City of Sarasota extends public health emergency until August 14

The City of Sarasota announced that it will extend its declaration of a local citywide public health emergency through August 14.

DOH reports latest COVID-19 cases

Nat. Suicide Prevention hotline gets 3 digit number

Local leaders create ‘Mask up Manatee Coalition’

SRQ Airport increasing safety measures as part of ‘Fly Safe’ program

  Doctors say face shields or glasses in addition to masks to help prevent spread of COVID-19

What will be the protocol for Suncoast teachers or staff that contract COVID-19?

Continued Coverage

City of Venice passes first reading needed for mask mandate

Sarasota County voters urged to return vote-by-mail ballots promptly

DOH Sarasota announces two drive-thru testing sites in south Sarasota County this week

Suncoast businesses still having difficulty hiring back staff

More than 7,100 new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Florida

How unemployed Floridians will be impacted by the expiration of federal unemployment benefits

  Surgeon General, Florida Agriculture Commissioner weigh in on COVID-19 crisis

Florida continues to shatter grim records in the COVID-19 pandemic. A reported 257 residents died on Thursday in connection to the virus, breaking a single-day record for four days in a row this week.

UPDATE: Testing sites on Florida’s west coast will remain open

As Tropical Storm Isaias shifts its track to the east, state-run COVID-19 testing sites on the state’s west coat will remain open.

Florida hits another record spike with 253 new deaths reported

The Florida Department of Health says new COVID deaths hit a new record Thursday.

Manatee Co. Schools hoping to implement rapid COVID-19 testing

Following the approval of their plans to return to school, Manatee County School officials will approach the topic of rapid COVID-19 testing in schools.

Governor extends eviction and foreclosure moratorium another month

CDC guideline changes isolation period from 14 days to 10 days

Dozens of positive COVID-19 cases being reported at multiple long-term care facilities on the Suncoast

Sarasota County asking for input from local non-profits regarding CRF/ CARES Act funds

DeSantis considers nursing home visits as death toll rises

FDOH reports new single-day high of 216 COVID-19 related fatalities for Florida in Wednesday morning’s update

  Florida Health Department error leads to high COVID-19 positivity rate in children

Every week, The Florida Department of Health releases a pediatric report to give a better understanding of how many children in our community have tested positive for COVID-19. However, the shockingly high percentage they released last week was wrong.

  Many parents in Sarasota & Manatee Counties want to send their kids back to campus for classes

Many parents on the Suncoast want to send their children back to traditional school. Others say they want to see how everything plays out in the first quarter.

  Florida Union calls for online classes at colleges and universities

Florida’s largest faculty union has called on Governor Ron DeSantis and state education officials to order higher-education institutions to use remote learning through the fall.

  Venice High School orientation postponed, could be held virtually

The Venice High School freshman and new-to-school orientation session set for August 6, has been postponed and may be held virtually.

  Manatee County mask resolution passes

The Manatee County Commission voted 4-3 to pass a mask resolution after several hours of debate.

  Sarasota Memorial Hospital Expands Clinical Trial for COVID-19 Treatment

Doctors say it’s the first treatment that really can give us hope that it could potentially be a cure and a preventive treatment all in one.

Workers praise Disney virus safety, but will visitors come?

More than 75 million visitors came to Orlando in 2018, mostly due to its reputation as a theme park mecca, which also includes Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando. But the coronavirus has upended Orlando's status as the most visited place in the U.S.

  COVID-19 pandemic causes shift for foster programs on the Suncoast

The pandemic has caused about a 20% increase in the number of kids needing a home. However, the silver lining during this pandemic, is that they have still been able to stay connected with those who don’t live on campus.

Florida’s top regulator looking at how to open bars safely

Florida’s top business regulator said he planned to meet with bar owners to discuss how they can reopen their businesses again safely.

  State & Federal Moratorium on evictions scheduled to end soon

Federal pandemic relief is scheduled to sunset in six days.

Sarasota County Area Transit employee tests positive for COVID-19

Officials with Sarasota County Area Transit have announced that a SCAT operator has tested positive for COVID-19.

Suncoast hospitals near ICU bed capacity as COVID-19 cases soar, but staffing is the bigger issue

Hospitals on the Suncoast say thankfully, they have the infrastructure and plans in place to expand these ICUs, but this trend is still troubling for other reasons.

