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Coronavirus in Florida latest: Cases pass 46,000 as gyms reopen, universities to open in fall

Here’s what you need to know for Tuesday, May 19.
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 19, 2020

Florida’s death toll from the novel coronavirus rose by 24 on Monday, including the addition of four deaths in the Tampa Bay region.

Eight more residents of elder care facilities in Pinellas and Pasco counties have died from COVID-19, according to recently released medical examiner reports. At least 83 residents of long-term care facilities in the two counties have died from the virus, record show.

State universities to reopen in fall

Florida’s public university campuses will reopen in the fall, state higher education leaders announced Monday. Some specifics will be discussed May 28 at the State University System’s Board of Governors meeting, where a task force will present guidelines for reopening. Campuses have been largely closed since mid-March when the Board of Governors directed schools to move to online classes as the coronavirus began to spread.

$2 billion in unemployment benefits could be better

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday touted a big figure for the amount in state and federal unemployment benefits that have gone out: $2 billion. That’s a lot of money, but many states have paid out a lot more.

Cruise ship crews trapped

Two months after the cruise industry shut down amid repeated COVID-19 outbreaks on ships, more than 100,000 crew members remain trapped at sea between Miami and Cuba with little reliable information about what will happen to them. At least 578 crew members contracted COVID-19 at sea and seven have died. More here.

Gyms reopen with new protocols

Tampa Bay area gyms large and small reopened Monday weeks after they were shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Happy gym-goers found new protocols in place to try to keep them safe.

Others are opting for outdoor workouts to keep fit instead of going inside a gym.

Funeral honors on hold

A directive to postpone traditional military funeral honors as a safety measure against the spread of COVID-19 has created a backlog. Some families are waiting it out, while others are making other plans.

Keys to reopen

The Florida Keys will reopen to tourists June 1 by removing the checkpoints at the entrances to the island chain and allowing hotels to reopen at 50 percent occupancy, Monroe County leaders announced Sunday. The plan is contingent on the number of coronavirus cases, though.

Some distressed at mask requirements

Some businesses that have reopened are requiring patrons to wear masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, upsetting some who see the mandate as an infringement on their personal freedom. Others don’t understand what’s so hard about taking a simple measure to reduce the chance of unknowingly infecting people.

Coronavirus in Florida podcast

In the latest episode of the Coronavirus in Florida podcast, two St. Petersburg hairstylists talk about the state’s decision to reopen salons and barbershops. One was ready to reopen, the other wasn’t, but they both agree the state overlooked their industry and failed to provide guidance.

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