TreasureCoast Covid 19 Update April 16 2020

TreasureCoast Covid 19 Update April 16 2020

Florida’s coronavirus cases have now gone past 22-thousand, with 614 deaths in the state. Miami-Dade and Broward counties continue to account for about half of the state’s cases. 

Governor Ron DeSantis says the time has come to formulate a plan for reopening Florida after the coronavirus shutdowns.

DeSantis says he’ll be seeking advice and ideas from industries ranging from restaurants to schools to recreation to agriculture.


The governor is putting a new person in charge of the state’s unemployment-compensation system, which has been overwhelmed in the wake of layoffs prompted by the pandemic. Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter is taking over for Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Ken Lawson. 


Nearly 900 million dollars in federal stimulus money will land at Florida airports to offset economic losses as travel has plummeted because of the pandemic. Miami International is getting the most: 207-million dollars, with the next biggest chunk going to Orlando International at 170-million. 


A Fort Pierce City Commissioner says he is spearheading an effort to bring COVID-19 testing closer to Fort Pierce residents in the Northwest section of the city.

“[That] is where a lot of the deaths are occurring in terms of the African American community,” said Commissioner Reggie Sessions.

Sessions fears the African American community has a higher chance of experiencing more serious health issues if they contract the virus. “On top of health issues such as being a diabetic, having high blood pressure, hypertension, things of that nature, which is a disease that a lot of African Americans have, it’s taking people out and they’re getting really sick from it,” Sessions said.

Sessions said he has teamed up with Allied Health to do drive-thru testing at Dreamland Park for residents.

People wanting a test will have to call a number to be screened, and if they meet the criteria for a COVID-19 test, they will be given an appointment time to go through the Dreamland Park drive-thru.

“If you’re not feeling well, if your baby’s not feeling well, you see the symptoms… it’s just a matter of coming in and getting tested,” Sessions said.

More access to testing is something being discussed even at the state level by Governor Ron DeSantis.

Sessions said people can arrange to have walk-up testing and he is looking into other possible transportation options.

Sessions also said first responders in St. Lucie County and Fort Pierce can get a test without having to set up an appointment. He anticipates Allied Health will be able to process about 500 tests.

“We’ve got to do all we can to stop the spread of this disease,” Sessions said.

Residents can begin calling immediately for screening at 772-940-1020. Appointments will be made April 18, 20, and 21 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.


Apple is releasing a new iPhone that will be vastly cheaper than the models it rolled out last fall before the coronavirus pandemic had forced people to rethink their spending.

The second-generation iPhone SE announced Wednesday will sell for as little as $399. That’s a 40% markdown from the most affordable iPhone 11 unveiled last year.

Even before the pandemic, consumers had begun to balk at paying large sums for smartphones. And now high-priced gadgets are expected to become an even tougher sell as the economy plunges into its worst downturn in more than a decade.

This is the first time Apple has launched a new phone without its hyped up in-person events, because large gatherings are banned due to the virus.

The SE is powered by the Apple-designed A13 Bionic, which the company claims is the fastest chip in a smartphone.

Apple also says the SE has the best single-camera system ever in an iPhone, which unlocks the benefits of computational photography including Portrait mode and is designed to withstand the elements with dust and water resistance.

The SE has a 4.7-inch display and comes in three colors – black, white and red. It will be available for presale starting Friday and it arrives April 24.


The Social Security Administration announced Wednesday that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients with no qualifying children will receive federal stimulus payments automatically directly from the Treasury Department.

The treasury anticipates the payments to be made no later than early May.

SSI recipients with no qualifying children will not need to take further action to receive their $1,200 payment.

SSI recipients with qualifying children under the age of 17 should visit the IRS Website at

Social Security retirement, survivors, and disability insurance beneficiaries (who don’t normally file taxes) also qualify for the automatic stimulus payments, expected to arrive around the end of April.

“The Treasury Department, not the Social Security Administration, will make these automatic payments to beneficiaries,” the SSA said. “Recipients will generally receive the automatic payments by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their SSI or Social Security benefits.”

The SSA says additional information will be provided soon for SSI and Social Security retirement, survivors, and disability insurance beneficiaries, with dependent children, who use Direct Express debit cards on what steps to take on the IRS website when claiming children under 17.

“Please note that the agency will not consider Economic Impact Payments as income for SSI recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months,” the SSA said.


Stuart family-owned and operated produce company has shifted their business from wholesale to retail.

Robert Erneston Produce is keeping their nearly 50 employees on the job while feeding about 1,000 residents each week from Jupiter to Port St. Lucie.

“People are lost right now. They’re concerned, they’re worried, and we are just a small bit of hope. We are trying to help out people. It’s not about the numbers, really. It’s just about trying to help the people we come in contact with,” said Ralph Venuti of Robert Erneston Produce.

They offer a variety meats, dairy, canned and dry goods, fresh fruit and some non-food items like toilet paper.


Due to the coronavirus, air travel is down.

On Tuesday, according to the Transportation Security Administration , 87,534 people passed through TSA checkpoints. On the same day last year, 2.2 million travelers passed through TSA checkpoints.

But if you have to fly, the TSA has some tips for travelers to keep them safe during the pandemic:

Bring hand sanitizer: TSA is currently allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags until further notice. Since these containers exceed the standard 3.4-ounce allowance typically permitted through a checkpoint, they will need to be screened separately.

Bring wipes: Travelers are permitted to bring individually-packaged alcohol or anti-bacterial wipes in carry-on or checked luggage. Large containers of hand wipes are also allowed in carry-on or checked baggage.

Wear a mask if you like: Travelers are allowed to wear masks during the security screening process; however, a TSA officer may ask the traveler to adjust the mask to confirm their identity during the travel document checking process visually.

Another tip that will make traveling more at ease is if your license expired on or after March 1, it could still be used at TSA checkpoint.

“TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration or 60 days after the duration of the emergency, whichever is longer,” TSA officials said in a statement.

TSA also asks travelers that instead of putting items from your pocket in a bin to place them in their carry-on prior before heading through TSA checkpoint.

One last thing TSA officials recommend is washing your hands before and after the security screening process.

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