JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For the latest updates on the virus and its impact on the First Coast, follow this live blog and join our Facebook group, Facts Not Fear: Your Coronavirus Questions Answered.
Links to bookmark:
- List | Schools, events closed or canceled due to coronavirus concerns
- List | Florida universities, colleges move classes online due to coronavirus concerns
- List: Voting location changes, how to vote if you feel sick
- This interactive map shows all reported coronavirus cases in the world
- List: Grocery stores changing hours to stock as customers prep for COVID-19 quarantines
- Florida Department of Health's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard
Wednesday, March 18
5:20 a.m.: Crews begin setting up a testing area near TIAA Bank Feild.
Tuesday, March 17
5 p.m.: The Florida Department of Education is encouraging long-distance learning after announcing Tuesday evening that all campuses within Florida school districts will be closed until April 15 in order to combat the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.
2:30 p.m.: A slowing number of blood donors and businesses willing to host blood drives has led to the blood supply dropping to a "critical level," according to local non-profit blood bank LifeSouth.
11:30 a.m.: White House task force gives update on coronavirus response. Stay tuned for updates.
10:30 a.m.: Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference at the Florida State Capitol on Tuesday announcing that all bars and nightclubs are now suspended for 30 days in Florida beginning at 5 p.m. He is also recommending all online learning for Universities for the remainder of the semester.
8:15 a.m: The groups that give both the ACT and SAT exams announced they are putting off their next nationwide examinations. The SAT exam scheduled for May 2 has been canceled, and makeups for the March 14 exam, scheduled for March 28, have also been canceled.
8 a.m.: The Jacksonville Humane Society is waiving adoption fees for the next several days if you help them out by bringing in pet food.
Monday, March 16
8:15 p.m.: The Florida Department of Health reports 142 Florida residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and that one person who tested positive has died in Orange County.
7 p.m.: Woman in St. Johns County tests positive for COVID-19, according to the Florida Department of Health. Fifth person tests positive for COVID-19 in Duval County.
6:36 p.m.: Ascension St. Vincent's has postponed all elective or non-urgent surgeries. "Because every patient encounter is unique, individual care decisions are made on a case-by-case basis between caregivers and patients. If a provider needs to postpone a procedure or appointment, patients will be appropriately notified," Ascension said in a statement.
5:06 p.m.: St. Vincent's hospitals announce that starting Tuesday at 8 a.m., drive-through testing for COVID-19 will be available at their hospitals.
5 p.m.: Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced TIAA Bank Field parking lots will serve as drive-thru testing site for COVID-19. He also outlined the state's plan to help small businesses impacted financially by the coronavirus. The state will supplement loans from the Small Business Administration to the tune of $50 million in bridge loans.
1:17 p.m.: Florida Department of Health launches new COVID-19 Dashboard, allowing users to track reported coronavirus cases across the state.
12:30 p.m.: The Jacksonville Transportation Authority will shift bus routes to a modified schedule starting on Tuesday for health and safety purposes.
12 p.m.: The Georgia Department of Health reports 121 positive cases of COVID-19 are reported in the state.
11:30 a.m.: Mayor Lenny Curry announced new limits and restrictions on restaurants and bars in Jacksonville until further notice. No more than 50 people will be permitted in any establishment, following CDC recommendations. Curry says this includes churches, large restaurants and others with a maximum capacity above 50. Also, all alcohol sales are banned from midnight to 8 a.m.
10:49 a.m.: Criminal cases are being disrupted in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus on the First Coast. Chief Judge Mark Mahon announced Sunday last night that all felony cases in Judicial District 4 – which includes Clay, Duval and Nassau counties – will be passed until March 30.
9 a.m.: Georgia Department of Drivers Services urges people to use the department's online services at dds.georgia.gov or the "DDS 2 GO" app to conduct their licensing business and not visit in person during the state's public health emergency.
8 a.m.: Wall Street futures trading was halted after markets plunged 5% Sunday after the Fed slashed interest rates.
7:52 a.m.: A clinical trial for a vaccine to protect against the new coronavirus begins Monday, but it will still be at least a year to validate a potential vaccine.