Group home providers wait for COVID-19 tests

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration announced more than two weeks ago that it would look into expanded COVID-19 testing at facilities for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, but test kits aren’t being sent and the numbers of cases in the facilities are mounting.

Sarasota County announces more COVID-19 positive employees

Sarasota County released a statement reporting that eight new employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

UTC testing site has closed for the rest of the day

The COVID-19 testing site at the UTC Mall is briefly pausing test administration due to heavy rainfall.

Sarasota High teacher passes away due to COVID-19

A Sarasota High School teacher has passed away after contracting COVID-19, school officials confirm to ABC7.

FDOH sees its largest spike of COVID-related deaths in 24 hours

Florida has seen its largest spike in COVID related deaths according to totals from the Department of Health. On Thursday, the state reported 5,518 deaths, an increase of 173 in 24 hours.

  WATCH: Manatee Co. Schools show what its new semester may look like

As parents across the Suncoast weigh the decision of whether or not to send their students back full time or try to balance digital learning, Manatee County Schools have released a video showing parents what a school year might look like during the pandemic.

COVID-19 antibodies only last a few months: what does that mean for immunity and future vaccines?

Doctors say COVID-19 is like the flu, RSV and any other virus - it doesn’t necessarily mean the person is immune to contracting the virus in the future.

First responders in Bradenton react to the need of convalescent plasma

Before, you would need to have positive test results for COVID-19 to be able to donate your plasma, but now things have changed. Anyone can sign up to donate their blood, but also get tested for COVID-19 antibodies - which allows people to save lives in more ways than one.

DeSantis: Parents should have choices to decide how students will return to school, teachers should have option to continue remotely working

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a live address on Wednesday evening to address the latest on how the state is planning to go forward with the upcoming school year.

Manatee County commissioners set to meet on Monday to consider a mandatory face covering order

Manatee County Commissioners are expected to meet next week to consider a local requirement that would mandate face coverings to be worn indoors in certain location in the county.

All DOH COVID-19 testing appointments filled in Venice for Thursday

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH Sarasota) announced on Wednesday morning that all testing appointments have been filled for Thursday at the Venice Community Center.

More than 9,700 new confirmed coronavirus cases reported in Florida

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is reporting 379,619 positive COVID-19 cases and 5,345 deaths of Florida residents related to the virus in Wednesday morning’s update.

  Federal $600 unemployment help set to end on July 25

The $600 federal unemployment help is set end this Saturday.

  Suncoast hospitals use technology to go around visitation barriers

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center has also launched a smartphone app called EASE– specifically for those patients who are undergoing surgery.

  City of Venice officials will consider a mask ordinance

On Tuesday morning during its council meeting, the city of Venice officials voted 5 - 2 and agreed to have a mask ordinance crafted. They also voted unanimously to endorse a resolution that will urge anyone within the city to wear a mask.

Florida congressmen ask Trump for more Remdesivir

Congressmen from Florida, including Suncoast Congressman Vern Buchanan, signed a letter to Trump petitioning for more of the drug Remdesivir.

Sarasota Military Academy Launches First Contact Tracing Program

The Sarasota Military Academy and SMA Prep will be the first schools in the world to use a specific type of software when they re-open their campuses this fall. Students, faculty and staff will be able to voluntarily enroll in a contact tracing program called “SCOUT.”

Bee Ridge Summer Camp to re-open Tuesday

Sarasota County has confirmed that the summer camp at Bee Ridge Park will re-open Tuesday, July 21.

  City of Venice to re-visit possibility of mask mandate in city council meeting set for Tuesday

The City of Venice will re-visit the issue of face masks on Tuesday.

  City of Palmetto to discuss possibility of a face mask ordinance in meeting scheduled for Monday evening

The City of Palmetto will take up the issue of face masks at thier city metting on Monday night.

  Concerns arise as some receive positive COVID-19 results but never got tested

If so many people have been incorrectly identified as positive in the state’s system so easily, how accurate are the numbers that are released daily?

  Remdisivir is on the way to Florida hospitals

Gov. Ron DeSantis says Remdisivir is heading to hospitals across the state to help fight COVID-19.

