Florida COVID-19 Cases Jump to 9,585; 163 Deaths
Friday, April 3, at 11 a.m.
Florida health officials added 577 new COVID-19 cases to the state's total overnight, bringing the new number to 9,585. So far, 163 Floridians have died from the virus and 1,215 are hospitalized. In Manatee County, there are 94 cases; in Sarasota County, 118. Four Sarasota County residents died yesterday. Click here to see more.
Florida Records 9,008 COVID-19 Cases Between 11 A.M. and 6 P.M., a 998-Case Increase; Global COVID-19 Cases Break the 1 Million Mark
Thursday, April 2, at 6 p.m.
Florida health officials added 998 new COVID-19 cases to the states total between its 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. updates today, bringing the new number to 9,008. As of this evening, 144 Floridians have died from the virus, and another 1,167 have been hospitalized. The grim numbers come as the White House and the CDC are reevaluating the need for Americans to wear masks when they go outside, and global COVID-19 cases broke the 1 million mark. Click here to read more.
Florida Adds More Than 1,000 COVID-19 Cases in 24-Hour Period
Thursday, April 2, at 3 p.m.
Between 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 1, and 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 2, Florida recorded 1,055 positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the state's total to 8,010. So far, 128 people have died as a result of the disease, and 1,058 people are currently hospitalized. In Manatee County, there are 73 cases; in Sarasota County, there are 100 cases. Click here for more information.
What Does DeSantis's Safer-at-Home Order Actually Mean?
Thursday, April 2, at 2 p.m.
Does it change anything? If you’ve been working from home and only going out to the grocery store or pharmacy, and taking a run in your neighborhood that keeps you away from others, you’re already complying with the new safer-at-home order. It’s not forcing people to stay at home, and it’s not technically an order at all—at least not according to Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight. Click here to read more.
U.S. Unemployment Claims Spike to Shocking 6.6 Million
Thursday, April 2, at 9:15 a.m.
According to new data, nearly 10 million people have filed unemployment claims over the past two weeks due to the crushing economic ramifications of COVID-19. Click here to read more.
Facing Rising National Pressure, DeSantis Issues Stay-at-Home Order
Wednesday, April 1, at 2:30 p.m.
After days of resisting shutting down non-essential businesses, Gov. DeSantis’ order will take effect Thursday, April 2, at midnight. Click here to read more.
Florida Reports 6,955 COVID-19 Cases Wednesday Morning, Fifth Highest Number in U.S.
Wednesday, April 1, at 12:30 p.m.
We wish this were an April Fool's joke, but it's not: COVID-19 cases in Florida continue to rise, as do infections in Sarasota and Manatee counties. This morning, the Florida Department of Health reported 6,955 cases, a 214-case jump from last night's numbers. In Sarasota County, there are 82 cases; in Manatee County, there are 58. Click here for more information.
Florida COVID-19 Cases Increase to 6,741; National Models Forecast High U.S. Toll
Tuesday, March 31, at 8 p.m.
Florida's COVID-19 cases jumped by 403 people between the Florida Department of Health's 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. updates; in Sarasota County, there are 76 cases and in Manatee County, there are 53. Florida now has the fifth-highest number of cases in the U.S., behind New York, New Jersey, California and Michigan. According to the New York Times, new data from the scientists leading the Trump administration's coronavirus efforts have estimated the virus could kill between 100,000 and 240,000 in the United States—and that as many as 25 percent of infected people may not show symptoms. Click here to see more.
Anonymous Donor Gives $500,000 to Manatee Community Foundation for COVID-19 Relief
Tuesday, March 31, at 4:30 p.m.
CareerEdge Partners With STC To Launch Student Internship Program
Tuesday, March 31, at 3:45 p.m.
Responding to the evolving needs during this time, CareerEdge adapted its Intern Reimbursement program model to make funding for this program possible during the pandemic. Click here to read more.
Florida COVID-19 Cases Spike to 6,338
Tuesday, March 31, at 11 a.m.
The Florida Department of Health reported 865 new COVID-19 cases in its 11 a.m. update, including 71 in Sarasota and 48 in Manatee County. There have been 77 deaths so far; 772 people are hospitalized. Click here to see more.
Florida COVID-19 Cases Increase by 231
Monday, March 30, at 6 p.m.
Florida's number of COVID-19 cases increased by 231 between the Florida Department of Health's 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. updates, from 5,473 to 5,704. The state also recorded eight more deaths today; 715 people are hospitalized. Click here to see more.
In Response to COVID-19, USF Sarasota-Manatee Campus Unveils Food Pantry to Help Students
Monday, March 30, at 5 p.m.
