Florida woman hospitalized with COVID-19 comes home to find husband dead from virus


By Mckenna King, WFTSFriday, August 27, 2021 8:55AMabout:blankEMBED <>MORE VIDEOS 

Have you seen home prices lately in the Antelope Valley? The surging market is fueling a whole host of problems – including pushing more people into homelessness.WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — A Florida woman, who battled and beat COVID-19 in the hospital for eight days, returned home to discover her husband had died in their home due to the virus.

“It was just like walking into a horror scene. It’s just been horrible,” Winter Haven resident Lisa Steadman told WFTS, ABC Action News.

The 58-year-old thought she was through the worst of it.

She and her husband Ron both got diagnosed with COVID-19 in early August.

“I was in the hospital for eight days. Every day I talked to him,” she said.

Ron never ended up in the hospital. Instead, he was home taking care of the dogs, while his wife was gone.

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“Sunday, when I talked to him, he told me his phone was acting up, that it wouldn’t hold a charge. I said ‘okay,’ well then Monday came, I couldn’t get ahold of him. So I called the police, Winter Haven Police Department, said could they do a wellness check. They came out, did a wellness check, talked to him, he was out with the dogs, they said, ‘he has a cold,’ but he was okay as far as not fixing to pass away or something.”

But sometime between then and when Steadman left the hospital Wednesday evening, things took a turn for the worst.

“I could hear our little dogs. They were all in the bedroom together, the dogs and him. I rolled to the bedroom door, I opened the door, and he was on the bed passed away,” she said.

Ron died from COVID-related complications.

“He always wore his mask, he always used his hand sanitizer,” she said.

She said that neither of them had received a COVID-19 vaccine – not because they were against it, only because they wanted to wait.

Now, after talking with her doctor and dealing with the virus first hand, her mind has changed.

“I said that when I got better, ’cause I can’t take it ’til the end of September, that I would get the shot,” she said.

Now she shares a message to everyone else.

“Remember you are not promised tomorrow. So you better make sure you tell your loved ones you love them,” she said.

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Toxic wastewater reservoir on verge of collapse in Florida could cause “catastrophic event”



