Coronavirus

Flagler Hospital
Flagler Health+

St. Johns County School District employees who are 65 or older can now get the COVID-19 vaccine through a new program at Flagler Health+ in St. Augustine.

The federal government is mostly to blame for what some people see as a slow distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Florida, state Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz told a House panel Thursday.

Appearing before the newly created House Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee, Moskowitz said the federal government has been slow in releasing enough supply to Florida to meet demand.

The Florida Legislature wants to stop scammers from taking advantage of people seeking vaccine doses. Fraudsters created fake internet pages designed to look like Pasco and Pinellas County Health Departments and charged money for fake vaccination appointments. And they aren’t the only ones. The Department of Legal Affairs Consumer and Protection Division has been contacted more than 14,000 to report COVID-19 related fraud. (R-Land O' Lakes) is the bill sponsor.

TALLAHASSEE --- A leading Senate Republican on Wednesday chided Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees about the state’s COVID-19 vaccine-distribution efforts, saying Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration hasn't been forthcoming with the public.

Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, said during a meeting of the Senate Health Policy Committee that there is statewide frustration over the vaccine rollout and that Rivkees and Department of Health Assistant Secretary Shamarial Roberson need to provide the public with a “clear direction” about the state’s plans.

Duval County Public Schools

The Duval County Public Schools district is adjusting its timeline for notifying the public about new COVID-19 cases.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking in front of the Sawgrass Village Publix in Ponte Vedra Beach.
The Office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ announcement this month that the state is partnering with Publix Supermarkets to establish COVID-19 vaccination sites across the state follows the grocer donating $100,000 to the governor’s political committee.

Vaccine Announcement Spurs Questions From Hospitals

Jan 13, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday his decision to steer highly sought-after COVID-19 vaccines to people 65 and older has been vindicated by a Trump administration announcement that it will do the same.

File photo of a Publix store
Scott Iskowitz / Associated Press

Governor Ron DeSantis has announced the state is partnering with Publix to establish COVID-19 vaccination sites at select locations throughout Florida and on Wednesday he said that several would be in St. Johns and Flagler Counties.

St. Johns County has another 500 doses of the coronavirus vaccine it plans to administer this Friday.

BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

Grants ranging from $500 to $50,000 have been distributed to 117 First Coast area nonprofits to help offset costs they have incurred during the pandemic.

MICHAEL DWYER / ASSOCIATED PRESS SEPT. 2020 FILE PHOTO

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that $1.4 billion in emergency rental assistance to Floridians is on its way as part of the federal COVID-19 relief legislation signed into law on Dec. 27.

COVID-19 vaccine being administered.
Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Southeast Georgia’s Coastal Health district has temporarily paused all scheduling Tuesday so they can manage the requests already received.

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida lawmakers have gotten a well-timed budget break thanks to a decision by the federal government to extend the nation’s public-health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar extended the public-health emergency last week.

Azar’s decision means the federal government will continue to allocate a 6.2 percentage-point increase in money for Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program. Before the extension, the additional funding was slated to expire in March.

A study commissioned by a state government watchdog group says the absence of COVID-19 liability protections may have cost the state more than 16 billion dollars. The Florida tax watch report suggests more than 200,000 jobs could have been lost. The report comes amid an effort to shield businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits. Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis says the protection will help provide a boost to the economy by providing confidence for businesses to reopen.

St. Johns County has run out of COVID-19 vaccine doses and officials don’t expect another shipment for at least a week.

A view of the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance at the Ritz-Carlton.
BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

Organizers of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance announced Monday the annual classic car show and its related events at the Ritz-Carlton and surrounding area are being moved to May 20 - May 23 this year.

Florida State University will offer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to students and employees who are 65 and older. The college says vaccine distribution could start as early as next week.

Florida High School Graduation Rates Climb Amid Pandemic

Jan 11, 2021

Graduation rates for Florida high school students ticked up last year, with 90 percent of students graduating, according to a state Department of Education report released last week.

A line forms outside the Mandarin Senior Center after Jacksonville announces it will be used as a COVID-19 vaccination site.
Michelle Corum / WJCT News

The two new COVID-19 vaccination sites run by the city of Jacksonville will operate on a first-come, first-serve basis starting Monday.

Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls
News Service of Florida / Via WUSF

Fraudsters who mislead the public about access to COVID-19 vaccinations could be charged with a third-degree felony and sued in civil court, under a measure championed by House Speaker Chris Sprowls.

State Launches Investigation Into Allegations That COVID Vaccines Were Diverted

Jan 8, 2021
Cody Jackson / News Service of Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday that the state is investigating allegations that an upscale West Palm Beach nursing home diverted scarce COVID-19 vaccinations meant for residents and staff to members of the facility’s board of directors and donors.

Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) has filed a bill to protect business from “frivolous” COVID-19-related lawsuits. Brandes says the measure is at the top of his agenda.

“This is one of the most important bills this session," said Brandes. "If we’re going to open the economy, we have to provide some level of protection for businesses so that they have certainty about what they are required to do to have a safe harbor against frivolous lawsuits.”

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry
City of Jacksonville

Two of Jacksonville’s COVID-19 testing sites are being converted into vaccination centers, Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday.

DeSantis Maintains Opposition To Local COVID Rules

Jan 7, 2021
Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis has strongly reaffirmed his opposition to local government officials’ attempts to impose their own rules to curb the spread of COVID-19, saying that such measures “are not effective.”

Floridians have been left confused and frustrated by the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. While most expected a unified distribution plan the responsibility has been passed on to the state’s 67 local health departments—which has led to a patchwork of policies. But Florida Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz says he thinks those kinks will soon get worked out. He spoke during a virtual press conference Wednesday.

Moskowitz says the scramble that’s happening during the first weeks of the vaccination distribution isn’t surprising.

Black faith-leaders across Florida are joining health experts in encouraging communities of color to get the COVID-19 vaccine. They've formed a task force to spread their message. Tallahassee pastor R.B. Holmes says he will lead by example and take the vaccine.

"All of us have buried, ministered, and comforted thousands of people who have died or dying from the virus; this is one battle that we cannot sit out," Holmes says.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

A healthcare company with its state headquarters in Jacksonville Beach is hoping to start helping administer COVID-19 vaccines by the end of March.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has issued a stern warning to bars and restaurants that don't comply with the city's coronavirus emergency orders:

Repeat offenders could have their alcohol licenses revoked.

In a news release Wednesday morning, Castor said the city would double down on the emergency order issued in December, which requires employees and customers to wear face coverings.

TALLAHASSEE --- Seniors living in Citrus, Hernando and Marion counties will be able to get vaccinated for COVID-19 while shopping at Publix, under an agreement Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration reached with the Florida-based supermarket chain.

The state is directing 15,000 vaccine doses to 22 Publix stores across the three Central Florida counties as the administration works to increase the number of locations where people age 65 and older can go to receive inoculations.

Cars lined up for COVID-19 testing.
Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press


The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases is currently the highest it has ever been in both the state of Florida and Duval County.

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