in all aspects of the domestic response, from hospital preparedness to the impact of drug shortages to vaccine development.
We look forward to working with the Department to keep all Americans, including our nation’s seniors, healthy.
10:55 a.m. (March 7) Gov. DeSantis directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to activate "level 2." According to a news release, the increase will help the state coordinate its response to the COVID-19 outbreak and provide more support for the Florida Department of Health and county health departments.
9:20 a.m. (March 7) The Florida Health Department announced another case. A person in Lee County has tested "presumptive positive" for COVID-19. According to FDOH, the person is being cared for in isolation.
There are now 13 total cases in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis said two people in the state have died from the virus – an elderly man in Santa Rosa County and another person in Lee County.
6:35 a.m. (March 7) We wanted to make sure you know how to reach the Florida Department of Health in case you have any questions about COVID-19.
Here's the number:
10:23 p.m. (March 6)
Two people who had tested positive for coronavirus in Florida have died, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The Florida Department of Health said the man in Santa Rosa County was dead. Health experts said a man in Lee County who tested presumptively positive was also deceased.
The Florida Department of Health also said there were to presumptive positive cases in Broward County.
6:01 p.m. (March 6)
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System has screenings for coronavirus in place at all facilities. They are asking people to show up 20 minutes before their appointment so there is time for the screenings.
You can find more information on Bay Pines' website.
12:15 p.m (March 6)
There are now four confirmed cases of coronavirus in Florida. Three of the people are residents. One is a non-resident. There are also five Florida cases repatriated.
11 a.m. (March 6)
It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that The City of Miami has issued an official directive requiring that the 22nd edition of Ultra Music Festival, originally scheduled for March 20, 21 and 22, 2020 will be postponed to March 26, 27 and 28, 2021. Due to the Florida Governor’s declaration of a public health emergency and Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s Interim Guidance for COVID-19, it is impossible for the City to provide access to Bayfront Park at this time.
We completely understand how extremely frustrating this is because so many of you are looking forward to coming to Ultra, having already made travel arrangements.
This is, however, an unprecedented issue which is not being taken lightly, and we must continue to defer to the authorities for guidance. Ultimately, there is no higher priority for us than the health, safety and physical well-being of each of you, together with everyone else involved in the production of the event.
We sincerely thank you for your continued loyalty and patience during this difficult time.
All ticket purchasers will be contacted by email on Monday regarding next steps.
3:00 p.m. (March 5): Sarasota Memorial Hospital said its first batch of tests came back negative for COVID-19. The hospital said the testing was on 14 patients with unexplained respiratory illness.
The results of the testing are not considered official until confirmed by the Florida Department of Health and the CDC, the hospital said in a news release.
The hospital said it "continues to treat a high volume of patients presenting with respiratory illness...but does not currently have any presumptive or confirmed cases."
11:45 a.m. (March 5) Gov. DeSantis announced today another "presumptive positive" case – and elderly man in Santa Rosa County, near Pensacola.
According to the Florida Health Department, there are four total cases in the state:
- Two are Florida residents with confirmed cases.
- One non-Florida resident with a confirmed case.
- One Florida resident with a 'presumptive positive' case
- Five Florida residents have tested positive and are in isolation outside the state.
11 p.m. (March 4) Five Florida residents are in isolation out of state until they're healthy after testing positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus), according to the Florida Department of Health.
Health officials updated the department's website Wednesday evening with the latest numbers.
They are in addition to the two confirmed coronavirus cases in Tampa Bay involving Florida residents and one "presumptive positive" case involving a person from California currently in self-isolation in Hillsborough County.
One of the five Florida residents out of state who tested positive for coronavirus was mentioned earlier in the day by Gov. Ron DeSantis. State officials received information from Washington state that a Florida resident tested positive for coronavirus, he said.
10:33 p.m. (March 4) The Ultra Music Festival might not go on as planned later this month because of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.
The Miami Herald reports the popular electronic music event will be postponed for a year, meaning it would be canceled for 2020.
8:17 p.m. (March 4) Publix statement on coronavirus:
"We have spoken with the Florida Department of Health and can share that
Publix is following the CDC guidance for cleaning and sanitation, including increased focus of high-touch points like surfaces, door knobs, phones, and computers.
We already have a heightened disinfection response program that includes our restrooms.
Hand sanitizers with 70% alcohol are available to our associates. In addition to those working in food production departments, this also includes our associates working the registers and providing service to customers on the front end of the store.
We offer Purell cart wipes at the cart corrals inside of our stores for customers to wipe down their shopping carts."
4:35 p.m. (March 4) The Straz Center in Tampa said it is monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and, recently, it has "heightened daily disinfection practices."
No changes to performances have been announced.
The full statement is below:
"The Straz Center is closely monitoring the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). We consider the health and wellbeing of our guests and staff a top priority. As precautionary measures, heightened daily disinfection practices have been implemented for all areas of our campus, and items like hand-sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes are available in all public and office areas.
"Currently, The Straz and Patel Conservatory are continuing with all performances and classes as originally planned, and we will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and local health authorities. We hope that you also follow the science, implement the recommendations of public health agencies and continue to participate in the activities that make our world connected."
3:45 p.m. (March 4) Florida's education commissioner Richard Corcoran and the state's surgeon general Scott Rivkees held a conference call with school superintendents from across the state Wednesday afternoon to answer questions regarding coronavirus.
10News was on the line.
The commissioner reminded everyone that students without underlying health conditions are resilient and are considered at a lower risk for infection than older people.
Florida is taking a dual approach to keep students safe:
- Proactive: Schools are ensuring their buildings and campuses are kept clean and well stocked with necessary cleaning supplies. Students are being reminded to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer.
- Reactive: Students and faculty members are being urged to stay home if they do not feel well. Schools are telling them to call a doctor if they develop symptoms of coronavirus – especially if they recently traveled to a "high-risk" country.
Martin County's superintendent asked if instructional hour requirements would be waved if schools were forced to close for extended periods. The commissioner said yes, citing statutes in place for dealing with hurricanes.
2:44 p.m. (March 4) Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover, has been in contact with the governor's office to address the issue of students returning from study abroad programs.
According to a release, he is supporting emergency supplemental funding for coronavirus containment efforts.
If passed, more than $4 billion will be spent to expand testing, support medical treatments and invest in vaccine development. Some of that money would also help the Food and Drug Administration "protect the integrity of medical products manufactured overseas and identify and prevent potential shortages."
About $2.2 billion would go to directly to the Centers for Disease Control, including nearly $1 billion for state and local response efforts and $300 million for rapid response.
The bill also calls for $1.25 billion to help protect Americans abroad, including $264 million for evacuations and $200 million for USAID's Emergency Response Fund.
Roughly $20 million would be used to fund disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
2:37 p.m. (March 4) 10Investigates' Courtney Robinson confirmed there are seven University of South Florida students returning from Italy, and two are coming back from Japan.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers both countries high-risk for COVID-19 transmission, so USF said the students will be asked to self-isolate off campus for 14 days.
The school will work to help make arrangements for students who do not have alternative housing options. USF says it is already reimbursing one student for a 14-day hotel stay.
12:39 p.m. (March 4) Gov. Ron DeSantis' office told 10News they have been in communication with the Trump administration. They discussed concerns about people with coronavirus who are not showing any symptoms flying into the state.