On Thursday, Commissioner for the Kentucky Department for Public Health Dr. Steven Stack and Gov. Andy Beshear recommended that teachers, staff and students wear masks when they return to school next month.

Stack said the new recommendations mirror the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance.  

“Everyone in the K-12 setting in indoor spaces should wear a mask period,” he said. “If you are in the school setting, in a K-12 setting and you are indoors, you should all wear a mask.”


Businesses and government agencies are moving to require proof of vaccination as the Delta variant surges in on the First Coast and around the country. 

Funeral To Be Held Saturday For UF Health CEO Leon Haley Jr.

Jul 29, 2021

A funeral service will be held Saturday in Pennsylvania for Leon Haley Jr., the UF Health Jacksonville chief executive officer who died over the weekend in a personal watercraft accident in South Florida.

Vanessa Arroyo receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot.
News Service of Florida

Thursday the Biden Administration is expected to announce new vaccination requirements for federal employees and contractors.

Each week First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross hosts a live video stream on this page of the Friday Media Roundtable, where Jacksonville journalists discuss the biggest stories of the week.

Greater Jacksonville Leads Florida, Nation In COVID Resurgence

Jul 29, 2021
Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

Nassau County has the highest rate of COVID-19 cases per capita of any large metropolitan county in the United States, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by WJCT News partner News4Jax.


On Wednesday Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton spoke at the Hope Center in Lexington. The nonprofit helps people with substance use disorder and anyone experiencing homelessness.

The Hope Center is open 365 days a year and has never closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s the largest shelter in central Kentucky. The nonprofit also assists with transitional and permanent housing.    

Via Jacksonville Daily Record

Huey Magoo’s Chicken Tenders franchisees are working on three locations in Jacksonville and two in St. Johns County, with plans for more.

John Raoux / Associated Press file photo

In a campaign email this week from the Friends of Ron DeSantis political action committee, Gov. DeSantis called for the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor to be fired and investigated.

Across the First Coast, ICUs are overwhelmed with patients admitting with COVID-19, a large number of them unvaccinated. This week, the Jacksonville Civic Council (JCC) launched a new campaign called Get the Facts Jax aimed at increasing the city’s vaccination rate.


The University of North Florida is offering free COVID-19 vaccinations on campus through this Friday, July 30.

IMPD: FedEx Shooter Motivated By Suicide, Not Bias

Jul 28, 2021

Public safety officials announced Wednesday that the man who carried out a mass shooting this spring at an Indianapolis FedEx facility was motivated by suicide, not racial bias.

The "Bar" Will Soon be Open for Ohio River Boaters

Jul 28, 2021

According to the Corps of Engineers Louisville district office, half a dozen barges, tugs and dredging vessels set up just south of the downtown area on the Ohio River Wednesday.

A Notice to Navigation filed for the project says the crews will be dredging 24 hours a day, with completion set for next Monday, August 2nd.

This rendering illustrates The Hendricks at San Marco apartments that is scheduled to be built on part of the current South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church campus.
Group 4 Design, Inc. / Via Jacksonville Daily Record

Parts of the South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church campus could soon be removed as buyers of the property prepare to build the 133-unit The Hendricks at San Marco apartments.

Jax City Council Votes To Keep Duval County Property Tax Millage Rate Unchanged

Jul 28, 2021

The Jacksonville City Council voted 12-4 on July 27 to keep Duval County’s property tax millage tax rate unchanged for another year despite some members calling for it to be reduced.

WJCT News partner the Jacksonville Daily Record reports the rate in Mayor Lenny Curry’s proposed $1.41 billion 2021-22 fiscal year city operating budget will remain at $11.4419 per $1,000 of taxable property value.


Amid the wave of coronavirus infections, Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) said Wednesday that at least 1,400 students have enrolled in optional virtual learning ahead of the August 10th start to the new school year. 

Orange Park Medical Center

As the coronavirus surge continues in Northeast Florida, hospitals in Clay County  — where the vaccination rate is just 33%  — are getting slammed. 

In-State College Tuition Program To Help Grandparents Lure Grandkids To Florida

Jul 28, 2021
Fresh Take Florida

Next year, out-of-state college students could be eligible to attend Florida’s public universities at the same cost as in-state residents – if they have a grandparent living in the state. 

The CDC Updated Its COVID-19 Guidance. Here's What You Need To Know

Jul 28, 2021

By Lindsey Erdody and Christine Herman

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday reversed course on its mask guidance, once again suggesting all individuals wear masks indoors in areas where COVID-19 cases are surging.

Here’s what else we learned from the CDC’s Director Rochelle Walensky:

A Moment in Kentucky History: Patricia Neal

Jul 28, 2021

WEKU and Kentucky Humanities Present: Think History, a look at Kentucky's historical moments. Credit Kentucky Humanities/

Think History is our daily segment from Kentucky Humanities. Today, Bill Goodman tells us about​ Patricia Neal.

Some Florida Health Care Workers Are Facing Vaccine Requirements

Jul 27, 2021
News Service of Florida

As coronavirus infections spike because of the delta variant, workers at one major hospital, some doctors’ offices and veterans’ health-care facilities across Florida will face COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

DeSantis, Allies Discuss Opposition To Masks In Schools

Jul 27, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis quietly held a roundtable discussion Monday at the Capitol that focused on opposition to mask mandates in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, with DeSantis’ office not giving prior public notice and excluding reporters.

Naval Air Station Jacksonville

Make sure you’ve got your face mask when you head to Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

Hilltop Village Apartments in February 2019.
Bob Self / The Florida Times-Union

Mayor Lenny Curry’s administration said Monday it is “re-evaluating” its support of a company that has ownership and management ties to the troubled Hilltop Village Apartments. 

Photo of students in class wearing masks
LM Otero / Associated Press

Classes begin in less than two weeks in Duval County amid rapid shifts in the coronavirus pandemic and the response from local, state and federal governments. 

Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has again been ranked the No. 1 Best Hospital nationwide by U.S. News & World Report in its 2021-2022 Best Hospitals rankings for the sixth consecutive year.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis Transition Team

Two Jacksonville women are continuing their lawsuit against the state of Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis over a 2019 law restricting some residents with felony convictions from voting after those rights had been restored by a state constitutional amendment.

A Zoom court proceeding is pictured in this April 2020 file photo.
Ed White / Associated Press

As COVID-19 cases surge in Florida, a lawyers’ group is urging the state to return to virtual court hearings.

File photo of an individual being tested for COVID in Florida.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Across the First Coast there is a high demand for COVID tests, as people try to find out if they are positive with the rapidly spreading Delta variant of the virus.  


The hunt for fast chargers will soon be getting easier for non-Tesla electric vehicle drivers.