UPDATED ON: APRIL 5, 2021 / 1:18 PM / CBS NEWShttps://www.cbsnews.com/embed/video/?v=d65e9519d3b2bcdaf8e22fe3b932f73b#zVZtb9s2EP4rgj4OoUXqXQaGIWk3tFubZU2zD40KgxJPNhfqZaRkxyjy33eUFNtJB%2FRTuiEwQpHHu%2BNzz718cfnQt53ie3fZ6wHO3K0U0LrLL67soTbu8vaL2%2B87cJfuthXumSsFLoOKBkXIUwI0DkkYBQUpAoiICFhWUUjCIMxQtu7uP0D11t541V2qmzcq%2FfP6HW3%2B%2Fv19vKNp%2Fcent%2Ft3n65ksvsVpY0a1ihZtk0JujFkrdsd6Te8JxoUcAOkrciOmx52vAdNZEMq1WopOCnbQQmy4Vsg0Gylbpsamp4rPGgM%2FD0AqjRoope9sk95NdlwrAnjtFvQzmzDaSvnF8UXztHQYrHAqwLu8CIuqkGpZ3rMqMixvp7qOapwZINaR1%2Bd0VfH%2Buo88dV55mvJm7aRJVcfv4OxXtZgel537pLFLIl9xsKQUorvHjTvZdvgQRIdP9%2FxAhQ6Rf1lFKECNX03CA5ypOZrVIskMjb2m77vzDL3cq8sTAM7wxa4kGivl%2BWibOvc2wxF7snc07nnU5%2FlHg3xF%2BVeWAURFT6SLI04CWM%2FJgX4CaFlHANNWVQkfu71m6EuGi5V7sUhvQ9imnsijosyLpMQCl5BWQH4EPkiDQOaBKkfTt6QajD4HPJirCMH30icRoGfktnDxV%2FdGoHb%2FCtCwQsixPyU3ic%2BQuSzLCozEZeosSzihAHPAhHEARcB5cL%2FX0D0cOZ2GrYSdjdaPcHKdEqWsOC1Wi9km3u8Q3y26PVYw3LvWzUn92bFueceCt%2BJ%2Fk63YoFVbzxZzJGZojF%2FoCmMx0aZ50FhKQIfsjjLkgSBHp8Vr0bB2gKlF3UwpI9W%2Fe9utmp1zXs0yzsL4pjSuXdP6g7WNx%2FeocTwDOzdbvfUlxnkF2PFGBRp3tZdaz13lxVXBhsUtitZjg3KZk4Y0zCOkDJJlArCGPgkE8wnlLK0gpRTWtCT3lJYsklD6lY3shnzT4LmutxgA7y15449dx7PPyP5uEbnPlqrl7weC%2FHFtfPRSr3%2FWsvFfhK6%2FVrqMzIZOmlagecMfUKQbF11mXUQ1haD6WDokJjGHJ7MlTovERJzodry7lBlzY0BfT0UptSyAHEQNx3C2OpHuQ3cn7%2BGig%2FKBpye4Z877l4cd4PsLIzOItu0e83LO%2BsvQoyBNmWrYVwjSwNKI5rG2JzCCYfLmQ62X8W49YM1iR%2BNWZl%2BtbZoWcZMO7xbcfvey9w7P8iU1vy2ZP5hx%2FTPdD8gcPVwf6XbDnS%2F%2Fw0wVq4fJiB4FAcsEcj5LMyYHwQ8iN0HDFoNPR%2F7D76mh%2FXernFv04qJ89CIUe3Miwp4P2gQpLTtDeycMw89aB%2FRtJE5Tg%2B4xFKDi0MS3G%2B0zQSloJwy6XAt957rzr2fpFmpdr0GsZLNj9RWuFPQpfm54YWyAZ1GMq6xCyg4H9B%2FbaepWzdijEVJGBIf44FFPy1IKvyAJFxAERcR%2BCKy5H1y9ZGZSmL730BzIjDOaIzHWcVYQtKKRiT0g4wUgpUkDWiUVSVPAgru4crVULzG99hQYA0iNCQ0cPxgybKlnx3FHqeXOfcdAaXCjDKObW7j5AI16DWm%2FN7hBica5PS2ldrZyX7j1FIpBNRYuTWmwbzM7ZSI44psLKJnjuZCthyxxznnWHJy18FCdGdOnHkMatNjbFbz7jjdbbGVzMcCzB1WmbH8vIatfaFr68D6UcBSemXnY5u4%2BP%2BNtPXp1h2MhdTuXE9EQNnBzELzXXygTc%2FRUyjcuZ6N%2BFcJFZDaWdqHaqplHCdtQv2MsTRkaTIl6EkpGrUrWUvMmfDwzOt20CVM9c6Z86%2FQvBFXive29I%2Fm5mq%2Bss6tjm%2B2n7P2WcLaBK7kUFt6YnuqpDo5thdQBCs57tnmZQl9mF6fN%2B2v%2BsjU0B5bw8gK2zkOrDjtITac%2BN2XG6IQQZTWwGvSt4LvyYGG0dg6ahCSX7XoHQZiBh%2FvizmU%2F5lf1viM78sZGevSN5%2F4HVr4w8M%2F

Hundreds of residents in Manatee County, Florida, were ordered to evacuate their homes over Easter weekend as officials feared that a wastewater pond could collapse “at any time.” On Saturday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the area.

County officials said the pond, located at the former Piney Point phosphate processing plant, had a “significant leak,” according to CBS affiliate WTSP-TV. The Manatee County Public Safety Department told people near the plant to evacuate due to an “imminent uncontrolled release of wastewater.”

