Florida coronavirus cases jump and now exceed 130
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced that a drive-thru testing facility will soon open at a hospital in Broward County, the state's county hardest-hit by the new coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases surged on Sunday to more than 130 statewide. State officials also said more than 170 National Guard personnel have been deployed in Broward County — with 300 more soon to be activated. The governor said Florida should brace for even more infections and he again urged residents to exercise caution and stay away from crowds to help slow the spread of the virus.
Coronovirus siphons money from Florida teachers, tax breaks
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Legislative negotiators have reached a deal on a state budget heavily influenced by an outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus. With uncertainty over how the outbreak could affect the state's economy, lawmakers agreed to add an additional $300 million to the state's reserves -- in case government revenues fall dramatically because of a downturn in the economy. To free up the money, lawmakers have had to scale back proposals that would boost teacher pay and downsize tax breaks. The budget is the final item of business for Florida lawmakers before adjourning in several days.
Americans brace for new life of no school and growing dread
Millions of Americans braced for the week ahead with no school for their children for weeks to come, no clue how to effectively work without child care, and a growing sense of dread about how to stay safe and sane amid the relentless spread of the coronavirus. The wave of school and business closures across the country has injected huge amounts of chaos into the lives of millions of Americans. There are more questions than answers: Are play dates for kids OK? How do you plan for the future with no idea what it holds? Health officials say one thing is certain: It is going to get worse before it gets better.
Trump says he's likely to be tested after repeat exposure
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he will “most likely” be tested for the novel coronavirus, as questions swirl about why he, his top aides and his family aren't doing more to protect themselves and others after repeated exposure to COVID-19. Trump has now had multiple direct and indirect contacts with people who have tested positive for the pandemic virus, including at least three people at his Mar-a-Lago club. Trump on Friday declared a state of emergency as schools and workplaces across the country shuttered, flights were canceled and Americans braced for war against the threat.
The Latest: Candidates talk about protecting their health
WASHINGTON (AP) — Both of the Democratic candidates running for president say they are healthy amid the coronavirus crisis -- and are taking concrete steps to keep it that way. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 78, noted that he “loves” doing large rallies around the country but has curtailed them and now addresses supporters online. His campaign staff has been working from home and Sanders also noted that, “I’m not shaking hands. Joe and I did not shake hands” to start the debate on Sunday night in Washington. Former Vice President Joe Biden, 77, noted that he doesn’t have any of the “underlying conditions” that make the virus especially dangerous and said he was taking precautions that people in their 30s, 60s, or 80s should be doing.
States turn to cash reserves as coronavirus strains budgets
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (AP) — State across the U.S. are allocating hundreds of millions of dollars to respond to the new coronavirus, even as the U.S. government prepares to send billions of more dollars their way. Trump announced Friday that he would free up as much as $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. But many states already have taken steps to pitch in their own money. Some are pulling money out of their rainy day funds for emergency expenses. Others are looking to place more in reserves in case the economic uncertainty caused by the new coronavirus leads to a downturn in state tax revenues.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SKI RESORTS
Ex-Florida official defends Colorado ski closure complaint
DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s governor is criticizing a former Florida lieutenant governor who complained that his vacation was ruined when Vail closed its ski resort over coronavirus concerns. Florida's Jeff Kottkamp tweeted that his family's vacation was destroyed after industry giants Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Company closed dozens of North America's well-known resorts. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic state Sen. Kerry Donovan were quick to react. Polis thanked Kottkamp on twitter for his “deep concerns regarding the health of our residents.” Donovan says Vail should be commended for its difficult decision. Kottkamp says he understands Vail's decision but that its no-warning announcement hurt thousands of visitors to the state.
Legislature goes to OT on budget as it wraps up other bills
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Legislature is going to overtime to complete the state budget while wrapping up other business on the last day of its 60-day session. Lawmakers passed bills Friday paving the way for teacher raises and expanding a school voucher program, among other items. But the budget remains unsettled and is becoming more complicated because of the coronavirus. Lawmakers are trying to figure out the impact the virus might have on revenue in a state that relies heavily on tourism at a time when people are canceling travel plans.
Florida to activate National Guard to help with virus tests
MIAMI (AP) — The Miami mayor has joined the list of more than 50 people in Florida infected with the new coronavirus. Meanwhile, the governor said Friday he will activate the National Guard to help with a planned ramp-up in testing for the illness. In efforts to limit contacts between potentially infected people, St. Petersburg cancelled that city’s Grand Prix, an IndyCar race car event held along the picturesque waterfront in what has become one of the city's signature weekends. The Miami-Dade and Broward school districts in South Florida, two of the country's largest, announced closures.
Election officials: Tuesday primaries on despite virus fears