LM Otero / Associated Press

Parents in Duval County Public Schools now must send kids to school in masks unless they opt out, after the School Board voted Tuesday night.

Bestbet, which operates cardrooms and simulcast wagering in Jacksonville and Orange Park, announced Wednesday it is requiring all employees to be vaccinated to guard against the delta variant of coronavirus. 

Biden Says COVID Decisions Made By DeSantis Are 'Bad Health Policy'

4 hours ago
Susan Walsh / Associated Press

President Joe Biden is criticizing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ approach to the COVID-19 pandemic as “bad health policy.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state does not plan on reopening coronavirus testing sites despite a surge in cases.

These large state-supported sites at locations such as Raymond James Stadium and Tropicana Field shut down this spring as demand for testing waned. But things have changed as cases in the state reach record levels.

Speaking in Sarasota on Tuesday, DeSantis said he's leaving it to local governments to decide whether to reopen their own sites.

Florida COVID-19 Hospital Rate Tops Nation

5 hours ago

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida leads the nation in the percentage of inpatient hospital beds occupied by people with COVID-19, according to data posted Tuesday by the federal government.

As of Monday, 11,863 inpatient beds in Florida were being used by COVID-19 patients, about 22 percent of all inpatient beds in the state, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data show. No other state had as high of a utilization rate.

As of Monday afternoon, about 70 patients were receiving coronavirus care with Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare. That’s double the number of patients the hospital’s COVID wing was designed to handle.

“We’ve now exceeded the capacity of our original wing," said Ryan Smith, Chief Clinical Officer at TMH. "We’re creating an additional floor that would take the lower acuity COVID patients that are more stable and then the traditional COVID wing we have used will be the medium level of care for these COVID patients."

Baptist Medical Center Beaches in Jacksonville Beach is pictured.
Via Jacksonville Daily Record

Baptist Health in Jacksonville announced Tuesday it is joining a growing list of organizations that will require full vaccinations for its employees.

Florida Hospitals Seeing 'Dramatic' COVID Increase 'Attacking A Younger Population'

Aug 3, 2021

The number of people hospitalized in Florida because of COVID-19 is continuing at a record pace, according to the Florida Hospital Association.

A leading education lawyer said Monday that Governor Ron DeSantis’s executive order banning school districts from requiring masks appears to violate the state constitution, and will likely lead to legal challenges as Florida schools prepare to open next week amid a surge in cases of coronavirus.

Hospitals around the country need more nurses, including here in Florida, which has the most per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the country and spiking COVID-19 numbers.

Norwegian Epic cruise ship from Norwegian Cruise Line is pictured in Miami.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and the state are battling about which court should hear a challenge to the state’s ban on so-called “vaccine passports,” with the cruise operator fighting an attempt to move the case out of South Florida.


A petition drive is underway in an attempt to get the St. Johns County school board to require everyone to wear face masks in school buildings for the fall semester.

Danny Karnik / Associated Press

The Georgia Department of Health is offering free vaccinations and testing in Camden County this week to try and slow the "unprecedented" surge of COVID-19 in the area.

Mayo Clinic In Jacksonville Exceeds Capacity Due To COVID-19 Surge

Aug 2, 2021
The service entrance to Mayo Clinic's west campus is Jacksonville is pictured.

Mayo Clinic in Florida has exceeded the Jacksonville hospital’s capacity of 304 licensed beds due to a “significant increase” in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to an email from Mayo Clinic.

Florida’s latest surge in COVID-19 cases, fueled by the super-contagious Delta variant, is prompting local governments to reconsider their mask policies.


Hospital admissions of coronavirus patients continue to soar in Florida with at least two areas in the state surpassing previous peaks reached during last summer’s surge.

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.

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.

Disney World To Require Indoor Masks For All Guests

Jul 29, 2021

Starting July 30, all visitors to Walt Disney World will once again be required to wear masks while indoors.

This includes guests who have already received a coronavirus vaccine.

The theme park issued a statement on Thursday to announce the changes.

Some nursing homes are seeing a rise in coronavirus cases among staff and residents as COVID-19 surges in Florida and vaccination rates lag. This is leading to some changes in operations.

Masks will be mandatory in Broward County public schools when students and teachers return to classrooms next month, according to a Wednesday decision from the school board that sets up a potential conflict with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

In an email to WLRN, a spokesperson for DeSantis doubled down on the governor's recent threat to call a special legislative session to stop any school district from imposing mask mandates.

“The Governor’s position on this has not changed,” wrote DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw in the email.

Leon Mandates Vaccines For County Employees

Jul 29, 2021

Leon County is requiring all its employees to get vaccinated or be fired. The county announced the move late Wednesday evening in a statement.

County Administrator Vince Long says he's not concerned about blowback from Gov. Ron DeSantis' office. The governor has resisted vaccine mandates.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is urging residents to get a coronavirus vaccine with cases on the rise across the greater Tampa Bay region — especially with younger patients.

Castor stressed the need to get a vaccine in a video released Wednesday.

"You have a responsibility to get a vaccine not only for yourself, but for your family and the rest of the community," Castor said.


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

The presidents of Florida’s 14 state universities — including the University of South Florida — wrote an open letter Tuesday urging students to be vaccinated before returning to campus.

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.

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.


Mayor Lenny Curry has announced that the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department is helping Clay County with emergency runs.