“A portion of the containment wall at the leak site shifted laterally,” said Manatee Director of Public Safety Jake Saur, “signifying that structural collapse could occur at any time.” https://www.cbsnews.com/newsletters/widget/e879?v=d65e9519d3b2bcdaf8e22fe3b932f73b&view=compact#xVPLbtswEPwVgmczFvWIHrcUKdBeigBpT1VhUOTKJkKJAklZMIL8e5eK4gS5F72Js7OvmdUztVPQdvS0eaYgrQLaUKjKmu7oWcOCL2mHSciAwGS9jmQE77yHQL5YdaEvOxqckE96PMYi2n8dRWdA0Sa4GXZUuKClgbs5nKz7jvBvWnDOizLPWVokFctvq45VKs1YKRR0t10BqSron0%2BpP8QAMdloIu0Jxg%2BEWJVycVv3nJes6pOC5WlWs05xyaosKepeijJLgF5THubuXoS4bZqknCU5SzKSZg2vm7R%2Bp%2F3UwURSb6zTShAF0ggHnviA2cT2BAZwRxjlhQhPMALubLUjiw4nMmhjoriRdxTGbJ8tajoGMegRa6gdcUJpixLrM5BF%2BAAL4q6lxIB48h%2BGuUywGjIGGMNhQzGu4KzlW1iBfwp2Qlj7ezjHDaN34vhGGGHxBx1gQBgNhW8aXBR29lHSiDyC3Hye%2FUbacnHBCbdYJ4UOY9hJy1X%2FvkwUVFnHuhR6xjmkTGR9wpK05rzKeVUW9VvCq5ev1WeUbKsuRmy6Q4cHHWiTXxd%2FtLOT6%2BqdJ3F8JHVOjOrBiNBbN6wDYHBdLY57eFchPrd%2BGyNOAcLoeYgHOznba%2FMhHBOQAmPUDqMqnriMs2kpzC9nED6FMPmm3bf7ZVlutsQb%2FFXaffxq99vBsPVOmO3Z9U7Yu8UsGozvIE%2FMoKbIdiAGFqwSF3Y9zKLdbw7%2B1%2BabiP%2BqycvLXw%3D%3D

As of Monday afternoon, the leaks have not been fixed, according to officials. Thermal imaging from a drone on Sunday night identified “a number of sites” in one concentrated area in the eastern wall of the pond where temperatures indicated that water was seeping through. The most visible breach continues to be the one at the southeast corner. 

Manatee County has published an ongoing live stream of footage from a drone that is monitoring the area. https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/SO6VXMkciVA?autoplay=0&rel=1April 4, 2021 – LIVE video from Piney Point, Manatee County by Manatee County Government on YouTube

Manatee County Public Safety Department initially sent out emergency evacuation notices on Friday for those who were within half a mile of Piney Point, and by 11 a.m. Saturday, evacuation orders were extended to people within one mile north of the reservoir’s stacks of phosphogypsum — a fertilizer waste product — and those within half a mile to the south of the site. Surrounding stretches of highway were also closed to traffic.

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Mandatory evacuations were extended an additional half mile west and one mile southwest of the site on Saturday evening. Manatee County Public Safety Department said that 316 households are within the full evacuation area.

Despite the mandatory evacuations for local residents, officials have not fully evacuated Manatee County Jail, which lies within the evacuation zone. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to CBS News on Sunday that out of more than 1,000 inmates, they will be moving 345 “to an undisclosed secure location.”

Manatee County Jail evacuation zone
According to a map of the current evacuation zone around Piney Point reservoir in Florida, pictured on right, the Manatee County Jail, location shown on left via Google Maps, is well within the zone. As of Sunday night, the jail was not evacuated. CBS NEWS

The move, the office said, is to “free up bed space” for the remaining 721 inmates on the upper level of the jail. 

“For security purposes, we are not providing details right now about the transfer of inmates,” the office said. “Sheriff Rick Wells and staff are still in constant communication with officials on the situation, and are feeling better with the progress to drain the stack. In the event of a collapse we expect only about a foot of water making it onto jail property.” 

Saur told reporters at a press conference on Monday afternoon that the inmates have been transported and “are safe.” 

State Representative Michele Rayner-Goolsby tweeted that she has spoken to the sheriff and said he has “assured” her that “there is a plan in place to make sure inmates at the jail are protected and evacuated safely.”

“I am good with the plan,” she added.

Also Sunday night, the Federal Aviation Administration issued temporary flight restrictions over the reservoir for Monday. 

On Monday morning, Manatee County schools announced that school bus transportation within the evacuation zone has been suspended. Students from six schools are impacted by the situation, according to the list of impacted buses. 

At a press conference Sunday morning, DeSantis said officials are pumping out 33 million gallons of water a day from the pond, and that the water “is not radioactive,” although another official added that the water is “not water we want to see leaving the site.” The primary concern, DeSantis said, is the nutrient makeup of the water, which contains metals. Reports on water samples should be available in the coming days.

