Nurses put the health, safety and wellness of their patients before their own. But the coronavirus pandemic is placing more stress and medical risks on frontline health care workers.

The University of South Florida’s College of Nursing this week launched an educational training program designed to help nurses protect their health as they treat COVID-19 patients.

The four-part webinar series, “Frontline Nursing During COVID-19: A New Paradigm,” provides nurses with the tools they need to advocate for their own safety and well-being during the pandemic.

A recent survey conducted by AAA said Floridians are still reluctant to travel, almost one year into the coronavirus pandemic.

The top three reasons people gave for avoiding travel are: fear of getting sick, fear of the coronavirus variants and the number of COVID-19 cases.

AAA says more than 68% of Floridians canceled travel plans in 2020.

A person receives a vaccine shot in this file photo.

African Americans make up 29% of the population in Duval County, but just 14% of vaccinations, according to the latest numbers from the state’s Department of Health (DOH). 

That’s an improvement from two weeks ago, when African Americans made up 11% of vaccine recipients. 


Make-up days are being offered on two days this week to individuals who received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at either the Mandarin or Lane Wiley senior centers and missed their appointment for the second shot.

Questions Raised About CARES Act Money Earmarked For Florida Schools

Feb 15, 2021
Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

A Florida House panel looking at public-school funding is asking the state Department of Education for answers on how federal CARES Act money is being spent, and if those expenditures are tied to COVID-19 recovery.

Girls Inc. Participants
Girls Inc.

Amber Ferrell, 17, is a varsity cheerleader, a member of the National Honors Society, and among the top in her class at Jacksonville’s William M. Raines High School. She attributes her achievements to her own hard work, of course, but also to an afterschool program called Girls, Inc. 

Health Department Confirms UK Coronavirus Variant Found In Jacksonville

Feb 12, 2021
Matt Dunham / Associated Press

The Duval County Health Department confirms one case of the COVID variant first identified in the United Kingdom has been found in Jacksonville.

Some health centers in Florida that primarily serve low-income and uninsured patients are expecting a shipment of coronavirus vaccines from the federal government next week.

It's part of the Biden administration's plan to provide supplies directly to federally qualified health centers, also known as FQHCs or community health centers.

The phased plan starts with 250 facilities nationwide. One of those is Premier Community HealthCare, which has clinics in Pasco and Hernando counties.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), Governor Ron DeSantis, and Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio are decrying a potential travel ban after reports came out that the Biden administration is considering travel restrictions on Florida and other states where the U.K. coronavirus variant is spreading.

In this Feb. 8, 2021, file photo, Florida seniors have their temperatures taken before receiving the second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Health System in Miami.
Marta Lavindier / Associated Press

With new vaccine sites opening and information evolving, here’s a current rundown of where shots are available throughout the First Coast along with how to make an appointment.

A highly contagious variant of COVID-19 is spreading faster in Florida than any other state.

The state reported 201 infections of the U.K variant, known as B.1.1.7, as of Friday. No other state in the country has as many cases and only California, with 150 cases, comes close.

Over half of the Florida cases were found in three counties: Broward (57), Miami-Dade (40) and Palm Beach (22). In the Tampa Bay area, 20 cases were found in Hillsborough County, 19 in Pinellas, six in Pasco and one in Hernando.

A person receives a vaccine shot in this file photo.

Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers will begin offering free Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations Thursday, Feb. 11, at some of its stores in 29 Florida counties, including nine Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket locations on the First Coast.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announces vaccine distribution partnership with Walmart
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Jacksonville Tuesday to announce a new coronavirus vaccine partnership with Walmart pharmacies. 

Judge Refuses To Dismiss COVID-19 Case Against Publix

Feb 9, 2021

As Florida lawmakers move quickly to try to shield businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits, a Miami-Dade County circuit judge has refused to dismiss a case against Publix Super Markets that stems from the COVID-19 death of a deli worker.

Judge Carlos Lopez on Friday rejected a motion by Publix to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the estate of Gerardo Gutierrez, a 70-year-old employee of a Miami Beach store who died in April.

Tampa Reflects On A Pandemic Super Bowl

Feb 9, 2021

The top officials who planned Tampa's Super Bowl in one of the worst years imaginable reflected on their effort the day after the big game. They said the preparation for the game went as well as could be expected.

