St. Augustine's City Hall is pictured during Nights of Lights.

The city of St. Augustine announced Tuesday that effective Thursday, July 16, its City Hall will be closed to the public in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Florida Prisons Grapple With COVID-19 Hitting Workers

Jul 14, 2020

TALLAHASSEE --- The number of Florida corrections workers known to be infected with COVID-19 has more than doubled during the past month, prompting state officials to launch emergency plans at two prisons where there are significant staffing shortages.

The emergency plans, a copy of which was read to The News Service of Florida, said workers at Dade Correctional Institution and Jefferson Correctional Institution will need to work 12-hour shifts up to six days a week to ensure “adequate staffing levels” are maintained at the prisons.

Picture of school custodian in mask and protective cover
Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press file photo

The head of a union that represents thousands of school employees says that Florida’s push to reopen schools in August is rushed and “putting lives in danger.”

A woman wearing a protective mask watches television in her home.
Alvaro Barrientos / Associated Press

A St. Johns County Commissioner proposed a mandatory mask mandate during Tuesday’s special emergency meeting, but the motion failed as none of the other commissioners were willing to second the proposal, even as one of their colleagues is in “critical” condition due to complications from COVID-19.

Lot J COVID-19 testing

Mayor Lenny Curry has completed his 14-day self-isolation after being exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Two people, a child and a woman, holding signs out of a truck that read "Life over lessons" and "Keep my mom safe"
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Duval County Public School teachers and parents are voicing their disagreement with the county’s school reopening plans slated to take place next month.

File photo of a classroom.

Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) announced Tuesday a revised back-to-school plan that takes into account what the district is calling the “fluid conditions” caused by COVID-19 as well as new state requirements.

St. Johns County School Board Asks District To Push Back School Start Date 2 Weeks

Jul 14, 2020
St. Johns County School District Superintendent Tim Forson talks about coronavirus plans during a school board meeting.

WJCT News partner News4Jax reports that St. Johns County School Board members on Tuesday asked the school district to explore pushing back the school start date to give the district more time to implement COVID-19 safety plans and allow parents to make decisions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis provided an update on Florida’s coronavirus siege in Miami on Monday, and did not escape the wrath of an in-person protester. And, Pensacola-area residents now have a new source for local COVID-19 numbers.

The governor had just begun his remarks, when a protester confronted him from where the media was positioned.

“You are doing nothing; you are misleading the public,” said the unidentified man talking over the governor. “Over 4,000 people have died, and you guys have no plan and you are doing nothing.”

Officials with Florida blood donation center OneBlood are calling for individuals who are eligible to donate convalescent plasma.

As coronavirus cases surge, the group says the need for plasma is extraordinarily high.

Officials Look To Bolster Supply Of COVID-19 Drug

Jul 14, 2020

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said Monday he had received reports from several Florida hospitals in the previous 24 hours about a potential shortage of a key drug that has been used to help patients battling COVID-19.

“I am in contact with federal officials in hopes of addressing this matter immediately,” Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

Aardwolf Brewing Company / Via Facebook

With no end in sight for bars across Florida that are prohibited from allowing drinking on premises, the state is making an example of at least one Jacksonville brewery, according to its owner.

More COVID-19 Cases Reported At The Arc Jacksonville Group Home

Jul 13, 2020
John Minchillo / Associated Press file photo

Eleven staff members and residents at a Jacksonville group home for people with developmental disabilities have tested positive for COIVD-19.

Sarasota Memorial is the first hospital in Florida to begin a scientific trial using an experimental antibody treatment to attack coronavirus. Doctors hope the treatment, called REGN-COV2 and made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, will offer a new way to treat and possibly prevent COVID-19.

Florida Leaders Weigh In On Back To School Order

Jul 13, 2020

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano says local school districts must follow an order from the state Department of Education to offer in-person classes five days a week starting in August. Some school districts are pushing back on the order. During a press briefing with the governor in Bradenton a reporter said Manatee County is one example. The district claims it’s up to the school board to decide when kids should be back in the classroom. Galvano disagrees. He says the order from Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran must be followed.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing for more coronavirus antibody testing in Florida. He says the tests will help health officials have a better understanding of how the virus has spread throughout the state. But some experts have raised concerns about the accuracy of the tests.

DeSantis says he thinks Florida’s coronavirus numbers don’t fully reflect the number of people in the state who have gotten the virus.

Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Friday that the NFL team plans to limit seating capacity for its 2020 season home games to approximately 25% and require fans to wear face masks.

Ascension St. Vincent's Clay County hospital is pictured.
Ascension St. Vincent's

Some Jacksonville hospitals are changing their patient visitation policies in response to the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press file photo

As the coronavirus pandemic leaves many elderly people without visitors, a Jacksonville nonprofit is expanding its social support network for seniors who live alone thanks to a new grant.

In an updated release Thursday evening, Escambia County Corrections is now reporting more than 5 dozen recently confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the county jail.  Also, Escambia county road crew operations have been suspended after its first reported case.

Elsewhere, there’s also an outbreak of more than three dozen coronavirus cases at the Walton County Jail , with some of those cases involving Escambia inmates. 

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at a podium, behind him is a large JaxPort logo, along with the American flag
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says holding the Republican National Convention in an outdoor Jacksonville venue would be a safe option. 

Associated Press

There’s a battle brewing over what back-to-school in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic might look like in Florida.

Gerry Broome / Associated Press file photo

JEA says disconnections will start Friday, July 10, for potentially thousands of customers who have fallen significantly behind in their payments and have not contacted the utility to work out a payment plan.

Top part of the image is the Jax Skyline against the St. Johns River, bottom is the front of VyStar Veteran's Memorial Arena
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

The city of Jacksonville and the Republican National Convention are facing another hurdle apart from COVID-19 - a lawsuit.

Provided by Lori Hershey

A new online petition is demanding a way for family members to visit their loved ones in Florida’s long-term care facilities. 

A line of drivers wait on Gator Bowl Blvd. to enter Lot J for COVID-19 testing in this Sunday, March 29 file photo.

Jacksonville has been added to the list of cities that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has deemed “hotspot jurisdictions.”

As a result, federal temporary surge COVID-19 testing locations have opened in Jacksonville:

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

President Donald Trump pointed Tuesday to being “very flexible” when asked if increasing coronavirus cases could affect his desire for a big nominating convention next month in Jacksonville.

On Monday, Florida's Education Commissioner issued an emergency order for brick and mortar schools to reopen for the fall, with the full array of services schools provide.

It said "school openings must be consistent with safety precautions as defined by the Florida Department of Health, local health officials and supportive of Floridians, young and adult, with underlying conditions that make them medically vulnerable."

More people are being tested for coronavirus in Florida as cases spike across the state. This is causing a logjam, not only in getting tested, but also in receiving results.

Florida’s education commissioner issued a mandate Monday, requiring schools to open five days a week in the Fall. Statewide teachers’ union, the Florida Education Association, is questioning the move.