6:30 a.m.: Starbucks announces customers can only get their orders "to go" for at least two weeks to increase social distancing.
12 a.m.: The Florida Department of Health reports the number of Florida residents infected with COVID-19 is at 137.
Sunday, March 15
9:03 p.m.: Jacksonville City Councilman Sam Newby tests positive for coronavirus and is being treated at St. Vincent's Hospital, according to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. Councilman Randy White, who visited Newby at the hospital within the last 48 hours, is self-isolating at home.
7:49 p.m.: Mayo Clinic confirms is it caring for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
7:37 p.m.: Ascension St. Vincent's confirms two patients have tested positive for COVID-19 at the St. Vincent's Clay and Riverside hospitals.
6:30 p.m.: Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis holds news conference about COVID-19 and the state's efforts to combat the spread of the virus. MORE
6 p.m.: Glynn County School System announces schools will be closed March 17 through April 13 due to COVID-19. MORE
4:25 p.m.: Baptist Medical Center South says it is treating its first patient confirmed positive for COVID-19. The patient has been in an isolation room since initially showing symptoms of COVID-19, according to the hospital. The patient is in fair but stable condition.
12:53 p.m.: All Charlton County schools will be closed from March 16 through March 20 due to a person testing positive for COVID-19 in the county. MORE.
12:13 p.m.: Georgia Department of Health confirms 33 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases in the state is now 99. MORE.
8:32 a.m.: Camellia at Deerwood announces one of Duval County's positive COVID-19 cases came from their facility. MORE.
1:37 a.m.: The Florida Department of Health announced 39 new positive cases of COVID-19
Saturday, March 14
8:35 p.m.: Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry tweets two more positive cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Duval County.
6:33 p.m.: Georgia election officials are postponing the state’s March 24 presidential primaries until May because of fears over the coronavirus.
6:24 p.m.: Southeast Georgia Health systems implement stricter visitation policies to lessen the spread of COVID-19. Starting Monday, March 16, the health system will allow visitation hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, according to a news release. Each visitor will be allowed only one visitor at a time and that visitor must be at least 18 years old. Visitors may also be asked to submit to a brief health screening to ensure they do not have coronavirus symptoms.
If a visitor shows signs of illness, they will be asked to leave, according to the release.
3:30 p.m.: Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a news conference in which he announces the Florida Primary will go on as scheduled amid COVID-19 concerns.
DeSantis spoke from the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee and explained the latest measures taken to combat the outbreak.
“I’m moving the EOC to level 1,” he said. “I’m directing the Department of Health to hire extra epidemiologists and other health staff for the duration of the emergency.”
1:00 p.m.: A patient at the Orange Park Medical Center has tested positive for COVID-19. MORE.
12:00 p.m.: Mayors of Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach sign Declaration of Emergency for beaches area. Beaches will remain open.
10:45 a.m.: The number of coronavirus cases in Georgia jumps to 66 overnight, according to Ga. Gov. Brian Kemp.
12:40 a.m.: The Department of Health has confirmed that 25 new individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in Florida. The DOH also said that an Orange County resident who tested positive for COVID-19 while traveling has died in California. MORE.
Friday, March 13
11:21 p.m.: Ga. Gov. Brian Kemp announces Georgia will be under a public health emergency, effective Saturday.
10:54 p.m.: Gov. Brian Kemp tweets that daily numbers relating to coronavirus cases in Georgia will begin updating at midnight at the Georgia Department of Health website.
Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced 1,000 additional COVID-19 test kits have arrived in Florida. He also announced he will be activating a limited number of members of the Florida National Guard that will stage in Camp Blanding to prepare to deploy to any area.
6 p.m.: Georgia's Department of Driver Services (DDS) announces it will be providing a 120-day extension for driver’s license and identification card holders age 60 and older. DDS estimates that more than 36,000 Georgians are eligible for this service.
Customers aged 60 years of age and older whose license or ID card is valid with expiration from March through June 30, 2020, will be automatically mailed an updated card with a 120-day extension.
