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Coronavirus in Florida latest: Cases pass 42,000, another evacuation at Pinellas nursing home

Here’s what you need to know for Thursday, May 14.
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the 2019 novel coronavirus.
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the 2019 novel coronavirus. [ AP ]
Published May 14, 2020
Updated May 14, 2020

Confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus in Florida surpassed 42,000 Wednesday, as the state added 479 cases and recorded 49 deaths. The state’s death toll neared 1,900.

More removed from Pinellas Park nursing home

The COVID-19 outbreak at Gulf Shore Care Center in Pinellas Park continued to worsen Wednesday night as paramedics started moving 21 more nursing home residents who tested positive to local hospitals. By 11:30 p.m. paramedics in yellow suits and masks were still transporting patients. There were 28 confirmed cases at the facility as of Wednesday.

Meantime, three more residents of Pinellas County long-term care facilities have died of COVID-19, according to medical examiner reports released Wednesday. That brings the total number of lives lost to the disease in Pinellas nursing homes and assisted living facilities to 44.

Governor rejects mandatory testing at elder care homes

The White House coronavirus task force has urged that all residents and staff of elder care facilities be tested over a two-week period, but Gov. Ron DeSantis indicated Wednesday that Florida’s government won’t be doing that. Unlike other states, which have mandated diagnostic coronavirus tests of all residents and staff at homes with frail elders, DeSantis has relied on a voluntary approach.

Bradenton woman’s COVID-19 case almost missed

A resident at the Braden River Rehabilitation Center in Bradenton died of COVID-19, but the cause was almost overlooked. The case raises a question. How many other other nursing home COVID-19 deaths are hiding in plain sight, never reviewed by a medical examiner? Read more about the case of Patricia “Pat” Schafer here.

Elections officials fret over lack of support

Local election officials across Florida preparing for one of the most divisive elections in the nation’s history say state officials are providing little support to help them brace for the added challenge of protecting voters in a global pandemic. A chief concern is whether the state will take $20 million in federal funds awarded to protect the 2020 elections in the state.

Track how Florida’s economy is faring

Florida has proved particularly vulnerable to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. As the economy begins to slowly reopen, the Tampa Bay Times is tracking key indicators in the state to help illustrate the scope of economic damage and monitor how different parts of the economy recover. See the latest data here.

Reproductive health care providers adapt

Reproductive health care providers have had to adapt to continue to safely offer services to women. Planned Parenthood accelerated its plans to create an online health center, for example.

Floridians favor mask requirement, other steps

An April survey of Floridians by the University of South Florida and Nielsen found that most still see the coronavirus as a threat and wish for statewide mitigation policies, like requiring masks. Read more about the results in this story.

Teachers get credential extension

Since the state closed many operations because of COVID-19, a number of Florida teachers have struggled to finish the work needed to keep their professional credentials up to date. Calling the issue “critical,” Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran on Wednesday suspended the expiration of all certifications, along with training endorsements, through the end of 2020.

Grand Prix of St. Petersburg rescheduled for October

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is slated to go on after all this year. Race organizers announced Wednesday that the annual event has been rescheduled for Oct. 23-25. Instead of its traditional place as the IndyCar Series’ season opener, the Grand Prix will serve as its championship race — hopefully with fans in attendance.

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