ORLANDO, Fla. — The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Read live updates below:
See our recap of the day’s coverage below:
9:45 p.m. update
Florida Department of Health has announced three new coronavirus cases in the state. They are:
- A 63-year-old man from New York tested positive in St. Johns County. The man traveled from New York to attend Daytona Bike Week, according to the Department of Health.
- A 56-year-old man in Miami-Dade County tested positive and is being isolated. The Department of Health said it is a travel-related case.
- A 70-year-old man in Broward County tested as positive. He attended an Emergency Medical Services in Tampa.
9:15 p.m. update
President Donald Trump has announced that all travel from Europe to the U.S. will be suspended starting Friday for 30 days amid the virus outbreak.
6:20 p.m. update
The University of Florida released updated information about its plans to move all of its classes online.
University officials said it is encouraging all students to return to their homes and remain there until March 30. For students where that is not a possibility, officials said campus resources including dining halls will remain open.
The university itself, officials said, will also remain open and operational.
6 p.m. update
School administrators across Central Florida are preparing to teach children at home should schools have to close due to the coronavirus.
In Flagler County, every student has access to a tablet or laptop. Spokesman Jason Wheeler said that puts the school district in a unique position, but that there are still challenges.
“It’s not just as simple as closing down schools, turn the computers on and ready to ready to learn,” Wheeler said.
For example, he said some students may not have access to WiFi.
In Orange County, all middle and high school students have laptops, and the district said it is expanding its digital program to elementary schools.
Osceola County school officials said its working to have 1,000 laptops available to students who need them.
And in Lake County, high school student have laptops. And school officials said if an elementary school was closed, the district could shift classroom sets to accommodate younger students.
5:45 p.m. update
Gov. Ron DeSantis said there are 23 positive cases in Florida.
The only Central Florida cases are the two that have been reported in Volusia County.
DeSantis said test results are still pending for 147 people in Florida, and that 353 people are under public health monitoring.
The state surgeon general said there is now more information showing COVID-19 is more severe than the flu mainly for the elderly population, for whom he said the mortality rate can be 20 to 40 times more than with the flu.
With those developments, the governor also announced some major new measures to mitigate the risks for older residents.
He's now mandating all nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other elderly communities prohibit all visitation from people who:
- Have COVID-19
- Are showing signs of a respiratory illness
- Have traveled internationally
- Who’ve come in contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19
- Who’ve recently traveled on a cruise
DeSantis also said 10 of the infected people in Florida were on a Nile River cruise in Egypt during either February or March.
He said five of the new eight cases announced Tuesday night were on one of those Nile cruises and that one of the two people who died in Florida was also previously on a Nile River cruise.
5:30 p.m. update
5:25 p.m. update
Seminole State College officials said the school is not moving face-to-face classes online at this time. But official said they are preparing for that possibility if the situation changes.
Florida A&M University officials said it will switch to remote instruction for two weeks beginning March 23. Officials said in-person classes are expected to resume April 6.
4:35 p.m. update
Halifax Health officials announced it will screen everyone who enters its hospitals for COVID-19.
“We will ask about possible symptoms, travel from other countries, contact with travelers, people with symptoms or people in contact with diagnosed,” the hospital said in a social media post.
4:30 p.m. update
4:20 p.m. update
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4 p.m. update
The University of Central Florida announced it will move to remote instruction as of Monday, March 16.
In a statement, university officials said the change is to “to minimize health and safety risks to the UCF community, especially as students and faculty prepare to return from Spring Break.”
The university said classes that are currently online will continue Monday. All other classes will be ready for online instruction by Wednesday.
Remote instruction is expected to continue for at least two weeks.
3:50 p.m. update
Gov. Ron DeSantis is scheduled to host a news conference discussing the coronavirus in Florida beginning at 4 p.m.
3:30 p.m. update
Florida State University announced it will shift all of its in-person classes to online classes starting Monday, March 23, for at least two weeks.
The university said in-person classes are expected to resume April 6.
3:15 p.m. update
The University of Florida announced Wednesday that all classes will be moved online “as soon as possible” and no later than next Monday due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.
2:40 p.m. update
The Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide more than $27 million in funding to Florida to support the state’s response to the coronavirus.
“State and local health departments are on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, and we are deeply grateful for their work,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a statement. “CDC is distributing this new funding extremely rapidly, as called for by Congress. President Trump, and his entire administration will continue working to ensure state and local jurisdictions have the resources they need to keep Americans safe and healthy.”
1:40 p.m. update
The World Health Organization’s assessment comes as Italy is weighing even tighter restrictions on daily life and has announced billions in financial relief to cushion economic shocks from the coronavirus.
Premier Giuseppe Conte said he will consider requests to toughen an already extraordinary lockdown.
The hardest-hit region of Lombardy is pushing for a shutdown of nonessential businesses and public transportation on top of travel and social restrictions.
The death toll in Italy has risen to 631. In the U.S., more than 1,000 people have been infected.
Watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News at 4 for live, in-depth coverage of the pandemic.
12:40 p.m. update
The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
Click here to read the difference between an outbreak and a pandemic.
12:06 p.m. update
Seminole County officials are hosting a “lunch and learn” on Thursday for the public to be more informed on the facts of the coronavirus.
The meeting will be held at Seminole State College - Heathrow Campus at 1055 Aaa Drive. Food will not be provided and attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch.
8:13 a.m. update
Allergists are beginning to receive more questions and concerns from those looking to spot the difference between allergies and symptoms of coronavirus. Health officials warn that the major difference is difficulty breathing.
5:26 a.m. update
Eight new cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Florida overnight. The cases were reported in Alachua, Collier, Nassau, Pinellas and Pasco counties, bringing the total number of active cases in Florida to 26.
The number of national cases has now crossed over 1,000.
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