Opinion: The Diminishing Role Of Public Health

Aug 18, 2020
Hugh Greene
Via Jacksonville Daily Record

Editor's Note: The following opinion piece is by Hugh Greene, Retired President & CEO of Baptist Health and a contributor to First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross.

Wikimedia Commons

The Bolles School has confirmed a “small number of students” on the private school's Bartram Road middle school campus have tested positive for COVID-19.

Task Force Mulls Florida Nursing Home Visits Without COVID-19 Tests

Aug 17, 2020

Top health care regulators in Gov. Ron DeSantis’s administration on Friday discussed a limited reopening of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that would not require COVID-19 screening for visitors.

Members of the Task Force on the Safe and Limited Re-Opening of Long-Term Care Facilities met for about 90 minutes before agreeing to meet again Tuesday to consider the details of allowing “essential” and “compassionate” visitation at nursing homes, including facilities that have residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.

richmond96 / Wikimedia Commons file photo

Fall sports competition at Jacksonville University, the University of North Florida and other Atlantic Sun Conference universities is being postponed due to COVID-19.

Fla. Inmate Infections, Deaths Soar Amid Pleas For More Help

Aug 14, 2020
Photo of Baker Correctional Institution sign
Fla. Department of Corrections

As the numbers of COVID-19 deaths and infections in prisons soar, workers, inmates and their loved ones continue to plead for help from the state.

A schedule is set for mediation in a lawsuit over a state order requiring schools to start in-person classes this month. The state is demanding that all schools open or faces financial consequences. Ron Meyer is the attorney for the Florida Education Association, a statewide teachers’ union. He told Judge Charles Dodson during court Thursday he believes reopening will lead to bad results.

FAMU DRS Delays First Day Of School Until August 31

Aug 14, 2020

Florida A&M Developmental Research School is delaying the start of its school year to August 31.

The lab school, which is run by the university and operates as a district of its own, originally planned to resume classes next Wednesday, August 19.

Outside of UF Health Jacksonville, tall building with a cloudy sky in the background
Via UF Health Jacksonville

The CEO of an association of Florida’s nonprofit hospitals - including two in Jacksonville - is calling for the federal government to treat the state fairly when allocating the rest of its $175 billion in CARES Act funding designated to the nation’s hospitals.

Fla. Transportation Revenues Expected To Take $1.5 Billion Hit

Aug 13, 2020
John Raoux / Associated Press

Pointing to issues such as the coronavirus pandemic, economists say Florida will collect about $1.5 billion less than expected in transportation-related revenues during the next several years.

DeSantis Warns Of 'Stale' COVID-19 Data

Aug 13, 2020
The Florida Channel

Gov.  Ron DeSantis is warning “policymakers” about problems with COVID-19 data collected and published by the state and said he directed the Department of Health to “remedy” the issue.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is applauding the beginning this week of in-person classes at some Florida school districts. DeSantis says one superintendent likened the start of the school year to a military takedown of a terrorist.

Some Florida Teachers Ponder Early Retirement As Schools Reopen

Aug 12, 2020
Rick Bowmer / Associated Press file photo

Dave Galloway, an army veteran and sixth grade science teacher in Jackson County, is used to assessing risk in his life. 

Mayor Lenny Curry speaking during a virtual press conference.
City of Jacksonville

The city of Jacksonville has partnered with local hospitals and hospital administrators on a public service announcement urging residents to wear masks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday continued to pitch the return of college and high-school sports as a safer environment for student-athletes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A new report says the number of children who tested positive for the coronavirus in the United States increased by 40% in July.

Florida, which has endured a surge of coronavirus infections this summer, will participate in a COVID-19 vaccine pilot program with the federal government.

State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said Tuesday, during a conference call with hospital officials, that Florida has been invited to be part of a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine pilot group. Rivkees said Florida was one of four states chosen to participate, along with the city of Philadelphia.

TALLAHASSEE --- Gov. Ron DeSantis, while expressing hope that the coronavirus crisis could ease across Southern states in September, said on morning radio shows Monday that the pandemic will “loom” over every budget and policy debate during the 2021 legislative session.

DeSantis said mapping out budget priorities for next fiscal year will depend on factors such as the use of federal stimulus money and the condition of the state’s economic recovery.

MOCA Jacksonville is reopening on a limited basis.
Julianne Dragunat / Via MOCA Jacksonville

MOCA Jacksonville’s management has taken a slow, cautious approach to its reopening, which kicks off Tuesday, August 11.

America's First Trial-By-Zoom Comes To Duval County

Aug 10, 2020
Duval County's court system is just one example of how the public sector is using teleconferencing software. This screengrab shows member of the Vermont House of Representatives convening a Zoom meeting.
Wilson Ring / Associated Press

America's first Zoom trial with a binding verdict will come Monday to Duval County, to the court’s remote civil division CV-E, according to WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union.

A custodian cleans a desk in a classroom.
Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press

Baker County students headed back to school Monday morning with no mask requirement in place.

University of South Florida President Steven Currall announced Friday that the school has moved to a modified Phase II of its return-to-campus plan.

Tourism in Florida has taken a big hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. The losses are especially bad in the cruise industry. 

More people are using rentable electric scooters for essential activities according to data from scooter-sharing companies like Lime and Spin. The two-wheeled vehicles offer Floridians a way to stay physically distant from others amid a deadly pandemic.

As the Florida High School Athletic Association looks into pushing the start of fall sports to the end of November, Gov. Ron DeSantis is urging schools to play on.

DeSantis says just as he believes parents should have options when it comes to sending their kids back to the classroom, he thinks parents should choices when it comes to sending kids back to the athletic field.

A sign reading "Still Open" hangs outside of a restaurant.
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

An executive order signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis loosens the criteria for restaurant employees with coronavirus to return to work.

City Council To Vote On Second COVID-19 Nonprofit, For-Profit Organization Aid Package

Aug 7, 2020
Exterior of City Hall building
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

City Council is expected to take action Aug. 11 on legislation providing a second round of financial relief totaling $7.24 million for nonprofit and for-profit businesses with revenue losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

File photo of an empty restaurant
Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

A new forecast projects as many as one in three U.S. restaurants may close permanently this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

St. Augustine Distillery

Imagine being able to pull up a website or get on the phone and order your favorite craft bourbon or other spirit and have it delivered to your door.

TALLAHASSEE --- With some students set to return to classrooms on Monday, state officials and Florida’s largest teachers union are locked in a legal battle over an order requiring schools to reopen this month amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Florida Education Association last month filed a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and other defendants, alleging that a July 6 order issued by Corcoran violates the state Constitution, which guarantees Floridians the right to “safe” and “secure” public education.

Fight Over Leon County Mask Mandate Goes To Appeals Court

Aug 6, 2020

A battle about the constitutionality of a Leon County ordinance that requires people to wear face masks to try to curb the spread of COVID-19 is headed to a state appeals court.

Plaintiff Evan Power, the county Republican Party chairman who is teaming with state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, to challenge the ordinance, has filed a notice that he is taking the case to the 1st District Court of Appeal.