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TreasureCoast Covid-19 Update April 23 2020

TreasureCoast Covid-19 Update April 23 2020

TreasureCoast Covid-19 Update April 23 2020

Beach Update

Bay County will open the beaches in unincorporated parts of the county on April 24, from 6-9 a.m. and then 5-8 p.m.

In Brevard County , Cocoa Beach officials are allowing locals to sunbathe and sit in chairs on beaches, as long as people practice social distancing and don’t gather in groups of more than five people, according to WESH.

Charlotte County announced that it will reopen Englewood Beach and Port Charlotte Beach from April 27 with regularly scheduled hours, pending coordination with Sarasota County.

According to Orlando Weekly, Dixie County beaches have remained open throughout the shelter-in-place order.

The beaches and parks in Duval County reopened on April 17 evening for walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets, and surfing, with the condition that people practice social distancing.

Flagler County is reopening its beaches temporarily today, depending on how the public follow social distancing guidelines. The beaches will open for walking, biking, surfing, and fishing, but not congregating. The city of Flagler Beach will from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. every day and the unincorporated areas will be open from 7-10 a.m. and from 6-8 p.m.

Gulf County opened its beaches on April 21, and the beaches will be open from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. and then 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. No activities are prohibited.

Levy County’s Cedar Key beaches are open to residents and those with reservations.

Monroe County never closed its beaches. However, unincorporated Monroe has few beaches people visit, and all municipalities in the Keys, including Key West, Marathon, and Islamorada, have closed their beaches. State parks with beaches, including John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, are closed.

Okaloosa County will open its beaches on May 1 from 6.30-9 a.m. and then 4.30-7 p.m.

St. Johns County reopened its beaches on April 18, and they are open from 6 a.m. until noon, every day of the week.

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Florida is reporting another 60 deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the statewide toll to 927. The number of cases now exceeds 28-thousand-500. More than half remain centered in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

TreasureCoast Covid-19 Update April 23 2020
TreasureCoast Covid-19 Update April 23 2020

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The “Reopen Florida” task force continues to discuss recommendations they will reveal to Governor Ron DeSantis tomorrow. Attorney General Ashley Moody says the plans must be methodical, practical and standard for all businesses.

Moody says there needs to be a plan to cover how far employees need to distance themselves from one another, what protective gear would be required as well as how to report a positive COVID-19 case. 

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Floridians seem wary of loosening social-distancing guidelines by the end of the month. A new University poll released Wednesday found that 72% of Florida voters should not loosen the social-distancing guidelines before May, while 22% disagreed.  As states face decisions on when to reopen, Florida voters say 72 – 22 percent that Florida should NOT loosen social distancing rules by the end of April, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. About three quarters of registered voters, 76 percent, say that the state’s economy should only reopen when public health officials deem it safe, compared to 17 percent who say it should reopen even if public health officials warn against it.

“The state’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire at the end of the month of April, but nearly three quarters of Floridians are not ready to drop their guard,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.

Florida voters also do not expect the coronavirus crisis to end quickly:

  • 49 percent expect the crisis to last a few months;
  • 26 percent expect the crisis to last more than a year;
  • 18 percent expect the crisis to last a few weeks.

GOVERNOR DESANTIS AND THE CORONAVIRUS

Half of Florida voters, 50 – 41 percent, approve of the way Governor Ron DeSantis is handling the coronavirus response, with wide partisan gaps. Republicans approve 81 – 14 percent, Democrats disapprove 64 – 28 percent, and independents are split with 45 percent approving and 45 percent disapproving. The governor’s overall job approval is a positive 53 – 33 percent rating.

Still, about six out of ten voters, 61 percent, say Governor DeSantis could have responded sooner to the coronavirus outbreak while 34 percent say he responded quickly enough. And voters disapprove 52 – 43 percent of his decision to exempt religious services from Florida’s stay-at-home order.

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A 19-year-old St. Lucie West Centennial High School student who has been hospitalized battling complications from the coronavirus will be discharged from the hospital on Thursday, according to a teacher’s post on the Student Perk Facebook page.