The university is also making additional social services available. Click here to read more.
Sarasota County Updates Residents on the Latest COVID-19 Precautions
Monday, March 30, at 4:40 p.m.
Is Anyone Hiring Right Now?
Monday, March 30, at 1 p.m.
Florida Breaks 5,000-Case Mark, Records 63 Deaths
Monday, March 30, at 11 a.m.
This morning Florida recorded 5,473 positive COVID-19 cases, a jump of 523 cases overnight. In Sarasota County, 61 cases have been reported; in Manatee County, 39. There have been 63 deaths from the virus so far. Click here to see more.
Florida Adds More Than 1,500 New COVID-19 Cases Over the Weekend; Bringing Total to 4,950
Sunday, March 29, at 11:30 p.m.
Between Friday evening and Sunday evening, Florida recorded 1,752 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the state's total to 4,950, one of the highest in the U.S. There have been 60 deaths in the state due to the virus, and 633 people are currently hospitalized. In Sarasota County, there are 61 cases; in Manatee, there are 38.
In the U.S., more than 2,300 people have died, and cases broke the 140,000 mark. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert, grimly predicted that the death toll could reach a staggering 200,000; meanwhile, President Trump backed off his assertion that the U.S. economy would be back up and running at full strength by Easter and extended social distancing guidelines through the end of April. Click here to see more.
Florida Records 3,198 COVID-19 Cases; U.S. Breaks 100,000-Case Mark
Friday, March 27, at 7 p.m.
Florida recorded 2,900 COVID-19 cases Friday morning, according to the state department of health; 456 of those cases are currently hospitalized. There have been 34 deaths so far. Manatee County currently has 28 cases; Sarasota has 40. The Orlando Sentinel reported this morning that COVID-19 fatalities are doubling approximately every four days; this week alone, the state has reported 1,729 new cases. Click here to see more.
Florida COVID-19 Cases Creep Closer to 3,000 Mark.
Friday, March 27, at 11 a.m.
Florida recorded 3,198 COVID-19 cases Friday night, according to the state department of health—a jump of 714 cases between the 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. updates. Of those cases, 503 are currently hospitalized. There have been 46 deaths so far. Manatee County currently has 29 cases; Sarasota County has 43. Click here to see more.
Congress Passes $2.2 Trillion Relief Bill, the Largest in U.S. History
Friday, March 27, at 4 p.m.
Is help on the way? Congress passed its $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act; President Trump signed it into law this afternoon. Click here to see our rundown of the bill.
Florida Records 2,484 COVID-19 Cases Thursday Night as U.S. Tops the World in Cases
Thursday, March 26, at 7 p.m.
Florida reported 129 more COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the state's total cases to 2,484. The news came at the same time that the New York Times reported that the U.S. has more COVID-19 cases than anywhere else in the world, including China, Italy and Spain; nationally, there are 81,321 known cases, and more than 1,000 deaths. In Sarasota County, there are currently 34 cases, and in Manatee County there are 24 cases. The state is currently monitoring 1,655 people; there have been 28 deaths. Click here to see more.
COVID-19 Cases Increase by 378 Between Wednesday Night, Thursday Morning
Thursday, March 26, at 11:20 a.m.
According to the Florida Department of Health, positive cases of COVID-19 jumped to 2,355 on Thursday morning—an increase of 378 cases from the night before. There are currently 1,655 people being monitored, and 23 people have died as a result of the disease.
In Sarasota County, there are currently 34 positive COVID-19 patients; 11 of those cases are travel-related, 20 are non-travel-related and three are of unknown origin. In Manatee County there are currently 24 patients; five are travel-related, 16 are non-travel-related and three are of unknown origin. Click here to see more.
Florida COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise
Wednesday, March 25, at 6 p.m.
Florida recorded 295 more confirmed COVID-19 cases today between the Florida Department of Health's 11 a.m. and the 6 p.m. updates. Cases in Manatee County rose to 26; in Sarasota, there are now 32 cases. Click here to read more.
New Dates Announced for RCLA Town Hall Lectures
Wednesday, March 25, at 12:45 p.m.
Speakers Lisa Genova and Annie Leibovitz will now appear in the series this fall. Click here to read more.
'There Aren't Enough Tests': One Sarasota Native's Experience With COVID-19
Wednesday, March 25, at 12 p.m.
While returning to Sarasota from Egypt, Kirstin Whitmire began to develop a fever and a sore throat. At first, she thought it was just stress and exhaustion. Click here to read more.
Florida Records 1,682 COVID-19 Cases; 22 in Manatee County and 27 in Sarasota
Wednesday, March 25 at 11 a.m.