  DeSantis announces Florida counties will be receiving funds from the Cares Act to assist with rent and mortgage

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Friday that money will be going to residents who are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage in the state.

  Hospitals express critical need for convalescent plasma donations from recovered patients

Hospitals on the Suncoast are treating more COVID patients by the day and their supply of convalescent plasma, from recovered patients, is dwindling.

  Suncoast residents and businesses are being urged to use face masks

As coronavirus cases continue to soar across the state of Florida more mask mandates are going into effect. From specific businesses to citywide ordinances, some have chosen to mandate it, while others are encouraging residents, visitors and businesses to wear a face covering.

Masks are now required at Venice Farmers Market

Face coverings will be required at the Venice Farmers Market this Saturday, July 18.

Florida DOH reports 4,805 COVID-19 related deaths after website glitch briefly doubles totals

The Florida Department of Health is reporting 4,805 COVID-19 related deaths after a website glitch initially reported double those totals. The numbers have since been corrected.

Curbside yard waste collections impacted by COVID-19

Starting Monday, July 20, curbside collections of yard waste in Sarasota County will be suspended temporarily due to COVID-19.

Is COVID-19 in the air? The latest findings explained

This new research proves that these droplets can travel much farther than the original 6 feet that we first thought. Plus, these tiny aerosol particles can potentially get caught up in the circulation system of a room – infecting people throughout the whole space.

Publix to require shoppers to wear masks

Starting July 21, shoppers at Publix are required to wear face coverings while inside the store.

Buchanan staffer stable after testing positive for COVID-19

Congressman Vern Buchanan announced Wednesday that one of his staffers contracted COVID-19.

Florida reports 156 new deaths in the state

The Florida Department of Health is reporting 156 new COVID-19 deaths across the state.

Is Florida’s COVID-19 positivity rate accurate? Labs not reporting negative test results

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Florida, but there’s now reports that some of these numbers are not being calculated accurately. Hundreds of facilities across the state are reporting a 100% positivity rate for COVID-19 test results.

DeSantis says symptomatic lanes will debut at select drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in the state on Friday

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced during a press conference on Wednesday that a few of the state-run COVID-19 drive thru testing sites will be debuting symptomatic lanes starting on Friday.

City of Bradenton passes mask ordinance that will begin on Friday

On Wednesday morning, the City of Bradenton passed a mask ordinance that will go into effect on Friday at 12:01 a.m., and it will be in place for the next 60 days to follow unless it is cancelled or extended.

  More than 10,100 new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Florida

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is reporting 301,810 positive COVID-19 cases and 4,521 deaths of Florida residents related to the virus in Wednesday morning’s update.

SCFD says three more employees test positive for COVID-19

The Sarasota County Fire Department announced on Tuesday that three more employees have tested positive for COVID-19 which brings their total to seven overall of employees that have tested positive.

City of Venice does not move forward with face mask requirements

At a city council meeting Tuesday, the City of Venice decided not to move forward on creating an emergency mask wearing ordinance.

All DOH COVID-19 testing appointments filled in Venice for Wednesday and Thursday

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH Sarasota) announced on Wednesday morning that all testing appointments have been filled for Wednesday and Thursday at the Venice Community Center.

Manatee Co. tax collector to temporarily close its Palma Sola office

The Manatee County Tax Collector will temporarily close its Palma Sola office starting this Friday, July 17.

  Breaking down COVID cases on the Suncoast

Manatee and Sarasota counties now have a combined nine zip codes with a high number of cases since March.

  Englewood Pioneers Days asking for submissions for virtual Labor Day event

Englewood’s Pioneer Day parade is going virtual this year because of COVID-19.

  Publix giving back to food pantries as part of an initiative

Publix is giving back to food pantries.

Florida man arrested for burning a building during civil disturbance in Tampa

A Florida man has been arrested for allegedly burning a building during a civil disturbance in May.

DeSantis offers no end to bar shutdown

Buying alcohol will remain a to-go-only option at Florida bars for the foreseeable future as coronavirus cases continue to spike.

  Brothers pushing ‘Promise to Humanity’ global movement

A pair of brothers connected to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have started a global movement.