JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — NOTE ABOUT CORONAVIRUS DAILY UPDATES LIVE BLOG: First Coast News has discontinued its daily coronavirus live blog starting 5/8/20.
Daily updates can be found on our main page at firstcoastnews.com.
- List | Schools, events closed or canceled due to coronavirus concerns
- List | Florida universities, colleges move classes online due to coronavirus concerns
- List | First Coast nursing homes with positive COVID-19 cases
- This interactive map shows all reported coronavirus cases in the world
- Top 8 questions about the coronavirus pandemic
Thursday, May 7
9:43 a.m.: The Pentagon is considering barring recruits from joining the military if they have been hospitalized by the coronavirus unless the person is granted a waiver from the branch they are trying to join, according to reports from CNN and Fox News.
9 a.m.: Nearly 3.2 million workers applied for unemployment last week, raising the total layoffs since the coronavirus struck to 33 million.
Wednesday, May 6
1:00 p.m.: The Archdiocese of St. Augustine will reopen churches for mass the weekend of May 16 with capacity restrictions.
12:15 p.m.: A New York congresswoman has proposed forgiving student loan debt for health care workers treating coronavirus patients on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic.
11 a.m.: Gov. Desantis says antibody testing will be coming to Jacksonville soon and will take likely take place at the state testing facility at Lot J. He said they will add a lane to the already established site for those specifically looking to get tested for COVID-19 antibodies.
9:57 a.m.: On Wednesday, the Blue Angels announced on Twitter that they will soar over both Jacksonville and Miami this Friday, May 8. This comes as part of the 'America Stong' initiative started by President Trump. The 20-minute flight path begins at Mayport and ends near Fleming Island.
8:25 a.m.: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing for another stimulus package with more direct payments to individuals, unemployment insurance and small businesses, and help to state and local governments.
Tuesday, May 5
8 p.m.: During an exclusive interview with ABC News' "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir in Arizona, President Trump was asked what he would say to families who lost loved ones to the coronavirus pandemic.
He said, "I want to say, ‘I love you.' I want to say that we're doing everything we can."
12:10 p.m.: During a news conference Tuesday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced details when it comes to the reopening of Duval County beaches and the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
Starting Wednesday, all beach restrictions will be lifted. Curry said there will no longer be restrictions on hours or on activities "to allow our residents to enjoy the beach line."
Curry announced that the Jacksonville zoo will be reopening with safety measures in place starting this weekend.
11:30 a.m.: Gov. Ron DeSantis visited a testing site in Sarasota to give an update regarding the state's COVID-19 response.
During the press conference, DeSantis said that the state has received 200,000 COVID-19 antibody tests that are being distributed throughout the state.
He also said he's working with his wife, First Lady Casey DeSantis, to lift all limits on behavioral health and mental services through Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic. He says this will help lift the burden placed on many individuals with mental health issues during these tough times.
DeSantis says his team will unveil detailed plans regarding a mobile testing lab that will be deployed in the state starting this week.
7 a.m.: There have been 1.18 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 7 a.m. Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been nearly 69,000 deaths and more than 187,000 people recovered.
Monday, May 4
6 p.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said there will be an investigation into the state's unemployment system, CONNECT, which became a source of frustration for thousands of Floridians seeking unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeSantis said during a news conference at least $77 million went into the existing CONNECT system. While it has been plagued with issues throughout the years, the governor said the largest problem in the past several weeks has been the amount of traffic coming into the system.
DeSantis said he will direct Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel to investigate how the CONNECT system was paid for and to look over the different amendments in the contract.
11:03 a.m.: Carnival Cruise Line on Monday announced its plans to phase a few North American services this summer, starting on August 1.
Eight ships will be departing from Miami, Port Canaveral and Galveston.
8:37 a.m.: Global stock markets dropped on Monday as tensions between the Trump administration and China over the origins and handling of the coronavirus pandemic rattled investors.
Sunday, May 3
1:30 p.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave a coronavirus update Sunday afternoon from Daytona Beach.