“Jose is being DISCHARGED tomorrow!!!!! This is nothing short of miraculous. He called me, and you would never know what this sweet boy has been through by the sound of his voice. His case worker is wanting his family and loved ones to meet him at the doors of Lawnwood Medical Hospital as he leaves to go HOME. So if that is you, I will see you near the doors tomorrow at 11. It’s hard to verbalize the joy that I feel after such a battle.

On April 13, Jose’s mother, Rosy, said, that her son had been transferred from the Cleveland Clinic Tradition Hospital in Port St. Lucie to Lawnwood Medical Center Hospital in Fort Pierce, where he was placed on a ventilator. Rosy said her son, and the mother of a woman who lives with them in Port St. Lucie, were all diagnosed with the coronavirus. Rosy was also hospitalized and she is now recovering at home. Jose has been one of a number of special needs students in St. Lucie County taking part in the Student Perks job training program.

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At President Donald Trump’s coronavirus news conference on Wednesday, he ostracized the Washington Post and other media outlets for “misquoting” CDC head Dr. Robert Redfield about a potential second wave of the coronavirus. But at the very same news conference, Dr. Redfield told reporters that he was not misquoted, and he added if a second wave of a coronavirus comes concurrently with the annual rise in the flu, the coronavirus would be “more difficult.”

On Tuesday, Dr. Redfield was quoted by the Washington Post in Tuesday’s report “CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating” saying, “There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through.” He added, “We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.”

Dr. Redfield subsequently retweeted the Post’s report on his Twitter page.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that Dr. Redfield was misquoted, a claim Trump repeated at the start of Wednesday’s news conference.

“Dr. Robert Redfield was totally misquoted in the media about the fall season and the virus,” Trump said. “Totally misquoted. I spoke to him and he said it was ridiculous. He was talking about the flu and coronavirus coming together at the at the same time. And we will knock it out. We’ll knock it out fast. That’s what he was referring to.”

Dr. Redfield was then asked if he was accurately quoted in the Post, which he responded, “I was accurately quoted in the “Washington Post.”

Trump then addressed a potential second wave of the virus, which he says may or may not happen.

“If it comes back, it won’t be coming back in the form that it was, it will be coming back in smaller doses that we contain,”Trump said. “What (Dr. Redfield) was saying, he was saying if it should come back, now you have the flu and the embers of corona. It cannot be anything like anything we have seen right now. What we have just gone through, we will not gone through.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health and the White House’s infectious disease expert, said scientists and doctors cannot predict the scope of a second wave, but added “there will be coronavirus in the fall.”

Dr. Fauci agreed that a combination of flu and coronavirus cases would make the response to the virus more complicated. Dr. Fauci also agreed with Trump’s assertion that the US will be better prepared to mitigate cases during a potential second wave in the fall.

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While the pandemic has slowed life for many, it’s given some areas a chance to pick up the pace. In Port St. Lucie, some road problems are finally getting smoothed over.

Daily traffic counts on the Crosstown Parkway in Port St. Lucie are down 50%. Assistant City Public Works Director Heath Stocton says with fewer cars on the road, now is the perfect time to take advantage. Two sections of the Torino Parkway are under construction, spurred by less traffic, and the passage of a half-cent sales tax. Work at Torino Parkway and Cashmere Boulevard started on Monday. That roundabout should be complete May 1. The other roundabout at the intersection of Torino Parkway and California Boulevard is expected to be finished a couple of weeks after that.

“Starting on Monday May 4th, the intersection at Torino and California will be completely shut down. It should be complete about May 15, two months ahead of schedule,” Stocton says. Northbound Cashmere and California Boulevard used to end at “T” intersections with stop signs at Torino Parkway. The city says roundabouts will make things safer. Finishing the projects sooner also will save the city about $50,000 on this $1.4 million project.

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On Monday, Trump signaled that he would limit all immigration into the United States amid the spread of COVID-19. On Wednesday, Trump put the executive order into effect, which cuts off access to green cards for those currently outside of the U.S.