As of the 11 a.m. update from the Florida Department of Health, Florida COVID-19 cases have jumped to 1,682 (a 270-case increase from yesterday), with 22 confirmed cases in Manatee County and 27 confirmed cases in Sarasota County. There have been 22 deaths in the state since the outbreak began, including award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, who passed away at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Click here to read more.
Feel Better: Five Tips For Being Mindful
Wednesday, March 25, at 10 a.m.
The growing intensity of the coronavirus crisis has resulted in a lot of stress. Writer Heather Dunhill shares five easy ways to feel better in as little as five minutes. Click here to read more.
Jewels on the Bay Designer Showhouse Will Close Early
Tuesday, March 24, at 10 p.m.
The 25th annual showhouse was to run through April 12. Click here to read more.
City's Playgrounds, Parks to Close Wednesday
Tuesday, March 24, at 9:20 p.m.
Outdoor park areas will remain open for walking, jogging and exercise; however, citizens are urged to follow guidelines about social distancing and public gatherings. Click here to read more.
Award-Winning Playwright Terrence McNally Passes Away in Sarasota
Tuesday, March 24, at 4 p.m.
The five-time Tony winner, a part-time Sarasota resident, died Tuesday at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Click here to read more.
Van Wezel, WBTT and Sarasota Orchestra Announce Changes
Tuesday, March 24, at 1:15 p.m.
More cancellations and rescheduling due to COVID-19. Click here to read more.
How are You Social Distancing From Your Little Ones?
Tuesday, March 24, at 12 p.m.
How are you connecting with your little ones at a social distance? Senior editor Ilene Denton weighs in. Click here to read more.
Florida COVID-19 Cases Hit 1,412; 16 in Manatee and 21 in Sarasota
Tuesday, March 24, at 11 a.m.
As of the 11 a.m. update from the Florida Department of Health, Florida COVID-19 cases have jumped to 1,412, with 16 confirmed cases in Manatee County and 21 confirmed cases in Sarasota County. There have been 18 deaths in the state since the outbreak began. Click here to read more.
Florida COVID-19 Cases Hit 1,171; 15 in Manatee and 19 in Sarasota
Monday, March 23, at 1 p.m.
Between Friday and Monday, Florida's confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 635 people, jumping from 563 on Friday afternoon to 1,171 as of Monday's 11 a.m. update. In Sarasota County, there are 19 confirmed cases; in Manatee County, there are 15.
Florida State Parks to Close
Monday, March 23, at 12:01 a.m.
Limiting hours and reducing visitor capacity have not resulted in the reductions needed to protect public health, park leadership said. Click here to read more.
Florida Coronavirus Cases Are at 563; 11 Deaths Reported
Friday, March 20, at 6 p.m.
As of Friday evening, the Florida Department of Health has reported 563 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida—a 43-case increase from yesterday evening's report. There have been 11 deaths; a total of 1,049 people are currently being monitored.
In Sarasota County, there are eight people with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses (six men and two women). In Manatee County, there are currently 10 cases (five men and five women). Click here to see a dashboard with the most up-to-date statistics.
DeSantis Issues Executive Orders Prohibiting On-Site Dining and Elective Surgeries; Fitness Centers to Close
Friday, March 20, at 5:30 p.m.
Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order today ordering all restaurants and food establishments to halt on-site dining; this is an extension of a previous order that directed them to keep dining rooms at 50 percent capacity. He also ordered gyms and fitness centers to shutter to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Click here to read more.
DeSantis also issued an executive order prohibiting elective medical procedures; these are defined as “medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedures or surgery which, if delayed, does not place a patient’s immediate health, safety or wellbeing at risk.” Click here to read more.
How to Support the Arts—Remotely
Friday, March 20, at 4 p.m.
Arts editor Kay Kipling shares some suggestions for your virtual experience, as local organizations work to keep the arts coming. Click here to read more.
Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation Approves More Than $1 Million in Funding to Fight COVID-19
Friday, March 20, at 12 p.m.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of 10 Floridians and sickened 17 people in Sarasota-Manatee, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation has approved a supplemental grant to Sarasota Memorial Hospital of more than $1 million to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Funds will be used to bolster equipment currently in use at the hospital, enhance cleaning and infection control, and assist hospital staff. Click here to read more.
Florida COVID-19 Cases Jump to 520; 17 in Sarasota-Manatee
Friday, March 20, at 12 p.m.
As of Friday morning, the Florida Department of Health has reported 520 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida—an 88-case increase from yesterday evening's report. There have been 10 deaths; a total of 1,009 people are currently being monitored.