During the news conference, DeSantis said the state received 200,000 COVID-19 anti-body tests early Sunday morning. They will be distributed throughout the state "in the coming days," according to the governor.
A mobile testing lab will be deployed in the state starting this week. The lab will provide 45-minute rapid tests. 3,500 tests will be available each week. The governor said long term care facilities will be serviced by the lab first.
Saturday, May 2
1 p.m.: Florida Gov. DeSantis discussed the eventual reopening of Florida salons and barbershops, saying it's "not a matter of if, but when."
Friday, May 1
11 a.m.: DeSantis announced that state parks will reopen starting next week under his 'Phase One' reopening plan. He also praised Mayor Curry who "has done a fantastic job" in making level headed and fact-based decisions despite outside criticism.
2 p.m.: Gov. DeSantis had his second news conference of the day in Pensacola, Florida where he gave an update on the state's COVID-19 response and spoke about the continued focus on protecting long-term care facilities from the coronavirus.
Thursday, April 30
4:39 p.m.: St. Johns County will reopen its beaches without restrictions, but with social distancing guidelines in place, beginning Monday, May 4.
3:43 p.m.: All Nassau County beaches, including Fernandina Beach, will reopen Monday morning at 6 with no restrictions. Six-foot social distancing measures will apply.
8:40 a.m.: Roughly 30.3 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the six weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors and slash their workforces.
That's more people than live in the New York and Chicago metropolitan areas combined, and it’s by far the worst string of layoffs on record.
Wednesday, April 29
5 p.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced phase one of reopening Florida will begin May 4.
For now, the reopening process will exclude southeast Florida counties, namely Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, which have seen the highest rates of COVID-19 in the state.
2:25 p.m.: Fernandina Beach will reopen city beaches Monday, May 4, at 6 a.m. with no restrictions, according to a Facebook post by the City of Fernandina Beach Government. Beachgoers will still be required to comply with appropriate social distancing measures.
11:44 a.m.: With his safer-at-home set to expire Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to make an announcement on Wednesday regarding the reopening of the state's economy. At this time, it's not clear what time the announcement will take place.
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9:01 a.m.: Effective immediately, Flagler County is lifting all beach limitations implemented due to COVID-19 - with the exception of social distancing.
7:13 a.m.: College and university students across the state of Florida are being reimbursed for amenities they may not have been able to use due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tuesday, April 28
1:26 p.m.: Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced that Duval County beaches are going to be reopening all day starting next week, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., but beachgoers will still have to follow social distancing restrictions.
"Only recreational activities consistent with social distancing will be permitted," Curry said. "This is not the time to gather in groups, this is for exercise."
Curry also said people are not allowed to sunbathe, have blankets, chairs or coolers.
11:30 a.m.: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted that President Donald Trump will hold a joint live news conference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 11:30 a.m., but that has now been changed to a meeting in the Oval Office.
7 a.m.: The U.S. is likely to reach 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases Tuesday.
6:38 a.m.: President Donald Trump says states shold “seriously consider” reopening their public schools before the end of the academic year, even though dozens already have said it would be unsafe for students to return until the summer or fall.
Monday, April 27
12:10 p.m. On Monday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry told restaurants, lodging and retail owners to start thinking about how their businesses can follow CDC guidelines for when the city reopens "in the near future."
"Today is simply a statement to begin preparing and think about how you are going to be able to incorporate these things [CDC guidelines]," Curry said.
8:20 a.m.: There were more than 965,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States around 8:20 a.m. Eastern on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 54,000 deaths in the U.S. and more than 207,000 deaths worldwide.
7:19 a.m.: Catching a movie or dining-in for a meal can be done starting Monday in Georgia but some businesses are choosing not to open.
Sunday, April 26
1 p.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference regarding COVID-19. DeSantis said testing has ramped up in the last few weeks, saying "close to 340,000 individuals that have been tested."
He also noted that the rate of positive COVID-19 cases has declined.