4:19 p.m.: Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry signs Declaration of Emergency for Duval County.
2:03 p.m.: Naval Hospital Jacksonville is investigating a possible case of COVID-19. NAS Jax released the following statement: "A possible case of the Novel Coronavirus is under investigation at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. The US Navy considers COVID-19 a serious situation and is working with the CDC to ensure proper precautions are being taken."
President Donald Trump has scheduled a 3 p.m. news conference to update the nation on the coronavirus outbreak.
The Duval County Public Schools has scheduled a news conference for 4 p.m.
Noon: Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said he is indefinitely suspending events in city facilities. "All city-owned event venues including TIAA Bank Field, VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Times-Union Performing Arts Center and Prime Osborn Convention Center will remain closed until further notice," Curry said.
Some of the events that will impact include the touring production of Hamilton, Josh Groban and the Jacksonville Symphony.
8 a.m.: The PGA Tour announced Friday morning that it has no plans to reschedule THE PLAYERS Championship after it's cancelation due to coronavirus concerns.
PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan says he’s not aware of any player or staff has been tested for the coronavirus but that 'local health officials' have addressed golfers who had uncertainty, and concerns regarding their families and future travel plans.
Thursday, March 12
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that Florida will order an additional 2,500 test kits for COVID-19. These will help the Florida Department of Health test up to an additional 625,000 people.
DeSantis has also recommended local authorities consider canceling mass gatherings of 1,000 or more, as defined by the CDC. He also suspended non-essential instate and all out-of-state travel for state employees for 30 days.
Ga. Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia Department of Health creates a new daily status report to keep track of coronavirus cases in Georgia. It also lists a break down of cases by age group and sex.
Visitation at all Georgia Department Corrections facilities has been suspended through 4/10/20. Offenders will continue to have access to their loved ones via mail, phone calls, and GOAL devices. The GDC has no known cases of COVID-19, at this time. For more information visit: https://bit.ly/38Kdvv5
The Georgia General Assembly will suspend the 2020 legislative session indefinitely after Friday, March 13, the 29th Legislative Day. The suspension is out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of the health and safety of members, staff and the public given the prevalence of the Coronavirus.
Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and Speaker of the House David Ralston have mutually agreed to suspend the session and resume at a future date to be determined.
The move was to "allow time for USG institutions to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia," the system said. Students on spring break are encouraged not to return to campus.
"Students on campus are asked to depart campus by close of business Friday, March 13, 2020, and to remain away from campus until March 29, 2020," the release said.
10:39 p.m. In Duval County, an 83-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19. He is currently isolated and will remain in isolation until cleared by public health officials. Right now, it is unclear if whether or not this case was travel-related, the Department of Health said.
Meanwhile, a 57-year-old man in Clay County also tested positive for coronavirus. He is also isolated and it is also unclear if this is a travel-related case.
6:04 p.m. St. Augustine Amphitheater and Ponte Vedra Concert Hall is postponing shows scheduled from March 18 to April 1. They are expected to announce rescheduled dates soon. Hold onto tickets. They will be honored for the rescheduled dates. Visit these sites for refund inquiries: www.theamp.com and www.pvconcerthall.com
5:15 p.m. Jacksonville's highly anticipated Brunch and Bloody Mary Festival is being postponed due to concerns over COVID-19, or the coronavirus, organizers announced on social media Thursday. The Brunch Fest, which was supposed to take place on March 22 in Riverside, said it will be postponed until further notice. MORE.
5:03 p.m. The Jacksonville Icemen's league, the ECHL, has suspended the 2019-2020 season as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus until further notice. That includes the home games scheduled for Friday and Saturday and a road game at South Carolina Sunday.
4:06 p.m. Major League Baseball teams and Minor League Baseball teams will delay the start of the 2020 Championship Season. This results in a delay in the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp's season.
"The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are fully supportive of Minor League Baseball's decision to suspend the beginning of the 2020 season. The health and safety of our fans, players, staff and partners will always be our top priority. We will communicate additional details as soon as they become available in this continually-evolving situation."