Wastewater Reservoir Leak
This aerial photo taken from an airplane shows a reservoir near the old Piney Point phosphate mine, Saturday, April 3, 2021, in Bradenton, Florida.TIFFANY TOMPKINS/THE BRADENTON HERALD VIA AP

“We’re hoping that we can just continue to get the water out in an efficient way to prevent a catastrophic event,” DeSantis said. 

Officials said at the meeting that the greatest threat for the time being is flooding. Even after days of pumping water out of reservoir, there are still roughly 3,450 million gallons of wastewater that could suddenly be unleashed.

If the reservoir were to fully collapse, one model shows that the area could see a “20-foot wall of water” within minutes, Hopes said. 

Phosphogypsum is the “radioactive waste” left over from processing phosphate ore into a state that can be used for fertilizer, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

“In addition to high concentrations of radioactive materials, phosphogypsum and processed wastewater can also contain carcinogens and heavy toxic metals,” the center said in a statement on Saturday. “For every ton of phosphoric acid produced, the fertilizer industry creates 5 tons of radioactive phosphogypsum waste, which is stored in mountainous stacks hundreds of acres wide and hundreds of feet tall.” 

Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said in a statement Saturday that the “public must heed that notice to avoid harm.” 

The water that is currently being pumped out by officials to avoid a full collapse is a mix of sea water from a local dredge project, storm water and rain runoff. The water has not been treated. 

“The water meets water quality standards for marine waters with the exception of pH, total phosphorus, total nitrogen and total ammonia nitrogen,” the state said in a statement. “It is slightly acidic, but not at a level that is expected to be a concern, nor is it expected to be toxic.”

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried wrote a letter to DeSantis on Saturday urging an emergency session of the Florida Cabinet to discuss the situation. She wrote that the leaking water is “contaminated, radioactive wastewater,” and noted that this leak is not the property’s first.

“For more than 50 years, this Central Florida mining operation has caused numerous human health and environmental disasters and incidents,” Fried wrote. “There have been numerous, well-documented failures — which continue today — of the property’s reservoir liner, including leaks, poor welds, holes, cracks and weaknesses that existed prior to purchase by the current owner, HRK Holdings, and exacerbated since.” https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1378410018760953858&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbsnews.com%2Fnews%2Fflorida-state-of-emergency-wastewater-leak-watch-live-stream-today-2021-04-05%2F&siteScreenName=CBSNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=550px

On Sunday, Hopes corroborated that issues with the Piney Point facility have persisted for decades. While the governor on Sunday blamed the situation on HRK Holdings, the company that owns the site, and said it will be held accountable for the incident, Hopes indicated that the latest leak is the result of officials not acting on past failures. 

“It could have been resolved two decades ago,” Hopes said. “What I’ve seen in the past four days from the governor’s office is that all agencies and entities are now committed to a permanent resolution.”

Meanwhile, the Florida National Guard deployed two CH-47 helicopters on Sunday to place two pumps at the site to lower the water level. The pumps should be running at full capacity by Monday morning, Hopes said at a Sunday afternoon press conference.

“The controlled release is working,” he said. “The breach release is traveling in the direction that we anticipated and planned for so we believe that probably by Tuesday we’re going to be in a much better position and the risk level will have decreased significantly with the governor’s assets.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1378757570417016832&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbsnews.com%2Fnews%2Fflorida-state-of-emergency-wastewater-leak-watch-live-stream-today-2021-04-05%2F&siteScreenName=CBSNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=550px

Authorities noted that Manatee County water is safe to drink and there is no threat to Lake Manatee, which is the primary source of drinking water. Well water was also not affected.

Officials describe lead up to latest incident

Video of a Manatee County Commissioners meeting provided insight into what happened prior to the leak. On Thursday afternoon, Jeff Barath, a representative for HRK Holdings, appeared emotionally distressed while briefing the Manatee County Commissioners about the situation.

“I’m very sorry,” he said. He told commissioners he had only slept a few hours that week because he was trying to fix the situation, and through tears, said he first noticed “increased conductivities within the site’s seepage collection system” 10 days prior on March 22. This system, he said, offers drainage around the gypsum stacks. https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/HldKhDi_YaE?autoplay=0&start=17340&rel=1April 1, 2021 – BCC Land Use Meeting by Manatee County Government on YouTube

He said he immediately notified FDEP of his concerns. 