"If you look in the state of Florida in terms of the testing, the most new Florida cases that we've had was on April 3. There were 1,317 new Florida cases," he said. "That day the total number of tests that were received was 11,725. So that's a positivity rate that isn't New York level, or Boston, or some of these other places. But that's between 10 and 15%, right. If you look at yesterday, we had 823 new Florida cases reported, out of 19,342 cases. So the positivity rate for the new Florida cases compared to the tests that had been done on people that had not already tested positive was about 4.5%. So that's a very low positivity rate."
Saturday, April 25
9 a.m.: The Re-Open Florida Task Force today launched a public comment submission portal open to all Floridians.
Floridians may submit feedback on any topic related to the re-opening of Florida’s economy. This includes the impacts to small businesses, healthcare, education, tourism, agriculture, retail, recreation and sports and construction.
Friday, April 24
4:45 p.m. During a press conference, Friday Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he has directed state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to allow licensed pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests. This change comes in an effort to expand testing across the state
"We've got to figure out ways to make it as simple and accessible as possible," DeSantis said.
12:52 p.m.: President Donald Trump signed a $484 billion bill Friday to aid employers and hospitals under stress from the coronavirus pandemic. The bill is the latest effort by the federal government to help keep afloat businesses that have had to close or dramatically alter their operations as states try to slow the spread of the virus.
9:30 a.m.: The state unemployment website shuts down Friday with a message stating it will reopen Monday. The website has been a highly publicized disaster since newly unemployed Floridians began flooding the filing portal in March.
7:50 a.m.: President Donald Trump will be holding a signing ceremony Friday for a bill providing a nearly $500 billion infusion of coronavirus spending, rushing new relief to employers and hospitals buckling under the strain of a pandemic that has claimed almost 50,000 American lives and one in six U.S. jobs.
7 a.m.: There were more than 869,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States around 1 a.m. Friday.
Thursday, April 23
12:33 p.m.: Glynn and Camden County reporting first coronavirus related deaths. The individuals were 76 years old and 45 years old.
12:10 p.m.: Mayor Lenny Curry held a news conference to provide information about a new, local stimulus package that will provide financial assistance to Jacksonville residents.
7 a.m.: There were more than 842,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States around 7 a.m. Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Wednesday, April 22
4:45 p.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis praised Jacksonville for its handling of the pandemic. DeSantis specifically mentioned Lenny Curry and addressed the #FloridaMoron trend that has swept through social media in light of the beaches reopening.
"My hat's off to Mayor Curry," the governor said. "My hat’s off to the people of Jacksonville in Northeast Florida for doing a great job. And for those who say you’re morons, I would take you over the folks who are criticizing you any day of the week and twice on Sunday."
1 p.m. On Wednesday, Clay County officials announced that they will be postponing graduation for high school seniors from May to July, but a specific date hasn't been set.
"We believe it is important to have a traditional graduation ceremony," one official said. He added that the ceremony will have to follow CDC guidelines and regulations that are in place at that time.
9:20 a.m.: Flagler County will allow for reopening its beaches Wednesday on a limited basis for physical and mental health activities. The Nassau County Board of County Commissioners will decide Wednesday morning whether to reopen county beaches.
8:17 a.m.: During a radio interview, Attorney General William Barr discussed the state's "stay-at-home" restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic. He claimed some orders were "disturbingly close to house arrest." Barr said he will consider legal action if governors start to civil liberty restrictions "too far."
Tuesday, April 21
4:30 p.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says Florida has flattened the curve in the fight against COVID-19. He also announced 4 million more N95 masks are coming to Florida health care workers in long-term health care facilities.
9:15 a.m.: Starting Tuesday, all Florida SNAP customers can use their EBT cards to purchase online groceries through Walmart and Amazon.
8:40 a.m.: One insulin maker is offering diabetic patients free insulin for 90 days if they no longer have health insurance coverage because they lost their jobs during the COVID-19 economic crisis.
