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Coronavirus in Florida latest: 33 deaths, unemployment money delay, more cases for law enforcement

Here’s what you need to know for Tuesday, April 7.
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP) [ AP ]
Published Apr. 7, 2020

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida continues to climb, with nearly 1,280 cases added in the past 24 hours and nearly 70 cases in the Tampa Bay area. At least 33 people have died statewide.

Weeks to wait for unemployment money

Florida officials say they made huge improvements to the unemployment system over the weekend, but the state still faces a massive backlog of applications that will likely require Floridians wait weeks before seeing any money.

We continue to update our Q&A piece on unemployment benefits as the situation develops. And here are stories from people who reached out to the Tampa Bay Times about how the state’s negligence has left them on a financial tightrope.

Flu test data halted

The Florida Department of Health quietly decided to stop posting positive flu test data in its weekly reports, a move that experts said could obscure the pandemic’s true impact on the state.

More cases for local law enforcement

The virus continues to infiltrate the ranks of local law enforcement.

The St. Petersburg Police Department reported its first positive test for COVID-19 in one of its sworn officers.

The Tampa Police Department confirmed a second officer there has tested positive.

And late Monday, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office reported that three of its deputies had been exposed after performing CPR Sunday on a Thonotosassa man who later tested positive for COVID-19. The three deputies will be quarantined for 14 days and monitored for symptoms.

More cases in state prison, immigration detention center

Four inmates at a Northwest Florida prison have tested positive for COVID-19, doubling the tally of confirmed cases within the facility’s inmate population in 24 hours.

And two employees who work at the Krome detention center, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility that houses immigration detainees in Miami-Dade, tested positive, officials confirmed.

Dunedin Publix worker positive

A third Pinellas County Publix employee has tested positive for coronavirus, this one at the 1491 Main St. store in Dunedin.

Court proceedings delayed until May

The Florida Supreme Court’s Chief Justice has further postponed all jury trials and other court matters, now delaying proceedings through the end of May.

Hillsborough to governor: Prevent rent increases

Hillsborough county officials have agreed to send a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis asking him look into what can be done about rent increases when residents have lost jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Others on the front lines

Primary and urgent care doctors, who tend to be closer to their patients and can spare them an unnecessary trip to the emergency room, say they also have a vital role on the front lines of the crisis.

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Last days of Pasco’s first victim

Rosemarie Gabriele told her daughter she wouldn’t live if she contracted COVID-19, but she didn’t think she would get it. She did.

Here’s an account of her last days.

Coronavirus in Florida podcast: Pandemic planning breakdown

For our Coronavirus in Florida podcast, host Allison Graves talked to Times political editor Steve Contorno about his investigation with Times staff writer Neil Bedi into how Florida officials prepared for a pandemic in 2005, then cut the state’s ability to respond over the years.

• • •

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