3:31 p.m. The Florida Department of Corrections has suspended visitation at all state prisons. MORE.
1:08 p.m. Sen. Rick Scott is self-quarantining after potential contact with a Brazilian delegation member who tested positive for the coronavirus.
“My office was alerted today by the Brazilian Embassy that a member of President Bolsonaro’s delegation tested positive for Coronavirus. On Monday, I met with the President in Miami, and while I do not believe I interacted with the infected person, that individual was in the same room as me. The Embassy said the person had no symptoms leading up to or the day of the conference. After consulting with the Senate’s attending physician and my personal doctor, I have been told that my risk is low, and I don’t need to take a test or quarantine. However, the health and safety of the American people is my focus and I have made the decision to self-quarantine in an abundance of caution. I am feeling healthy and not experiencing any symptoms at this time. I will still be working on my plan to combat Coronavirus and protect American families, and my offices in D.C. and throughout the state will still be fully operational to help Floridians.”
12:39 p.m. The first Georgia coronavirus death was reported out of Cobb County. The victim was a 67-year-old man who had been hospitalized at WellStar Kennestone. MORE.
11:38 a.m. The PGA TOUR will carry on the next couple of events including THE PLAYERS Championship without spectators. MORE.
10:15 a.m.: Four firefighters with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department are self-quarantining after attending the same conference as a man who tested positive for COVID-19, according to the City of Jacksonville. MORE.
9 a.m.: UNF has decided to cancel all large scale events and campus tours for at least the next three weeks until April 5. Click here for LIVE university and college updates.
12:17 p.m.: The PGA Tour released a statement saying fans will not be allowed in TPC Sawgrass for the final three days of The Players Championship
"The PGA TOUR is aware of rapidly changing developments regarding COVID-19. With the information currently available, THE PLAYERS Championship will continue as scheduled, although we will absolutely continue to review recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and local health administrations. This is obviously a very fluid situation that requires constant review, communication and transparency, and we are dedicated to all three aspects. The PGA TOUR will provide an additional update by 12 p.m. ET on Thursday.
In the meantime, players in the field have been notified to be prepared to play round 1, as scheduled.
Fans who no longer wish to attend THE PLAYERS Championship may request a refund or exchange; details on how to do so will be announced shortly. Please visit PGATOUR.COM/THEPLAYERS for more information."
Wednesday, March 11
9:26 p.m.: A 63-year-old man from New York who is in St. Johns County has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an update from the Florida Department of Health. The department says he is isolated and will remain so until he is cleared by public health officials. The man traveled from New York to attend Daytona Bike Week.
5:17 p.m.: Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp releases statement regarding coronavirus concerns:
“The Jumbo Shrimp continue to monitor the situation regarding COVID-19 very carefully, and the safety and health of both our fans and staff remain our top priority. We will continue to watch the news and assess the guidance we receive from public health authorities and city and state officials. In the meantime, fans can rest assured that all events at 121 Financial Ballpark are still on as scheduled and we are hard at work getting ready for Opening Day on April 15.”
5:16 p.m.: Ten students and two faculty members at the University of Florida's journalism school are self-quarantining after an attendee at a national journalism conference they went to tested positive for COVID-19.
4 p.m.: The Board of County Commissioners in Nassau County called for a Special Meeting Wednesday to provide a briefing on COVID-19 (Coronavirus). At the same time, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference at the Florida State Capitol to speak about the virus.
3:29 p.m.: The University of Florida moves all its classes to online amid coronavirus concerns. The transition must be complete no later than Monday, according to an announcement by Associate Provost for Teaching and Technology Andy McCollough.
11 a.m.: Jacksonville family quarantined in Italy during coronavirus outbreak speaks to First Coast News.
12:42 p.m.: Charlton County woman tests preliminarily positive in Camden County for COVID-19. The woman is 29 years old and was diagnosed days after reporting respiratory symptoms.
Tuesday, March 10
10:42 p.m.: Nassau County man tests positive for COVID-19. The man is identified as being 68-years-old and a travel-related case.
Monday, March 9
6:50 p.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency amid the coronavirus outbreak.
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