Three more cases have been reported in Sarasota County, bringing the total to eight people (five men and three women). In Manatee County, there are currently nine cases (five men and four women). Click here to see a dashboard with the most up-to-date statistics.
Meals on Wheels Services Confront Rising Needs Caused By COVID-19
Friday, March 20, at 10:30 a.m.
Meals on Wheels of Sarasota typically prepares around 600 meals each day and delivers them to 900 or so individuals each month. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, those numbers are rising. In Manatee County, the situation is similar. “We are seeing a huge increase in needs,” says Amy Towery, the vice president of development at Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, which serves homebound and disabled individuals in Manatee County. Click here to read more.
Florida Nears 400 Positive COVID-19 Cases; 15 in Sarasota-Manatee
Thursday, March 19 at 11 p.m.
As of 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, 393 Floridians have tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus). Thirty-nine non-Florida residents have tested positive, making 432 confirmed positive cases in the state. There have been nine deaths so far. A total of 1,005 people are currently being monitored.
Of those 432 cases, nine are in Manatee County (five men and four women) and six are in Sarasota (four men and two women). In Sarasota, there are 67 pending tests; in Manatee, there are 15 pending tests. Click here to see a dashboard with the most up-to-date statistics.
Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources Facilities Are Closed Through April 12
March 19 at 9 p.m.
Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources will remain closed through the beginning of April; all physical material due dates are extended for the duration of the closure, although library exterior book drops remain open for returns. The libraries' digital catalog is available 24/7 and allows library cardholders access to download books and magazines, and stream movies, TV and music. For more information, click here.
Sarasota, Manatee Beaches to Close
Thursday, March 19, at 5 p.m.
Sarasota and Manatee counties have announced that local beaches will close this weekend. Manatee County beaches will close at 6 a.m. on Friday morning and Sarasota County beaches at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning. Click here to read more.
Distilleries Shift to Producing Hand Sanitizer
Thursday, March 19, at 11 a.m.
In response to the hand sanitizer shortage due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Loaded Cannon Distillery, Darwin Brewing Company and Drum Circle Distilling have begun producing hand sanitizer to provide to healthcare providers, first responders and the public. Click here to read more.
Organizations Cancel Events in Face of Coronavirus Outbreak
Thursday, March 19, at 4 p.m.
Sarasota County libraries have closed until further notice, but will offer curbside drop-off and pick-up. Digital services are available 24/7.
The Ringling is closed until further notice.
Selby Gardens is closed until further notice.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is closed until further notice.
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall performances have been suspended through March 31, effective immediately.
Asolo Repertory Theatre has cancelled the remainder of its season.
Sarasota Ballet has cancelled the remainder of its season.
Florida Studio Theatre has cancelled the remainder of its 2020 winter season.
Urbanite Theatre's production schedule is on hold.
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has closed its production of Your Arms Too Short to Box with God; word is still to come concerning its world premiere musical Ruby, set to open later in April, and beyond.
The Bishop Museum has closed until March 31.
Historic Spanish Point has closed until further notice.
Sarasota Magazine has postponed our annual Best of Sarasota party on March 30; the party will be rescheduled for the fall.
The Manatee Performing Arts Center has suspended all performances, classes and events, effective immediately.
The Players Centre for Performing Arts is cancelling the following events through April 18: Anything Goes (March. 25-April 12); Pioneers of Rock 'n' Soul with Billy Buchanan (March 27); Could It Be Magic with Brian Gurl (April 3, 2020); Walk Through Wednesday (April 8); Summer Sizzler Auditions (April 11, 2020); Players Follies: Jukebox Reunion (April 17); and That’s Entertainment: The Players 90th Birthday Celebration (April 18)
McCurdy's Comedy Theatre is closed until further notice.
The Shamrock Pub has cancelled its 12th annual St. Patrick's Day block party.
The Sarasota Film Festival, scheduled for March 27-April 5, has been cancelled.
The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee announced today that it is postponing its 11th annual Milman-Kover Family Jewish Film Festival, effective immediately. The postponement includes all movie screenings and any special events between March 12 and March 22.
The Sarasota Architectural Foundation has postponed its slate of events and monthly home tours until further notice.
Bookstore1Sarasota has postponed its March and April events, except for book clubs, and is offering curbside pick-up for shoppers.
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is rescheduling its March 30 April Fool's Day event to May 18.
Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation's Women in Medicine event has been postponed until March 26, 2021.
The Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) has cancelled its 40th anniversary SPARCCle in the City gala; its silent auction bidding will remain open from March 30 through April 3.
