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Covid-19 cases by city, Florida Blue opens helpline and other info you need to know

Margie Manning



St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a “stay at home order” for Florida residents to stem the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus.


The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group, meeting by teleconference Monday afternoon, turned down a plea by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor to issue a stay a home order.

“The longer we wait the more people will get infected. We were all elected to do the right thing and [a stay at home order] is the right thing to do,” Castor said.

The policy group instead pushed a decision off for several days. The group voted 6-to-2 to ask attorneys to bring back proposed language on Thursday, March 26, when the group is next scheduled to meet, for a county curfew, and to follow up at a later meeting, possibly next Monday, March 30, with proposed language for a stay at home order. Castor and Hillsborough County Commissioner Kimberly Overman voted against the motion.

Pinellas County had 40 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of 11 a.m. Monday, including 37 county residents and three non-residents.

The 25 men and three women with confirmed cases range in age from 21 to 75, with an average age of 52, according to a dashboard from the Florida Department of Health. Thirty of the cases were travel-related, nine were not related to travel, and the role travel played in one was unknown.

The numbers presumably include a University of South Florida St. Petersburg student who is self-isolating after testing positive, USF St. Petersburg Chancellor Martin Tadlock said Sunday.

The state also provided a more detailed breakdown by city in Pinellas County, based on data as of 6 p.m. Sunday.

As of 11 a.m. Monday, there were 1,171 confirmed cases in Florida.

In comments Monday morning at The Villages in central Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis talked about efforts to help the elderly and their caretakers.

“We want all nursing homes and ALFs [assisted living facilities] throughout the state to have enough personal protective equipment so that any staff member that interacts with a resident at least has a respiratory mask,” he said. “In the next 48 hours, the Department of Emergency Management and the Department of Health will be sending out the following to facilities throughout the state: Almost 60,000 N95 masks, 141,000 procedure masks, almost 27,000 shields, 22,000 gowns and 78,000 gloves.”

Florida Blue has opened a 24-hour helpline for people stressed out or grieving, said David Pizzo, west coast market president.


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