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Coronavirus in Florida latest: Deaths pass 2,200, test trouble, St. Pete Pride canceled

Here’s what you need to know for Friday, May 22.
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 22, 2020

Florida added 49 fatalities to the state’s novel coronavirus death toll on Thursday, including seven in the Tampa Bay region, bringing the state’s total death county to 2,222. Nursing home deaths reached a grim milestone, passing 1,000.

More trouble with tests

More than 1,700 COVID-19 tests administered to people in Florida were damaged in transit during the month of May, the Florida Division of Emergency Management announced Wednesday. That brings to nearly 35,000 the number of tests administered in Florida to face complications recently.

St. Pete Pride canceled

St. Pete Pride announced Thursday it has canceled its 2020 celebration because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move comes a month after the organization announced it would postpone the June celebration — billed as the largest pride event in Florida — until the fall. But organizers said lingering uncertainty required them to call off the event.

Unproven drug tested in Tampa Bay

Physicians and scientists in Tampa Bay are among many across the globe still studying the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine as a tool to treat or prevent COVID-19. The efforts include a drug trial soon to be underway at the University of South Florida, and a push at Tampa General Hospital to see how the medication works when tested on health care workers. More on the local efforts here.

Gas prices jump as state reopens

Gas prices are on the rise again as Florida begins to reopen and more people take to the road, increasing demand. Find out how much the prices have jumped across the country and in Tampa Bay in this story.

Advocates worry as child abuse reports plummet

The number of child abuse reports across Florida in April plummeted to about 19,000, a 40 percent drop compared to the same month last year. The drop has advocates worried that the closure of schools has left children more isolated and at risk of harm.

Vacation rental reopening set for approval in Hillsborough

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said Thursday he anticipates the state will approve the county’s plan to reopen vacation rentals. The news comes a day after the state green-lighted Pinellas County’s plan.

Hillsborough tattoo and body piercing businesses plead for relief

Hillsborough County tattoo and body piercing shop owners and their employees are pleading for relief after their businesses were left out of last week’s executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis that allowed salons, barber shops and massage parlors to reopen. Pinellas and Hernando counties have allowed tattoo and body piercing businesses to reopen, but Hillsborough officials — like those in most of Florida — say their hands are tied.

Tale of two Bayshores

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Thursday shut down Bayshore Drive NE at the edge of downtown so residents would have more room to exercise after staying at home for two months. Meantime, across the bay in Tampa, Mayor Jane Castor’s administration balked at a City Council request to consider shutting down the waterside lanes of its more heavily-trafficked Bayshore Boulevard. Read more on this tale of two Bayshores here.

Chambers of commerce struggle

Tampa Bay chambers of commerce are feeling the same economic hit from the COVID-19 crisis as the businesses they support. Many of the not-for-profit organizations are hurting financially as membership dwindles and fundraising events are put on hold.

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