“The water was changing around the seepage. We went into a very aggressive monitoring program,” he said, to find out where the seepage was coming from.

They discovered the south side of the stack system had “increased in conductivity” and that the acidity of the water, which is normally around a 4.6, had dropped to about a 3.5, which indicated an issue. 

After a few days, the water chemistry had not improved and water flows were increasing from about 120 gallons a minute to more than 400 gallons per minute in less than 48 hours, Barath said. Last Saturday night, the flow rates increased to “rates that I could not even estimate to you,” he said.

Water was filling the stacks so quickly that the ground was starting to rise, Barath said. This “bulging” was temporarily stabilized but then extended hundreds of feet. 

Barath submitted a report to the state on March 26, according to the state-run “Protecting Florida Together,” website, which was created by DeSantis to allow more transparency about state water issues. 

“I was anticipating that the gypstack itself was destabilizing at a very rapid rate and recommended that we consider an emergency discharge,” he told commissioners. He said he feared that “overpressurizing” the system would result in “complete failure.” 

“I’ve spent most of my days and nights constantly monitoring all aspects of this gypstack system and identifying failure points within it,” he said, noting that failure points were happening “constantly, I mean hourly.” 

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said that it ordered the company to “take immediate action” to prevent further leaks. On March 30, the department said that “pipes at the facility are repaired” and controlled discharges were initiated to prevent any pressure buildup. 

However, based on Barath’s testimony at the meeting, the situation was far from over. He concluded his address by saying they were doing “everything possible to prevent a true catastrophe.” 

On Friday, another leak was detected in the south containment area of the facility. Despite overnight work to attempt to stop this and other leaks, Manatee Director of Public Safety Jake Saur said on Saturday that the situation was “escalating.”

April Siese contributed to this report.

Conservation groups ask Haaland to block oil drilling in Florida preserve


BY ZACK BUDRYK – 03/30/21 12:34 PM EDT

Conservation groups ask Haaland to block oil drilling in Florida preserve

© Getty

A coalition of conservation groups called on Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to deny requests to drill for oil in a section of the Florida Everglades in a letter Tuesday.

The Burnett Oil Company has submitted two applications to the state Department of Environmental Protection seeking permits for a new oil well and the construction of an access road near the Big Cypress National Preserve.

The company is also proposing a second well in the close vicinity of Miccosukee tribal lands. Although the preserve is part of the National Park System, some of the fossil fuels beneath it are privately owned.

“Both proposed well sites are located in wetlands and primary Florida panther habitat. These proposed oil wells and their associated land clearing, equipment storage, wetlands filling, hydrologic alterations, staging areas, access roads, drilling rigs, storage tanks, fuel tanks, water wells, disposal wells, reserve pits, grading, erosion, sedimentation, and potential oil spills– on their face– would be detrimental to the explicit purposes of the Preserve,” the letter states.

Signers of the letter include the Center for Biological Diversity, Earth Action, Sierra Club and the South Florida Audubon Society.

The wells would also create emissions that threaten the preserve’s status as a vital “carbon sink,” or a reservoir that stores more carbon than it releases, the letter states. The oil company has yet to finish the mitigation process required as part of its National Park Service access permit, the letter states, and it has already done “extensive damage” during the initial phase of oil exploration.

“People don’t come to a national park to see oil wells. The constant threat of oil and gas exploration in Big Cypress National Preserve jeopardizes the sensitive habitat this park provides for endangered species like the Florida Panther, as well as the one-of-a-kind park experience Big Cypress offers to so many visitors,” Cara Capp, senior Everglades program manager for National Parks Conservation Association, said in a statement.

The Biden administration has imposed an indefinite moratorium on new oil and gas leasing in public lands and waters and has set a goal of conserving 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by decade’s end.

The Hill has reached out to Burnett and the Interior Department.

Whale that stranded off Florida is completely new species (and already endangered)

By Chris Ciaccia – Live Science Contributor a day ago

This 38-foot-long (11.5 meters) baleen whale stranded off Florida in 2019. The adult male is now considered part of a completely new, and endangered, species called Rice's whale.This 38-foot-long (11.5 meters) baleen whale stranded off Florida in 2019. The adult male is now considered part of a completely new, and endangered, species called Rice’s whale.(Image: © Florida Everglades National Park)

A 38-foot-long (11.5 meters) whale that washed ashore in the Florida Everglades in January 2019 turns out to be a completely new species. And it’s already considered endangered, scientists say.