Ringling College of Art and Design will postpone its annual Avant Garde gala until the fall, and will let supporters and ticket holders know once a new date has been chosen.
Florida Winefest has moved its annual festival to October 29-Nov. 2.
Sunshine From Darkness is postponing its Journey to Wellness symposium and Inspiring Hope dinner until next winter.
Ringling College of Art and Design has decided to cancel its Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Studio + Digital Arts classes beginning March 16 through May 1, 2020.
Wine Walk at Ca d'Zan at the Ringling Museum has been cancelled.
The Women’s Resource Center has cancelled its “career connections” event on March 25.
The Sarasota World Dance Festival is postponing its April 4 event to a future date.
The Sarasota Opera is suspending performances immediately.
The Sarasota County Fair has been cancelled.
This list is developing; stay tuned for more updates.
State of Florida, Small Business Administration Activate Emergency Loan Programs
Thursday, March 18, at 5 p.m.
The Small Business Administration is offering Economic Disaster Injury Loans of up to $2 million for Florida’s small businesses and nonprofits. Click here to read more.
Florida has activated its bridge loan program, which offers short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experience economic injury from COVID-19. Click here to read more.
City of Sarasota Extends Public Health Emergency
Wednesday, March 18, at 3 p.m.
The City of Sarasota declared a public health emergency in the face of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. In a release, the city said that all gatherings of 10 or more people within the city limits are prohibited. The declaration was made in order to continue to protect the health and safety of the community and position the City to qualify for possible state or federal funds for losses associated with COVID-19.
DeSantis Orders Bars and Night Clubs to Close, Restaurants to Operate at Half Capacity
Tuesday, March 17, at 11:45 a.m.
In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus)—the highly contagious disease that has now claimed the lives of nine Floridians—Gov. Ron DeSantis this morning announced that bars and nightclubs throughout the state should close for at least 30 days, and that restaurants should operate at half capacity during that same time period. Click here to read more.
Hospice, Retirement Communities Implement Coronavirus Precautions
Sunday, March 16, at 9 p.m.
Amid growing concern about the spread of the novel coronavirus, and the increased risk for the elderly and immunocompromised, local caregiving communities and organizations are taking extra measures to protect Sarasota’s older residents. Precautions include canceling meetings and activities, limiting visitors, and even screening people as they enter campuses and facilities. Click here to read more.
Major League Baseball Suspends Spring Training, Delays Season Opening
Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that the league has decided to cancel the remainder of its spring training games and postpone the start of the 2020 season in response to the U.S. coronavirus outbreak. In a release, MLB officials said, “This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, clubs and our millions of loyal fans.” In Sarasota and Manatee counties, the news affects the Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves. Click here to read more.
New York Times Says Sarasota Memorial Hospital Has 'More Than 30 Patients in Isolation'
Wednesday, March 11, at 12 p.m.
A New York Times update about COVID-19 (coronavirus) yesterday included an image of Sarasota Memorial Hospital physician Amanda LaPlante wearing a mask with a caption stating, "Amanda LaPlante, is an internal medicine physician at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida. The facility has more than 30 patients in isolation." Another image from this morning's Times coronavirus update featured paramedic Nikki Ricciardi screening patients before they enter the emergency room.
However, the hospital is quick to clarify that it's not unusual to have patients in isolation if they have the flu or other respiratory symptoms and infectious diseases, and that it has no positive or presumptive coronavirus cases at this time.
"We continue to test people daily for the flu and other respiratory viruses to rule out COVID-19," explains SMH public information officer Kim Savage. "If those tests come back negative, we submit samples to the state public health labs for COVID-19 testing. Since testing began in our region this month, we have sent about 50 samples, and all have come back negative."
The hospital has set up a coronavirus hub on its website to provide staff, local healthcare providers, local nursing homes and others in the community with information and guidance about COVID-19. It also created a public coronavirus hotline—(941)-917-8799—and its infection prevention team and hospital leaders are meeting frequently throughout the day to ensure anyone with a suspect illness or travel history is properly identified, isolated and cared for.
Coronavirus Is Here. Here's How to Prevent Its Spread.
March 2 at 3 p.m.
According to the Florida Department of Health, coronavirus can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, such as when someone coughs or sneezes. The droplets may land on objects and surfaces, and other people can contract the disease by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Symptoms of coronavirus are fever, cough and shortness of breath; they may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover without needing special treatment—however, the elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.
Both the state department of health and the governor’s office say coronavirus’ threat to the public remains low, emphasizing that everyday preventative actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory infections. They include:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
- Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with people in poor health;
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue;
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty; and
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.