8:34 a.m.: According to a newly released report, total crop losses across Florida through mid-April 2020 may exceed $522.5 million as large-scale buyers including restaurants, school districts, food processing facilities, and others order less product.
6:30 a.m.: There were more than confirmed 787,000 cases of COVID-19 in the United States by 4 a.m. ET Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Monday, April 20
4:53 p.m.: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians and more can reopen Friday, April 24.
2 p.m.: Gov. Ron DeSantis, on a conference call with his new state coronavirus task force, said he expects Florida to be a model for how to jump-start the economy once Florida reopens.
12:10 p.m.: A new COVID-19 testing site is in the works for Jacksonville, Mayor Lenny Curry announced during a news conference on Monday. Curry said this new testing site will be located on the Northside within the next week and that more details will follow.
11:07 a.m.: The COVID-19 testing site at Lot J will be closed Monday due to high wind speeds.
9:32 a.m.: A bill introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar looks to cancel rent and home mortgage payments nationwide for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
6:15 a.m.: There were more than 759,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States around 6:15 a.m. on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Sunday, April 19
2:30 p.m.: Kroger's Atlanta Division, which includes Georgia, eastern Alabama and South Carolina, is adding new safety measures, including facial mask requirements for associates.
The grocery chain said they have a supply of surgical masks in stock for associates to use.
Additionally, the chain will pilot test mandatory temperature checks at the start of each shift at certain stores. These tests will commence once the infrared thermometers arrive in the stores.
Saturday, April 18
6 p.m.: The names of Florida nursing homes with COVID-19 cases are released. Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns County nursing homes are mentioned in the list. The names of Georgia nursing homes with COVID-19 cases were also released. Brantley, Camden, Charlton, Pierce and Ware are among the counties listed.
4:30 p.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Florida K-12 schools will continue long-distance learning for the rest of the school year.
Friday, April 17
5 p.m.: Duval County's beaches and parks reopened after being closed for a month because of COVID-19.
12:05 p.m.: St. Johns County beaches will open from 6 a.m. to noon starting Saturday morning. County leaders say this is for exercise only and not for lounging or sunbathing.
10 a.m.: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference in Fort Lauderdale less than 24-hours after President Trump released a three-phase outline for recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic.
When asked about how Florida will respond to Trump's three-phase plan, DeSantis said that the state will use it as a baseline but that doesn't mean Florida will follow it exactly or do everything. The governor says they need to look at several different things and more information is needed.
6:15 a.m.: New York residents will be required to wear face coverings anytime they come into close contact with other people outside their homes starting Friday..
5:45 a.m.: There have been 671,331 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 12:30 a.m. Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Thursday, April 16
5 p.m.: President Trump announced a three-phase plan to reopen the country that will be based on data and left up to each state to roll out.
Phase 1 would reopen restaurant dining areas, movie theaters, sports venues, gyms, and places of worship with strict social distancing guidelines. Schools that are already closed should remain closed, and workers than can work from home should still do so.
Phase 2 would allow schools and youth summer camps to operate, reopen parks and shopping malls, and allow bars to reopen with capacity restrictions.
Phase 3 would allow employers to resume unrestricted staffing of workplaces. Large public venues can operate under limited social distancing rules. Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals can resume.
4 p.m.: Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday that Duval County's beaches and park will reopen Friday at 5 p.m. after being closed for a month because of COVID-19.
9 a.m.: The Lot J COVID-19 testing site, now run by the Florida National Guard, is set to re-open at 9 a.m. after being closed for weather concerns. The number of tests that can be administered has increased from 250 to 400 per day.
8 a.m.: President Donald Trump said he's prepared to announce new guidelines Thursday allowing some states to quickly ease up on social distancing.
Wednesday, April 15
4:50 p.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he was disappointed in the initial response by the state's unemployment website, but said they just added over 100 new servers to receive applications online. He said more than 1,000 people in total are currently taking calls for unemployment claims. He expects to increase that number to 2,000 soon.