Rob Higgins is head of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. He said the region had a chance to showcase what it can do in the middle of a pandemic, and it will get a chance to shine again.

"There's going to be other cities that have bigger stadiums and bigger hotels and bigger regions," Higgins said. "I'm biased, but none of them have a bigger heart."

Panama City COVID-19 Outbreak Among Worst In Nation

Feb 8, 2021

Panama City's coronavirus outbreak remains among the nation's most severe.

The metropolitan area’s coronavirus case incidence rate is the sixth highest in the country. The New York Times’s COVID-19 tracker shows 90 daily new cases per 100,000 people in the last two weeks. That number is calculated using state and county health department data.

Masked woman outside of an unemployment office with a "now hiring" sign.
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Newly released data shows that 69,140 Floridians filed initial unemployment claims during the last week of January, more than 12 times as many as the same time last year. 

The data, released weekly by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, is a reminder that although the economy is recovering from the worst of the coronavirus recession, many Florida residents continue to struggle. 

DROBER24 / Wikimedia Commons

Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers, parent company to Winn-Dixie, Harveys Supermarket, and other supermarket chains, is set to offer coronavirus vaccines across Florida on Feb. 11. 

More Than 100 Wait In Line For COVID Vaccine At Brown Senior Center

Feb 5, 2021
People started lining up early Friday morning for COVID-19 vaccinations outside of the Clanzel T. Brown Senior Center.

Dozens of people were already in line early Friday morning at the Clanzel T. Brown Senior Center on Moncrief Road, hours before it was set to open as Jacksonville’s latest COVID-19 vaccination site.

Council member Brenda Priestly Jackson urged community members to trust the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

The city of Jacksonville will distribute coronavirus vaccine shots on a first-come-first serve basis Friday and Saturday at the Northside’s Clanzel T. Brown Senior Center. 

Associated Press

Publix is expanding its Florida COVID-19 vaccinations appointment system to Nassau County.

Florida school districts are planning to administer state exams next month, but don’t know how those exams will be used. Lynn Hatter reports as the testing window draws closer, a pair of Florida Democrats want the state to not put much stock into the results.

A Jacksonville homeless encampment on Jefferson St. is pictured.
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Residents of a Downtown Jacksonville homeless encampment continue to worry about the future of their makeshift community after a report that the city may ask them to move. 

Fla. Lawmakers, School Officials Eye Drop In Student Enrollment During Pandemic

Feb 2, 2021
News Service of Florida

Florida legislators and local education officials are trying to pinpoint what happened to nearly 90,000 “missing” public school students, as public school enrollment estimates have dropped amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) wants COVID-19 liability protections for healthcare facilities.

"It is my priority to ensure liability protections are extended to the healthcare industry this session," said Brandee. "These are people at the front lines of this pandemic who have worked tirelessly to protect residents and patients and we must stand up for them."


Monday, Feb. 1, marks the start of the city administering second doses of coronavirus vaccines to people who have received their first shots at the Lane Wiley and Mandarin senior center sites, which no longer provide first doses.

Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Florida officials on Friday rolled out a statewide website for people to pre-register for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Angelique Taylor and David “Kip” Ritchey, had plans to distribute microgreens from their regenerative, small-scale farm in Quincy, Fl, to restaurants in the Tallahassee area in late February. But, once the pandemic hit, restaurants closed down, and they weren’t able to get a consistent supply of quality seeds to grow more reliable, long-term crops.

At the same time, fewer people were visiting the farmers’ market where Taylor and Ritchey sold produce every weekend. Overall, they say they lost 20% of their sales.

In this Jan. 19, 2021, photo, Robert Owens, 90, stands in line with other residents to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at John Knox Village in Pompano Beach.

Residents who didn’t snag a St. Johns County coronavirus vaccination appointment when additional spots opened up Thursday morning, Jan. 28, will have to wait awhile longer for their shot.

Mayor Lenny Curry

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on Thursday announced his plan to administer second doses of coronavirus vaccines to people who have received their first shots at the now-shuttered Lane Wiley and Mandarin senior center sites.