Treasure Coast Covid-19 update March 20 2020

Treasure Coast Covid-19 update March 20 2020

Martin Memorial Covid-19 screening 772-419-3360

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TreasureCoast ( -There are now 432 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Florida. More than half of the cases are in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. The department of health says the statewide death toll has climbed to nine.  Meanwhile, Governor Ron DeSantis says testing in Florida is rampant. 

DeSantis says the Broward County mobile testing site will be run by the National Guard and will allow for test results to be returned more quickly. 

Florida lawmakers have adopted a new budget, but uncertainty remains.

The 93-billion-dollar spending plan sets aside 500-million-dollars for increased teacher pay. The budget now goes to the governor who could use his veto pen to trim some of the spending. 

Distilleries around the state are now working with alcohol in a different way. They’re making hand sanitizer and distributing it free of charge to first responders. They plan to keep offering it as long as their supplies last. 

The coronavirus is being blamed for the death of a man who recently visited Disney World and Universal Studios. The California man died yesterday over two weeks after he visited the Orlando area for a conference. A woman who claims to be his sister said on social media that the 34-year-old man developed symptoms two days before his flight home. 

Orlando-based Darden restaurants now says it has an emergency plan to pay all of its workers, even though many of their restaurants are shut down.

This could be your last day to enjoy the surf in Pinellas County. The county announced yesterday it’s closing all public beaches, effective tomorrow until April 6th. Clearwater Beach had originally planned to close Monday, but it will also close after today. 

The state of New York is leading the country in the amount of confirmed coronavirus cases and it has reported the second largest amount of deaths, behind Washington state.

As of Thursday, New York had confirmed a total of 4,152 cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. At least 34 deaths from the virus have been reported in the state, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The number of cases in the state has grown steadily over the past few days as officials ramp up testing, with the help of drive-thru testing centers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state processed tests for 7,584 people from Wednesday night to Thursday morning. Just a few days prior, the state was only testing a few hundred people a day.

Three days after Florida education officials decided to close all public schools through April 15, the Martin County School District has laid out a new plan to give students meals and distribute laptops for virtual learning.

The Martin County School District will move to a virtual learning plan on March 30.

Right now, students are on spring break. Next week, teachers and students will begin preparing for virtual learning. The following week, virtual learning will begin.

Teachers will begin to gather supplies next week.

If a student needs a laptop, they will be able to begin picking up a laptop from their school Wednesday.

On Monday, breakfast, and lunch will be available for students to pick up at four area schools: Warfield Elementary School, Port Salerno Elementary School, J.D Parker Elementary School, and Home Sound Elementary School. The food can be picked up between 9:30 AM and noon. Superintendent Laurie Gaylord is also hopeful there will still be opportunities to celebrate the success of high school seniors graduating, but it is still too soon, she says, to know what kind of impact there might be on graduation ceremonies.

The Treasure Coast Food Bank received a big donation from Walt Disney World Orlando Thursday. A tractor-trailer loaded with food arrived after Disney closed operations to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. The food bank was grateful to receive fresh produce, bread, and meat. The food will help families in need in Indian River, St.Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee counties.

Senate Republicans are preparing to unveil their emergency stimulus plan to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It’s expected to cost around $1 trillion.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is proposing direct cash payments for some Americans. That’s according to a copy of the legislation obtained by The Associated Press.

Under the measure, ABC News and NBC News report that Americans who made $75,000 or lower last year would be eligible for $1,200 payments and those payments would increase by $500 for each child the person has. For those who make more than $75,000, the payments would decrease and those making over $99,000 wouldn’t be eligible for direct payments.

“This is a form of emergency tax relief that we want to push to taxpayers right away. It’s not an ordinary policy, but this is no ordinary time,” said McConnell on the Senate floor. “The American people need help fast. This will deliver it.”

The senator’s proposal aligns with the Trump administration’s push to swiftly send checks to American households. 

Keeping paychecks flowing for idled workers as jobless claims skyrocket is a top priority for both the Republican and Democratic plans emerging from Congress.

In order for Democrats to support the GOP’s bill, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said they want to see greater levels of aid. He argued that the amount Republicans are suggesting is not enough for families, that it would cover rent and groceries, but not much more. 

