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The Point, March 3, 2020: Florida's Confirmed Coronavirus Cases, How To Help Stop Its Spread, And About Those Bats

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Today's top Florida stories

• AP: Florida Has Two Confirmed Cases Of New Coronavirus. "State health officials said they were identifying people who had contact with the two patients now under isolation. The state Health Department said 184 people in Florida are being monitored for the disease."

• New York Times ($): Unexplained Coronavirus Transmission in Florida Prompts Worries of More Cases. "A Florida man with no known connections to the global coronavirus outbreak has tested positive for the virus, suggesting the possibility of a wider community outbreak in Florida, the authorities said on Monday."

• WUSF: Coronavirus Facts: What Floridians Can Do To Prevent The Spread. "Will facemasks help? Officials say they won’t help prevent healthy people from contracting the disease. Rather, those showing symptoms should wear them, to prevent the spread of disease."

• Gainesville Sun ($): 43 UF students, faculty returning from Italy quarantined. "UF spokesman Steve Orlando confirmed Monday that the university’s architecture program in the northeast city of Vicenza was shut down last week, and the 41 students and two faculty members are returning to the United States in phases. No one in the group has shown virus symptoms, which include fever and shortness of breath."

• WUFT News: Gainesville Conservancy Defends Bats Against Coronavirus Fears. "Recently Lubee posted a series of videos on the coronavirus outbreak, after people in Wuhan, China, and surrounding cities killed many bats in the belief that the animals carried the disease, according to Demetria McBride, the conservancy’s media and development coordinator. Research has found that bats were not the cause of the recent outbreak, McBride said. 'People need to be educated before they commit widespread ecosystem damage,' she said."

• WUFT News: Gainesville Votes 2020: City Commission District 3 Guide. "Registered voters in the City of Gainesville will decide on Tuesday, March 17, who will help make decisions in city government in the coming years. Those who live in the city’s District 3 will decide between incumbent David Arreola and challenger Jennifer Reid."

• WUFT News: Two-Day Boil Water Notice Created Challenges for Micanopy Residents, Business Owners. "According to the DEP, low water pressure, power outages and water main breaks are the most common reasons boil water notices are issued across the state. Micanopy’s last boil water notice before the February event, for example, was for a water main break in July 2019."

• Tallahassee Democrat ($): A heart-to-heart bond: Two Tallahassee boys who both had open-heart surgeries form bond. "Their operations a day apart, on Jan. 7 and 8, the two boys recovered in hospital rooms around the corner from each other inside University of Florida's Shands Hospital. Now, the two are like brothers — and their moms have forged a friendship in the thick of it all."

• Florida Storms: Repeating Rains, Strong Storms Likely in Florida Panhandle This Week. "Multiple rounds of thunderstorms, each capable of producing heavy rain in a short amount of time, could cause flash flooding in portions of the Florida Panhandle by midweek."

• New York Times ($): Man Gets Over 5 Years in Prison for Stalking Families of Parkland Victims. "A 22-year-old California man was sentenced to 66 months in federal prison on Monday after cyberstalking and threatening to kidnap relatives of those killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., federal prosecutors said."

• Fort Myers News-Press ($): Daylight saving time: Didn't Florida agree to do away with the whole clock-changing thing? "In 2018, the Florida Legislature almost unanimously voted for permanent daylight saving time. President Trump has said he is for it, too. But the law requires congressional approval to take effect — and that has not happened yet."

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About today's curator

I'm Ethan Magoc, a news editor at WUFT. Originally from Pennsylvania, I've found a home telling Florida stories. I’m part of a team searching each morning for local and state stories that are important to you; please send feedback about today's edition or ideas for stories we may have missed to emagoc@wuft.org.

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org