When the corpse of the behemoth washed up along Sandy Key — underweight with a hard piece of plastic in its gut — scientists thought it was a subspecies of the Bryde’s (pronounced “broodus”) whale, a baleen whale species in the same group that includes humpback and blue whales. That subspecies was named Rice’s whale. Now, after genetic analysis of other Rice’s whales along with an examination of the skull from the Everglades whale, researchers think that, rather than a subspecies, the Rice’s whale is an entirely new species that lives in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The discovery, detailed Jan. 10 in the journal Marine Mammal Science, also means that there are fewer than 100 members of this species living on the planet, making them “critically endangered,” according to a statement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Related: Amazing new video shows baby humpback whales nursing from their moms

According to the study, the researchers looked at records of the Bryde’s whale in the Caribbean and greater Atlantic Ocean and concluded the whales they spotted were evidence “of an undescribed species of Balaenoptera from the Gulf of Mexico.” CLOSEhttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.438.0_en.html#goog_1499978674Volume 0% PLAY SOUND

The lead study author Patricia Rosel and her co-author, Lynsey Wilcox, both at Southeast Fisheries Science Center, completed the first genetic tests of this whale in 2008, finding that the skull of the Rice’s whale was different than that of Bryde’s whales.

In addition to having different skulls, Rice’s whales are slightly different in size than Bryde’s whales, the new analysis showed. They can weigh up to 60,000 pounds (27,215 kilograms) and grow up to 42 feet (12.8 meters) long, according to NOAA, whereas Bryde’s whales have been known to reach upwards of 50 feet (15.2 m) and weigh more than 55,000 pounds (24,947 kg).

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Rosel and her colleagues think the whales in the new species can live approximately 60 years, but given that there are so few in existence, researchers need further observation of the whales to get a better idea of their life expectancy.

Given their location in the Gulf of Mexico, Rice’s whales are particularly vulnerable to oil spills, vessel strikes and energy exploration and production, NOAA added.

Originally published on Live Science.

A 9-year-old who died of coronavirus had no known underlying health issues, family says

Posted July 26, 2020 11:35 a.m. EDT
Updated July 26, 2020 11:39 a.m. EDT


A 9-year-old girl from Putnam County, Florida who died last week from Covid-19 complications had no pre-existing conditions and had a ëvery highí fever before she died.

Kimora ìKimmieî Lynum passed away on July 18, according to records from Floridaís Department of Health. According to her cousin and family spokesman Dejeon Cain, Kimmieís mother took her to a local hospital to treat the ëvery highí fever.

 — A 9-year-old girl with no known underlying health conditions is the youngest person to die from coronavirus complications in Florida, officials said.

Kimora “Kimmie” Lynum died on July 18 in Putnam County, according to Florida Department of Health records. It confirmed her identity and said she’s the state’s youngest coronavirus fatality.

She had no pre-existing health issues and her mother took her to the hospital due to a high fever, said family spokesman Dejeon Cain. The hospital sent her home and she collapsed a short time later, Cain said.

“She was always happy and made everybody happy. She was phenomenal,” said Cain, who’s also her cousin.

The family does not know how or where she was infected. She appeared healthy and spent the summer at home, and did not attend school or camp, Cain said.

Kimmie’s mother was tested for Covid-19, but had not received her results as of Saturday, Cain said.

State health department records show the child did not have close contact with anyone who recently had Covid-19. Putnam County Health Officer Mary Garcia confirmed the fatality to CNN and said she was unaware of any underlying medical conditions.

Kimmie is the fifth minor in Florida to die from Covid-19, according to the latest health records. The others were an 11-year-old boy in Miami-Dade County, an 11-year-old girl in Broward County, a 16-year-old girl in Lee County and a 17-year-old boy in Pasco County.

Putnam County is located between Gainesville and St. Augustine in the northeastern part of the state. Since April 1, the county has had 11 fatalities.

As of last Friday, 23,170 minors have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The positivity rate of the children tested is 13.4%. The state’s total number of confirmed cases now stands at 379,619.

