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First Coast Connect

New COVID Strain; Student Mental Health; Pacemakers Affected By Smartphones

Matt Slocum
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is pictured.

A new and more infectious strain of COVID 19 is spreading through the state with one confirmed case in Duval County.

Chad Neilsen, Director of Accreditation and Infection Prevention,UF Health Jax joined us with the latest information on the variant and what we can do to help protect ourselves and others from it.

New Vaccination Sites

Floridians over age 65 can now get their COVID-19 vaccines at select Winn Dixie and Harveys stores. Shawn Sloan, North Florida Regional Vice President for Southeastern Grocers, the chains’ parent company, discussed the new program with us. 

Student Mental Health

Young people are reporting higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts during this pandemic. LaShantah Holliday of Scholar Metrix in Jacksonville, has been working with kids who are struggling in these times, and joined us with some advice for parents.

Pacemakers Affected By Smartphones

According to a recent letter to the editor published by the Heart Rhythm Society, some of the latest smartphones are designed with a magnet to allow them to wirelessly charge their batteries. That same magnet could also interact with heart defibrillators or pacemakers when at a close range.

Dr. Nicolas Mandalakas, a Cardiac Electrophysiologist from Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, joined us with more information.

Michael Gonzalez can be reached at

First Coast Connect first coast connect
Michael Gonzalez is joining WJCT News as a spring intern from Jacksonville University.