The proposal also includes emergency aid for small businesses and industries, like the airline companies who have taken a hit now that few people are flying. 

McConnell says the measure, called The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, proposes bold action on four urgent priorities:

1. Direct financial help for Americans

2. Relief for small businesses & their employees

3. More stability for our economy

4. More support for patients & healthcare professionals

McConnell is poised to unveil the sweeping response as Congress races to draft the measure to shore up households and the U.S. economy.

Congress has already passed a measure introduced by the House that was signed into law by the president this week. It includes free coronavirus testing, expanded family and medical leave for some, paid emergency sick leave for some, unemployment benefits, food assistance, and protections for health care workers.

That bill authorizes $500 million to provide access to nutritious foods to low-income pregnant women or mothers with young children who lose their jobs or are laid off due to the COVID-19 emergency.

The House’s bill also allocates $400 million to assist local food banks to meet increased demand for low-income Americans during the emergency. Of the total, $300 million is for the purchase of nutritious foods and $100 million is to support the storage and distribution of the foods.

Kohl’s announced Thursday that the company will temporarily close its stores nationwide starting March 19 at 7 p.m. as a result of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. Customers will still be able to shop through and have their items delivered directly to their homes. The store will provide updates and news on store openings at 

Walmart announced Thursday that it will be providing cash bonuses for its hourly associates for their hard work and dedication during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The retail giant also revealed that it’s hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.

Walmart says the bonuses are for all U.S. hourly associates in stores, clubs, supply chain and offices. They’ll be $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates, adding up to more than $365 million.

Every hourly associate employed by the company as of March 1 will qualify, and it will pay out on April 2, according to Walmart.

The company will also accelerate the next scheduled quarterly bonus for store, club and supply chain associates a month early.

As part of responding to the COVID-19 crisis, Walmart says it’s also hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.

These roles will be temporary at first, but the company says many will convert to permanent roles over time.

The company says it’s also implementing a new process to dramatically expedite hiring for key roles, such as cashiers and stockers. What is usually a two-week application cycle will be reduced to a 24-hour process.

Anyone interested in applying should do so at

The announcement about bonuses and new jobs comes a day after Walmart said it would be further restricting its hours while adding a one-hour-a-week “senior shopping event.”

Starting on March 24 through the end of April, Walmart locations will open for one hour on Tuesday mornings (6 a.m. for most locations) for seniors only. Walmart said it plans to open its pharmacy and vision center for this hour. 

The head coach of the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton, says he has tested positive for the new coronavirus. 

Payton told ESPN on Thursday that he didn’t feel well on Sunday, so he got tested for the virus on Monday and received the results Thursday.

With this diagnosis, the 56-year-old has become the first person in the NFL world known to have tested positive for the virus.

Peyton told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he came forward about being diagnosed because he wants all people to listen government officials who say to behave responsibly. 

ESPN reports that Payton is fatigued and resting at home, but he’s part of the 20 percent of cases that have no fever or cough. The coach says he’s fortunate to be in the minority of people without serious symptoms.

For now, Payton says he will self-quarantine at home through the weekend and he’s optimistic about a full recovery.

Publix announced Thursday they are designating a specific time for seniors to shop amid the coronavirus.

The Florida-based grocery chain said Tuesday and Wednesday, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., will be senior-shopping hours for customers age 65 and over. 

This change in hours will begin March 24 and continue until further notice. Publix Pharmacy will also open at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to serve our senior population.

Publix said they are offering these expanded hours to better support the elderly community since people over the age of 65 are at an increased risk of complications from the coronavirus. 

Earlier in the week, the grocery store chain said they will open to the general public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until further notice. 

Publix currently operates 1,243 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

A Florida sheriff is releasing 164 inmates who are accused of low-level crimes to help reduce the risk of the new coronavirus spreading in his two jails. Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said during a Thursday morning news conference that this will help detention deputies and staff focus on higher priorities. He says the released inmates will be dealt with in the strictest possible way if they commit new crimes.  He also said the jails have closed their lobbies and are disinfecting frequently to curb any spread of the virus. So far none of the 2,700 inmates have tested positive.

First confirmed case of COVID-19 in Martin County and Indian River

Florida Department of Health, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection
Martin Memorial Covid-19 screening 772-419-3360
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