COVID-19

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla. At rear is Fla. Sen. Manny Diaz Jr.
Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that Florida will fight local and federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates for public and private workers, warning that such requirements will have a “huge impact” on public safety.

Registered nurse Susana Flores Villamil waits to vaccinate people with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Miami.
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Two major Florida hospital systems say they will carry out a plan announced Thursday by the Biden administration to require hospital workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 --- but concerns remain about how it could affect staffing.

In this Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021 file photo, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis answers questions related to school openings and the wearing of masks in Surfside.
Marta Lavandier / Associated Press

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and one of his Democratic gubernatorial challengers, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, are butting heads over programs designed to help feed low-income children.

Carol Basilio, right, greets her daughter Giovanna, 4, left, outside of iPrep Academy on the first day of school, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in Miami.
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

More than 30 Democratic state lawmakers, including Rep. Angie Nixon of Jacksonville, have signed a letter urging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to apply for a federal program that would provide $820 million to help feed low-income children.

COVID-19 Death Toll Reaches 2,237 Among Duval County Residents

Sep 7, 2021
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

The latest wave of COVID-19 infections has raised the death toll among Duval County residents to 2,237 since the pandemic began in 2020 and unleashed yet another surge in cases this summer.

Heather Prediletto / Submitted

St. Johns County Schools had recorded 881 COVID cases as of Thursday — more than 25 times the number of cases in the district after the first 14 school days of the 2020 school year. By the end of the third week of 2020-2021, just 35 students and staff had tested positive.

Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

An appeal filed Thursday by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration put on hold a Leon County circuit judge’s ruling against the state in a battle over school mask mandates --- but attorneys for a group of parents quickly requested that the ruling be allowed to take effect.

Animals At Jacksonville Zoo To Get COVID-19 Vaccinations

Sep 3, 2021
Photo of Nicolai
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Some animals at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will be getting their COVID-19 vaccinations soon.

Local resident Stephanie Hernandez takes a selfie in front of Carnival's Mardi Gras cruise ship, docked in the bay of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, marking the first time a cruise ship visits the U.S. territory since the COVID-19 pandemic
Carlos Giusti / Associated Press

Starting this month the state of Florida will fine businesses that require proof of COVID-19 vaccination from customers.

The Episcopal School of Jacksonville is in a legal battle as several parents are suing over the right for their children to go without masks in the classroom.

Replacing Fla. Surgeon General May Be Difficult

Aug 27, 2021
Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees
Florida Health / State of Florida

Florida needs a new state surgeon general. The question could quickly become: Will it be easy to find someone?

Senior students walk by a sign at Barbara Coleman Senior High School during the first day of school, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in Miami Lakes, Fla. Miami-Dade County public schools requires students to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Marta Lavandier / Associated Press

Duval County public school students will be required to wear masks when they return to class after the Labor Day weekend  — unless they have a doctor’s note —  and those who don’t follow the district’s guidelines will face discipline.

DCPS Top 1,000 COVID Cases In Third Week; Total Expected To Double In Weeks

Aug 27, 2021
Duncan U. Fletcher Middle is one of two campuses in Duval County that were forced to close this week because of COVID-19 outbreaks.
The Florida Times-Union

As new Florida cases of COVID-19 rose to a record level Tuesday, then dropped a day later, Duval County Public Schools hit and surpassed 1,000 cases countywide in only the third week of school.

AP Photo/John Minchillo

The city-funded Neptune Beach testing site ran out of rapid COVID tests Tuesday through Wednesday, just two weeks after Jacksonville City Council allocated $4 million in American Rescue Plan dollars to cover free testing countywide.

Wikimedia Commons

As some utility companies ask residents to conserve water because liquid oxygen is being diverted to local hospitals, JEA says it’s not at risk of running out. 

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

A second Duval County public school is going virtual because of high rates of exposure to COVID-19. 

Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Duval County Public Schools has joined the growing list of Florida school districts defying Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on school face mask mandates. 

Changes Coming To COVID Testing In Glynn, Camden Counties

Aug 20, 2021
Someone getting tested for COVID-19 at the drive-thru testing site, someone reaching into a car where a patient is, while dressed in a mask and gown and gloves.
John Raoux / Associated Press

Changes are on the way for public health’s free COVID-19 testing program in Glynn and Camden Counties.

Fla. Education Board To Meet Over Compliance With Mask Rule

Aug 13, 2021
Parents and relatives wearing protective masks walk children to class before the first day of school at Sessums Elementary School Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Riverview, Fla.
Chris O'Meara / Associated Press


Gov. Ron DeSantis and top state education officials are continuing to pursue a crackdown on school districts that don’t comply with a new Department of Health rule requiring that parents be allowed to opt out of student mask mandates amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Agustin Cortez, 13, gets a COVID-19 test Thursday, July 15, 2021,
Marta Lavandier / ASSOCIATED PRESS

St. Johns County is asking residents to pre-register for appointments at its COVID-19 testing site, which is opening Monday, Aug. 16. 

Heather Prediletto

Masks were not on the agenda when the St. Johns County School Board met Tuesday, but after hearing from more than 100 concerned parents and community members on both sides of the masking debate over a period of six hours, the board reiterated its position: Masks are optional, which is in line with state rules. 

File photo of students returning to school during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rick Bowmer / Associated Press


Duval County Public Schools have plans in place to ensure students will be able to continue learning, even if they’re quarantined for an extended period of time due to exposure to the coronavirus.

Marta Lavandier / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The city of Jacksonville announced legislation that would fund three new COVID testing sites across the city, with two additional new sites to be operated by the Department of Health in Duval County. 

MARY ALTAFFER / ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Parents in St. Johns County are planning a protest before the School Board meeting Tuesday morning, when they plan to ask local officials to require masks in the classroom. Other parents who oppose masks are expected to counter-protest. 

Coastal Georgia Hospitals Fill With COVID Patients, Urge People to Get Vaccinated

Aug 9, 2021
Georgia residents wait in line Coronavirus vaccines at a public health department vaccination center on Jan. 19, 2021.
Ravi Nessman / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Hospital capacities in Camden and Ware counties are listed as severe and Coastal Georgia Regional Hospital representatives plan a news conference to help residents better understand the “gravity of the situation.”

Armistead Returns as UF Health Jacksonville CEO

Aug 9, 2021
Jacksonville Daily Record

Former UF Health Jacksonville CEO Russell Armistead again will lead the hospital, effective Monday, Aug. 9.

Sydney Boles / WJCT News

A Jacksonville middle schooler has been in the national news for her advocacy on masks in schools.  

Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland Now Home; Wife Hospitalized With COVID-19

Aug 9, 2021

Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland said he was back home as of Sunday morning after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried
News Service of Florida

Florida reported 22,783 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest single day case count since the pandemic started.

Parents, Students Sound Off About Masks to Clay County School Board

Aug 6, 2021
LM Otero / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Several parents and a student stood in front of the Clay County School Board on Thursday to explain why they are either for or against students wearing masks this school year.

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