Coronavirus

Gov. Ron DeSantis
News4Jax

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday proposed a record $96.6 billion state budget for the upcoming fiscal year, offering a more upbeat picture of Florida’s finances than lawmakers who will have to stitch together a spending plan as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hamper the economy.

Naval Air Station Jacksonville has announced its spring air show, which had been scheduled for April 10-11, has been cancelled “after careful consideration.”

Peter Hamlin / AP Illustration

White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci is recommending that people wear two face masks to better protect themselves and each other from the coronavirus.

St. Johns County has received an allotment of 3,900 Pfizer coronavirus vaccines from the state. 

The state must distribute COVID-19 vaccines to more than 1,000 assisted living facilities if it intends to reach the governor’s goal of a Sunday deadline.

“By the end of this month, a COVID-19 vaccine will have been offered to every resident and staff member at all of Florida’s nearly 4,000 long-term care facilities,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday during a press conference in Jacksonville.

TALLAHASSEE --- Senate President Wilton Simpson doesn't expect his side of the Capitol to be open to the public or lobbyists until after the upcoming 60-day legislative session, as many lawmakers and staff members likely will continue to await COVID-19 vaccinations.

During a meeting Monday about Senate procedural issues, Simpson advised members to get used to talking with lobbyists outside the Capitol complex. And he said public comments during Senate committee meetings will continue to be streamed online from rooms a few blocks away at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.

Legislation shielding Florida businesses from COVID-19 related claims is moving in the state Senate. Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) is carrying the proposal in the chamber:

“If we had not had businesses stay open especially our essential businesses individuals would not have had access to pharmaceuticals. They would not have access to gas in their cars or food at their table," said Brandes. "Senate Bill 72 creates a civil liability protection for individuals, businesses, or other organizations against COVDI-19 related claims.”

State Sen. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee, is the latest Florida lawmaker to test positive for the coronavirus since lawmakers began meeting two weeks ago.

Ausley wrote in a Facebook post that she's only experiencing mild symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday. She says she'll continue to self-isolate and work from home until she’s cleared to return to the state Senate for in-person meetings.

Republican State Rep. Jason Shoaf of Port Saint Joe announced on Facebook over the weekend that he had also tested positive for COVID-19.

School Board building exterior
Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

The Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) board chair is calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to make teachers and other school workers a priority in the next phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Gov. Ron DeSantis touts vaccine rollout at Jacksonville's River Garden Hebrew Home.
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

The coronavirus vaccine will have been offered to every resident of Florida’s 4,000 long-term-care facilities by the end of this month, according to Gov.  Ron DeSantis. 

Mayor Curry Extends Jacksonville Mask Mandate

Jan 25, 2021
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Mayor Lenny Curry has extended Duval County’s mask mandate through at least Feb. 25.

TALLAHASSEE — Florida's Health Department quietly launched a pilot program of a new telephone appointment system meant to help counties better handle the demand for life-saving coronavirus vaccines.

Some hospitals, county health departments and vaccination centers were plunged in chaos after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced last month that he would open the vaccines to seniors 65 and older, prompting long lines, crashed websites and disappointment among thousands of Floridians looking to protect themselves against COVID-19.

Photo of a now hiring sign
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

The Jacksonville area’s unemployment rate was 4.8% last month, down from a pandemic high of over 11% last April. 

SCOTT ISKOWITZ / ASSOCIATED PRESS

COVID-19 vaccination appointments at Publix supermarkets in St. Johns County and across Florida were fully booked Friday morning, shortly after becoming available.

News4Jax

The city of Jacksonville announced Friday morning it has finishing distributing its allotted supply of the first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

Pediatrician: 20-30% Increase In Local Children Infected With COVID-19

Jan 22, 2021
TED S. WARREN / ASSOCIATED PRESS

There has been a 20-30% increase in the number of children who have caught COVID-19 in the last several weeks, according to Dr. Jeffrey Goldhagen, chief of Community and Societal Pediatrics for UF Health Jacksonville.

Skyline view of the St. Johns River and Downtown Jax.
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

The Northeast Florida Economic Resilience Taskforce met Thursday to discuss how the region’s infrastructure could be strengthened.

The group’s goal is to connect county and city governments across the region in a joint effort to not only recover from the coronavirus pandemic, but build back stronger from it.

State Sen. Danny Burgess
News Service of Florida

Businesses will remain open for the economic well-being of the state even as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Florida, the head of a Senate select committee on the pandemic said Thursday.

Excel23

North Florida Congressman Al Lawson, D-FL5, announced Thursday that colleges and universities in Jacksonville are getting an additional $73.4 million in federal emergency relief funding as part of the $900 billion stimulus package Congress passed last month. 

LYNNE SLADKY / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nearly 2,000 St. Johns County COVID-19 vaccine appointments were claimed Thursday morning within an hour.

Lelia Clark, 77, sat smiling in her car on a recent morning at the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds in Plant City.

Clark, a resident of the nearby historic African American neighborhood Bealsville, had just received her first dose of a coronavirus vaccine at the drive-thru site run by Hillsborough County.

She had arrived an hour ahead of her appointment to try to get farther up in the line of hundreds of people eagerly waiting for their shots, and was parked in the monitoring area where people linger to make sure they respond to the vaccine smoothly.

A teacher’s assistant at Neptune Beach Elementary has died due to COVID-19 complications, a Duval County School Board member confirmed.

Vaccine being administered.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Veterans who are 65 or older, or who are essential workers, can receive the coronavirus vaccine through the Veterans Affairs health system - as supplies allow. 

Fla. Surgeon General Says State Vaccine Is 'Supply Limited'

Jan 20, 2021
Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees
Florida Health / State of Florida

As Gov. Ron DeSantis barnstorms the state announcing new COVID-19 vaccination sites, a top health-care adviser acknowledged on a phone call with hospital officials that Florida is in a “supply-limited situation.”

Vaccine being administered.
TED S. WARREN / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Clay and St. Johns counties announced Wednesday that more COVID vaccine appointments will soon be available after they received more doses.

Clay County Begins Scheduling New Appointments At 3 p.m. Wednesday

Clay County Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health in Clay County have received 1,950 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine and will begin accepting vaccination appointments on Wednesday, January 20, at 3 p.m. 

News4Jax

The Florida Department of Health opened a new COVID-19 vaccine site at Regency Square Mall in Arlington Wednesday, according to a tweet from the Florida Association of Public Information Officers.

Mayor Lenny Curry briefs the media on the COVID-19 vaccination effort.
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Tuesday the city would run out of its existing doses of coronavirus vaccines by the end of the day Thursday. 

Those who have received their first doses will receive their scheduled second doses, Curry said, but he could not promise when new doses of the vaccine would arrive, or how many doses  would be available. 

Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press

Tuesday, Jan. 19, is the last day to sign up for a slot on Nassau County’s COVID vaccine wait-list.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody
Steve Cannon / Associated Press

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning residents to be on the lookout for COVID-19 vaccination scams.

TED S. WARREN / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ascension St. Vincent’s is holding a COVID-19 vaccination event on Monday, Jan. 18, for Clay County residents age 65 and older, which the hospital said filled up shortly after the event was announced Friday morning.

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