He announced that he has now stripped Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's Executive Director Ken Lawson of all COVID-19 responsibilities after Lawson had been overseeing the unemployment website.
DeSantis expressed frustration over not being able to obtain basic information from Lawson, such as the number of claims that had been processed on a daily basis and called the situation "unacceptable."
He appointed Secretary of the Department of Management Services Jonathan Satter to take over the role of leading the unemployment claims efforts.
8:40 a.m.: The United States has more than 600,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University.
8 a.m.: House Democrats Tim Ryan and Ro Khanna have introduced legislation to give millions of Americans $2,000 per month during the coronavirus pandemic. The congressmen say the one-time, $1,200 stimulus going out to many Americans isn't good enough given skyrocketing unemployment.
Tuesday, April 14
4:15 p.m. Florida Gov. DeSantis announced 1 million masks are coming to health care workers across the state along with the following equipment:
- 1.2 million procedure masks
- 100,000 face shields
- 500,000 gloves
- 60,000 containers of hand sanitizer
- 35,000 gowns
Noon: Mayor Lenny Curry announced a plan to let retired first responders return to work as a stopgap measure during the COVID-19 crisis. The re-hires will allow former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officers and correctional officers as well as retired Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department employees to work for the city without jeopardizing their retirement or pension plans.
11 a.m.: Due to inclement weather, the Prime Osborn COVID-19 drive-thru testing site will not be opening at 11 a.m.
All patients with approved orders for testing will automatically be seen Wednesday, April 15, at the same appointment time. For patient questions, please call the Telescope Health care coordination team at (904) 373-5304.
9 a.m.: The worldwide number of coronavirus cases is likely to reach 2 million Tuesday. The U.S. total may reach 600,000 with a death toll of more than 25,000 Tuesday.
8:16 a.m.: Tokyo organizers say they have no “B Plan” if the Olympics need to be postponed again.
They say they are proceeding under the assumption the Olympics will open on July 23, 2021. That date was set last month by the IOC and Japanese officials after the spreading coronavirus pandemic made it clear the Olympics could not be held as scheduled.
Monday, April 13
4:40 p.m. Due to severe weather, UF Health Jacksonville is moving its testing facility to Twin Towers, 617 W. 44th St. on April 16 and April 17 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
3:27 p.m.: Lot J testing closed due to weather.
2:30 p.m. Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference to provide updates on the state's ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.
DeSantis said Florida has worked to protect seniors, with three main areas of coverage: Long-term care assessment, emergency support for a facility if someone tests positive and increased testing.
During the conference, health officials said elderly people currently account for 30% of COVID-19 hospitalizations but 60% of deaths. Regarding overall hospitalizations, Florida is currently at a plateau with slight increases over the past few weeks, officials said. Hospitalizations in the state have been stable with about 2,000 hospitalizations a day. Duval is among a few Florida counties that have seen flat or declining hospitalizations.
Despite the reported stability in numbers, Florida health officials still urge the public to continue social distancing and wearing masks in public spaces.
Noon: Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is extending the city's state of emergency for another 30 days.
Curry added that the site has also upped the number of tests given per day from 250 to 400 and that these results should be coming back faster than before.
10:40 a.m.: The #COVID19 testing site at Lot J is temporarily closed due to severe weather.
9:35 a.m.: Fresh Market stores announced it would require customers to wear masks starting April 14.
8:48 a.m.: An extra $1,200 in the bank was a welcome surprise for many Americans over the weekend who weren't expecting stimulus checks until this week.
The first payments were deposited several days ahead of schedule on Friday night. By Wednesday, April 15, tens of millions of Americans will have received their checks.
6:53 a.m.: The United States has 557,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 22,079 deaths. There have been more than 2.8 million tests for COVID-19 in the U.S.
6 a.m.: A model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projected that Sunday would be the peak day for deaths from COVID-19 in the United States.
The model predicts that the number of daily fatalities will begin to drop, but won't reach zero until June 22. The model is based on social distancing measures continuing. It also indicates that there are uncertainties that could lead to much higher daily death tolls.