As cases of coronavirus continue to pop-up on cruise ships, the U.S. State Department is urging travelers - especially those with underlying medical conditions - to stay ashore.

But as passengers at the Port of Tampa embarked on their vacations Monday, the only visible sign of concerns about COVID-19 came from a bachelorette party debating the best brand of hand sanitizer.

With 18 cases confirmed in Florida, COVID-19 is beginning to impact major events statewide. Miami cancelled the Ultra Music Festival in response and other large gatherings are also being scrapped.

Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

Governor Ron DeSantis signed a state of emergency declaration for the state of Florida in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Florida health officials are now urging people who have traveled internationally to follow the new CDC guidelines when it comes to self-isolation to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

JTA First Coast Flyer bus

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is taking precautions on its buses and Skyway cars as the coronavirus spreads in the state.

House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes
News Service of Florida

As the stock marketed plummeted Monday morning, House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, indicated that fears about the novel coronavirus could affect the ongoing negotiations about a new state budget.

Publix Limiting How Much Soap, Sanitizer Shoppers Can Buy

Mar 9, 2020
Picture of Publix sign limiting purchase of soaps & sanitizers.

Publix Super Markets began limiting how much soap and hand sanitizer shoppers can purchase due to a spike in demand.

An infection Control Protocol poster sits on a nursing station desk at the Palm Garden of Tampa Health and Rehabilitation Center
Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

With nine Florida-related coronavirus cases at last report, concern is growing about the spread of the disease but testing isn’t widely available at this point.

Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

There have been no documented cases of COVID-19 in St. Johns County but officials are preparing for the possibility.

The Florida Department of Health has set up a free, statewide hotline for residents to call with questions and concerns about the coronavirus.

Florida’s newest likely case of coronavirus is in the Panhandle county of Santa Rosa. Governor Ron DeSantis updated the media on COVID-19, including efforts to bring in testing kits.


A global health technology conference that President Donald Trump was supposed to attend at the Orange County Convention Center has been canceled amid concerns over the coronavirus.

Jacksonville University
Excel23 / Wikimedia Commons

Following direction from the state, Florida’s colleges and universities are taking steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


With early voting underway in Jacksonville, Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan told WJCT News Thursday a plan is in place to help protect workers and voters against the coronavirus.

Health officials say COVID-19 is spread person to person through close contact -- people who are indoors and in close proximity with others for extended periods of time.

exterior of Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville
Memorial Hospital

On Wednesday, the CDC announced new guidelines for coronavirus testing in the U.S.: Doctors can now approve testing at their discretion and are no longer limited to recommending it for patients who’d traveled out of the country or been exposed to a known case.  

Aubrey Holland, performs tests at the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories on Monday, March 2, 2020, in Miami, where the COVID-19 virus is being tested at the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories.
Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

Jacksonville-area hospitals are taking extra precautions against the new coronavirus — though there are no confirmed cases in Northeast Florida.

Senate President Bill Galvano says Florida legislative leadership is in talks with Governor Ron DeSantis about an emergency appropriation to fortify agencies working to combat the spread of coronavirus. Galvano didn’t give many details, but told reporters after Tuesday’s floor session the specifics are being worked out.

More State Money Eyed As 3rd Coronavirus Case Emerges

Mar 3, 2020
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, takes a tour of Florida's Bureau of Public Health Laboratories with the Director, Stephen White, where the COVID-19 virus is tested on Monday, March 2, 2020, in Miami.
Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

Another person in Florida has presumptively tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the state to three, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

School districts in Northeast Florida are taking steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

Florida is now trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19 the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The CDC confirmed Monday two positive cases in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis directed the surgeon general to declare a public health emergency. 

WLRN's Alexander Gonzalez got the latest from Health News Florida editor Julio Ochoa.

DeSantis Says Risk 'Low' But More Coronavirus Cases Expected In Florida

Mar 2, 2020
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, gestures as he stands with Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, left, and State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees during a news conference Monday, March 2, 2020, in Tampa.
Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday reiterated that the risk of the novel coronavirus in Florida “remains low,” despite acknowledging that two residents have tested positive and that the state is anticipating more cases in the future.

Photo of People wearing facemasks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Martin Meissner / Associated Press

The Florida Department of Health announced the first two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the state on Sunday night, in Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

Florida has its first two cases of COVID-19 as patients in Hillsborough and Manatee counties tested positive for the virus, officials from the Florida Department of Health announced Sunday night.

State Labs Now Testing For Coronavirus

Mar 2, 2020

A top Florida Department of Health official said Saturday that three laboratories in the state can now test for the novel coronavirus, the contagious disease known as COVID-19.

Deputy Secretary of Health Shamarial Roberson told The News Service of Florida that state laboratories in Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa can conduct tests instead of sending samples to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labs in Atlanta.

“It is good news,” Roberson said, adding, “it leads to more timely testing.”

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

Four more people in the Seattle area have died after contracting COVID-19, health officials say, bringing the total in both Washington state and the U.S. to six. The state now has a total of 18 cases.

Three of the people who died were residents of King County, Wash., which now has 14 confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The fourth person had been living in Snohomish County, north of Seattle. That county has a total of four cases.

Aidan Chau at the Great Wall of China.
Aidan Chau

Aidan Chau is a junior at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, where he majors in clarinet performance. Like many teens across the globe, he’s worried about what climate change could mean for the future.

UF To Professors: Stop Ordering Sick Students To Be Tested For Coronavirus

Feb 17, 2020
UF campus aerial view
University of Florida via Twitter

Florida’s flagship university is warning its professors to stop requiring students who may be visibly sick to leave class and be tested for the new coronavirus.