Here’s what to know in South Florida on August 11

We’re keeping track of the latest news regarding the coronavirus in South Florida and around

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.

ACC (Miami, FSU) and SEC (UF) forging ahead despite no football for Big Ten and Pac-12

6:30 p.m.: The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced Tuesday afternoon they will not play football — or any sports — this fall.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, however, is full throttle for now.

At least that’s what Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is hoping.

A couple hours before the monumental announcements from Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, DeSantis held a new conference Tuesday at Florida State — and made it emphatically clear, along with FSU president John Thrasher, that they want ACC football to be played this fall.

Read the full story here.

Trump’s new unemployment plan ‘not an option,’ DeSantis says, as he looks for others

6 p.m.: Gov. Ron DeSantis is considering borrowing money from the federal government to boost the state’s paltry unemployment benefits, he said during a news conference Tuesday.

DeSantis is considering taking a loan from the U.S. Department of Labor to increase benefits, which, at a maximum of just $275 per week, are one of the stingiest in the nation. He didn’t say how much he was looking to increase benefits.

“We’re looking to see what that would entail,” DeSantis said. “This [Department of Labor] thing may give us a way.”

Read the full story here.

Miami Beach issues $14,400 in fines for COVID-19 mask violations. Most haven’t paid.

5:10 p.m.: One man took his mask off to answer his phone. Another walked alone on a quiet street with a bare face. The third kept his mask nearby outside a Lincoln Road restaurant while he examined its menu.

They were all deemed to be in violation of a Miami Beach order requiring the use of facial coverings to limit the spread of COVID-19, even when outdoors and socially distanced. They were each fined $50.

The city has issued $14,400 in fines since July 23, the first day when city employees and police began ticketing alleged violators. Of the 288 people fined, only four have paid their fines as of Monday, according to a city spokeswoman. Violators have 30 days to pay the fines, and the fines cannot be appealed to the city, she said. Failure to pay “would potentially subject” the violator to an additional fine of up to $500 and a criminal misdemeanor charge of violating an executive order, which can carry up to 60 days in jail, the spokeswoman said.

Read the full story here.

Miami-Dade is a COVID hot spot. But political campaigning goes on

3 p.m.: The campaign must go on — even in a coronavirus hot spot.

It’s been over a week since early voting began for the Aug. 18 Florida primary, and in Miami-Dade County — home to the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state — candidates and their campaign staffs are stationing themselves outside of early voting locations in a last ditch effort to sway voters.

“You got to keep your distance. You got to follow all the guidelines and make sure everyone stays safe,” said Joshua Andino, 22, who spent the first week of early voting at a Hialeah library and a Miami Lakes community center campaigning for Marcia Giordano Hansen, a Miami-Dade judicial candidate. “But at the end of the day, there’s only so many ways you can do this, and you want to be able to reach voters at the ballot box and everything, so here we are.”

Read the full story here.

Florida breaks fatality record with 276 resident deaths, and adds more than 5,000 new cases

12 p.m.: Florida’s Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed 5,831 additional cases of COVID-19, pushing the state’s known total to 542,792. There were also 276 Florida resident deaths announced, breaking a fatality record.

The statewide resident death toll is now at 8,553.

The 276 deaths mark the highest single-day Florida resident death toll announced by the Florida Department of Health since the pandemic began, but it does not necessarily mean that every person died in the past 24 hours.

In Florida, the deaths announced on a given day could be from several days earlier because the state information does not include the exact date of death. Previously, the highest single-day Florida resident death toll was reported on July 31, with 257 deaths.

One new non-resident death in the state was also announced, bringing the non-resident death toll to 132, according to the Florida COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

Read the full story here.

COVID-19 Cases in Florida

‘We just lost two of our anchors.’ Two generations of Hialeah doctors die of COVID-19

Dr. Jorge A. Vallejo poses in 1992 with Cuban salsa icon Celia Cruz, whom he had treated as a patient. Vallejo, 89, died on June 27, 2020, from complications stemming from COVID-19.
Dr. Jorge A. Vallejo poses in 1992 with Cuban salsa icon Celia Cruz, whom he had treated as a patient. Vallejo, 89, died on June 27, 2020, from complications stemming from COVID-19.

10:20 a.m.: Within five weeks of each other, a Hialeah father and son, a retired doctor and another who was treating patients on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, passed away from complications related to COVID-19.

Dr. Jorge A. Vallejo, 89, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist, died on June 27, 2020, after being hospitalized at Palmetto General Hospital on Father’s Day, six days before his death. His middle son, Dr. Carlos Francisco Vallejo, was hospitalized the same day.

A well-established obstetrician in South Florida, Jorge Vallejo delivered what was once considered the smallest baby born in the United States in 1992 at Hialeah Hospital. The little girl, born after 22 weeks and called ‘The Miracle Baby,’ was 15 ounces, or less than 1 pound, when she was born, ultimately tying the record for smallest baby born in the U.S.

His son, Carlos, 57, died on Aug. 1 after spending 42 days in the intensive care unit at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston. His family said he was caring for as many as 76 COVID-19 patients, many of them elderly nursing home residents, before he fell sick.

Read the full story here.

School superintendents ask state for COVID rapid tests, policies to follow

9:25 a.m.: As Florida schools reopen this month, district superintendents are calling on state officials to address two major challenges: the need for rapid testing for COVID-19 and a statewide plan to handle students and staff members who test positive.

Florida Association of District School Superintendents President Michael A. Grego told Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran that “state direction is imperative” to ensure school districts have access to rapid test results and school officials know what to do when people show symptoms or test positive for the deadly respiratory illness.

“Clear and articulate processes for the role of the Department of Health as the lead in case investigation, contact tracing and quarantine direction, length and implementation are essential and must be consistent across all school districts,” Grego, the Pinellas County superintendent, wrote in a letter to Corcoran.

Grego added the availability of tests and rapid results for students and staff members will be “critical” when school campuses reopen.

Read the full story here.


9:20 a.m.: Here are the coronavirus headlines to catch you up on what’s happening around South Florida and the state as Tuesday begins.

Miami public schools return to online learning. What lessons were learned from spring?

Florida adds 4,155 new coronavirus cases, one of the lowest totals reported since June

Royal Caribbean floats testing passengers for COVID-19 when cruising resumes

Colleges, universities look at COVID lessons learned from spring to prepare for fall

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