Some exemptions were made in the order, notably, for medical and other essential workers to combat the outbreak, spouses and minor children of American citizens, and certain others.

Part of the reasoning behind the restriction is economic, as 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last month.

“By pausing immigration, we’ll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens,” Trump said on Tuesday. “So important. It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad. We must first take care of the American worker — take care of the American worker.”

The immigration order drew criticism from Trump’s likely opponent in this year’s presidential election Joe Biden.

“Rather than execute a swift and aggressive effort to ramp up testing, Donald Trump is tweeting incendiary rhetoric about immigrants in the hopes that he can distract everyone from the core truth: he’s moved too slowly to contain this virus, and we are all paying the price for it,” Biden said before details of the order were known.

Trump added that a restriction on immigration could also help healthcare capacity from being overwhelmed.

“This pause on new immigration will also help to conserve vital medical resources for American citizens. A short break from new immigration, depending on the time we’re talking about, will protect the solvency of our healthcare system and provide relief to jobless Americans,” Trump said.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the latest on the coronavirus in Florida and took a shot at both China and the World Health Organization.

The governor spoke at the capitol in Tallahassee just before 5 p.m.

DeSantis said Wednesday he has been encouraged with the leveling off of cases in the state.

He took offense to some of the criticism that Jacksonville has taken for opening up beaches on Friday. He complimented the officials in Duval County for their response to the coronavirus.

DeSantis said around 18,000 more coronavirus tests will be processed after a new lab contract. The governor also called out the World Health Organization and China, questioning their response to the virus.

“This World Health Organization, I think the president is right on that. They were basically parroting China talking points. The World Health Organization in January, after what we saw was going on, said there was no evidence, that the coronavirus was transmissible person-to-person,” said DeSantis.

DeSantis said he would encourage companies that make life-saving medical equipment to move manufacturing operations out of China to the U.S. and “Florida would be a great place to do it.”

On Tuesday, Missouri announced they are suing China over the impacts of the coronavirus, saying the country did ‘little to stop the spread of the disease.” DeSantis said Wednesday he wants to see “if Florida can be involved in that.”

As of Wednesday evening, there have been 28,576 confirmed cases in the state with 927 deaths.

Palm Beach County has 2,348 cases, which is the third most of any county in Florida.

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The University of Washington’s IHME model provided an update late Tuesday on when states should lift so-called “stay-at-home” orders and other intense social distancing guidelines intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The majority of states should continue intense mitigation efforts past May 15 in 41 of 50 states, and past June 1 in 20 states, the model says.

Only nine states, the model projects, should ease restrictions on or before May 15: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Vermont and West Virginia. The IHME’s guidelines call for a threshold of one prevalent case per 1 million residents. IHME Director Christopher Murray said state governors should be careful not to reopen states too early.

One state that has drawn particular attention is Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp is allowing many businesses where social distancing might be a challenge to reopen on May 1. Businesses such as bowling alleys, dine-in restaurants and movie theaters will be permitted to reopen next week. The IHME model suggests Georgia should wait until June 19 in order to minimize cases there.

But governors have been weighing the economic impact of business closures against the risk of reopening too soon. In the last month, 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment.

There has also been intense political pressure to reopen, especially on governors in red states, as President Donald Trump has pushed governors to lift orders in the wake of sour economic conditions.

But even as Trump has pushed for aspects of the economy to reopen, Trump thinks Kemp moved too far with allowing places such as barbershops and bowling alleys to reopen.

“The people of Georgia … have been strong, resolute, but at the same time he must do what he thinks is right,” Trump said of Kemp. “I want him to do what he thinks is right. But I disagree with him on what he’s doing.

The IHME model update also indicated a slight uptick in the projected death toll from COVID-19 related deaths from around 60,000 to 66,000 through mid-summer in the US. The model had seen a general decline in the estimated number of coronavirus-related deaths in recent weeks.

The IHME’s death toll projection assumes states will follow its mitigation recommendation.

The IHME model has been cited by members of the White House coronavirus task force and has been used to assist the task force’s recommendations on social distancing.

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