Florida has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases, passing New York, once the country’s epicenter early in the pandemic. California, the most populous state, surpassed New York a few days ago. The states with the most recorded cases now align more closely with population rank. Florida is the country’s third-most populous, and New York is fourth.

Florida has reported 414,511 cases since the pandemic’s start, above New York’s 411,200, according to state health agencies. The number of hospitalizations has increased by 79% since the Fourth of July, according to data from the state’s health care administration.

At least 50 hospital intensive care units in Florida reached capacity Saturday. Eight of the hospitals are in Miami-Dade and six in Broward — among hardest-hit counties in the state.


An 11-year-old boy is Florida’s youngest person to die from Covid-19 complications

(CNN)An 11-year-old boy from Miami-Dade County has died from Covid-19 complications, according to the Florida Department of Health, making him the youngest person in the state of Florida to die from the disease.

The boy had severe underlying health conditions, the health department told CNN. The latest health records show the 11-year-old’s case was not travel-related, but it’s unclear if he recently had close contact with anyone who had Covid-19.
The boy is the third minor in Florida to die of complications stemming from the novel coronavirus, according to health records. The others were a 16-year-old girl in Lee County and a 17-year-old boy in Pasco County.
News of the boy’s death comes amid a surge of Covid-19 cases in the Sunshine State, which on Thursday reported 10,109 new cases — another record for new coronavirus cases. A CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University shows the state is now averaging more new reported Covid-19 cases per day than any other state.
As of last Friday, 7,000 minors in Florida had tested positive for Covid-19. There are more than 169,000 cases statewide and more than 3,600 people have died.
According to the latest state data, patients between the ages of 25 and 34 make up 20% of the state’s Covid-19 cases. Those between the ages of 15 and 24 make up another 16%. Patients between the ages of 5 and 14 make up just 3%.
Still, DeSantis — who previously pointed to the lack of deaths among minors to justify reopening schools in the fall — has said the state will not re-impose lockdown measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus live updates: Here’s what to know in South Florida on June 24

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CDC updates its advice on how COVID-19 spreads
COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said June 16, 2020, it is still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes. 

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We’re keeping track of the latest news regarding the coronavirus in South Florida and around the state. Check back for updates throughout the day.


9:35 a.m.: A counselor in David Posnack Jewish Community Center’s upper camp has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the camp announced Tuesday.


How hot will it get in South Florida? Hot enough for a
heat advisory

  This comes after the center’s preschool was suspended indefinitely because two teachers had tested positive last week.

Read the full story here.

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Jungle Island to reopen with new rules

Jungle Island, located on Watson Island, will open on June 25, after being closed since March because of the pandemic. Here a staffer, wearing a mask, feeds a kangaroo. 

8:55 a.m.: Jungle Island will reopen its doors to the public Thursday for the first time since it shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

And just like at the recently reopened Zoo Miami and Miami Seaquarium, there will be a slew of new rules you need to follow, including a mask requirement for all guests over age 2 and all employees.


8:40 a.m.: Record numbers of patients with COVID-19 are filling Miami-Dade hospitals, with one medical center in Homestead reaching ICU capacity on Tuesday after county officials identified the area as a hot spot of new cases.

Countywide, hospitals report far more beds available than beds filled with COVID patients. Still, hospital administrators and emergency room physicians say they’re concerned by the surge, and that they’ve resumed near daily meetings with state regulators.

But they point to a silver lining in the growing number of new cases and hospitalizations in Florida’s hardest-hit county: The patients are younger and not as severely ill as they were during the first wave in April, and doctors and nurses have gained valuable experience in the months-long pandemic — leading to shorter hospital stays and better outcomes.


8:30 a.m.: Here are the coronavirus headlines to catch you up on what’s happening around South Florida and the state as Wednesday begins.

Florida reports more than 3,000 coronavirus cases, pushing statewide total to 103,506

Florida 17-year-old is the youngest in the state to die from coronavirus, records show

Florida yanks this college bar’s license after dozens test positive for COVID-19

DeSantis warns bars, restaurants that licenses are at risk if they break COVID rules

Trump-Biden debate relocates to Miami as University of Michigan frets about COVID-19

People Make ‘Mad Dash’ To Florida Beach That Reopened Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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People flocked to a reopened beach in Jacksonville, Florida, on Friday afternoon after officials partially lifted restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

CNN correspondent Randi Kaye, who was reporting from the scene, described it as “a mad dash here for the ocean” on Friday’s broadcast of “Anderson Cooper 360.”

“Once police gave the all-clear, all the people who had been lined up in the streets waiting to get to the beach when they opened today at 5 p.m., they just flooded the area,” said Kaye.

“They were biking, they were running, they were swimming, surfing, they were fishing some of them, a lot of people brought their dogs,” she continued. “It was as if they had been cooped up for so long, for years. That’s how they were behaving when really it had only been about a month because they first closed this beach on March 20.”

Kaye said there “wasn’t a whole lot of” social distancing going on, with some groups set up on the sand with beach coolers and other people sunbathing.

A surfer interviewed by CNN said they would not be surprised if the easing of restrictions did not last very long, given the number of people who’d arrived.

Another beachgoer noted there were “so many people standing around, everyone’s so close together.”

Check out the segment here:

And photographs taken in Jacksonville on Friday afternoon here:

(Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo: Sam Greenwood via Getty Images)
(Photo: Sam Greenwood via Getty Images)
(Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo: Sam Greenwood via Getty Images)
(Photo: Sam Greenwood via Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who has been widely criticized for his slow, haphazard and sloppy response to the public health crisis, this week said some municipalities could start reopening beaches and parks if social distancing measures were in place and it could be done safely.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said beaches in Duval County would reopen from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing. In a video shared online, he urged people to still social distance.

Check out the clip here:

Curry later tweeted this picture to thank residents for purportedly adhering to the rules, before sharing other tweets that showed more people on the sand.

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COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has so far killed more than 150,000 people worldwide and upwards of 37,000 people in the U.S., which now has more confirmed cases than any other country.

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FLORIDA BEACHES PACKED… As Trump Urges People To Break Quarantine

Jacksonville beaches reopen in Florida as states begin easing stay-at-home restrictions

Jacksonville, Florida (CNN)Beaches and parks in Jacksonville, Florida, reopened Friday afternoon as more states consider easing restrictions put in place to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

The scene at Jacksonville Beach wasn’t one of caution in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Crowds cheered and flooded the beach when police took the barriers down. People were seen swimming, biking, surfing, running and fishing.
Social distancing seemed to be the last thing on anyone’s mind Friday. Some residents told CNN not being able to go to the beach was “torture.” People were out with their towels, coolers and sunbathing. There were very few masks.
Beaches will be open from 6 to 11 a.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m. daily with some restrictions, according to Jacksonville’s website. Recreational activities such as running, biking, hiking and swimming will be permitted during this soft reopening, the city’s website said.
Despite the scene at the beach Friday, the city’s website said activities such as sunbathing or any type of group activity will not be allowed at beaches during the restricted hours and items like towels, blankets, chairs, coolers and grills will not be permitted on the beach.
“This can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life,” Mayor Lenny Curry said. “Please respect and follow these limitations. Stay within the guidelines for your safety as well as for the safety of your neighbors.”
People were excited to be able to get back out onto the sand.
“I’m planning on going and riding my bicycle or surfing,” Elliott Toney told CNN affiliate WJXT
But not everyone thought reopening the beaches was a good idea.
“There’s a potential for the virus to blow into the air, so I think it’s a risk,” Lisa Mancini told the affiliate.
Officials aren’t afraid to pull the plug on beachgoers if they don’t abide by the social distancing rules and beach restrictions, Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser said at a press conference Friday.
“This not a time to lounge. This is not a time to party. This is a time where you need to exercise, keep moving and then go home,” Glasser said.
Parks will resume regular hours but the city’s order limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 people remains in effect.
Gov. Ron DeSantis was criticized back in March for his handling of spring break and not closing the beaches sooner. As a result, he issued a “Safer at Home” order that went into effect April 3 and is in effect until April 30. The order limits movement outside homes to providing or getting essential services or carrying out essential activities and applies to interaction with other people outside of residents’ homes.
close dialog
DeSantis supported the idea of reopening beaches, parks and other public spaces as long as social distancing is practiced, WJXT reported.
“You look at how this disease is transmitted, it’s transmitted overwhelmingly when you are in close, sustained contact with people, usually in an indoor environment,” DeSantis said. “Going forward, we got to be promoting people to get exercise, do it in a good way, to do it in a safe way.”