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Today’s top Florida stories
• Fort Myers News-Press ($): Nearly half of Florida’s ICUs are at least 90% full. “At least 45 hospital ICUs were at capacity, and 46 others had only one bed available in the units.”
• Orlando Sentinel: Florida reports 120 COVID-19 fatalities, its deadliest day of pandemic. “Florida reported 120 new COVID-19 fatalities on Thursday — the single biggest daily increase — pushing the death toll past 4,000 and coming after weeks of exploding coronavirus cases across the state.”
• News Service of Florida: State Sending $138 Million To Health Departments. “The Florida Department of Health announced Thursday that it is sending $138 million in federal pandemic funds to county health departments to hire epidemiologists, nurses and contact tracers.”
• Florida Politics: State to open dedicated drive-thru lanes for symptomatic people. “Results that under contract were supposed to take less than 48 hours can now sometimes take weeks to return results. But with dedicated lanes, opening next week in Miami-Dade, Broward and Orange counties, Gov. Ron DeSantis says people who already show symptoms of COVID-19 should be able to get results in the subsequent 72 hours.”
• WUFT News: Gainesville’s Earth Academy Day Camp Ends Early Due To Coronavirus Case Spike. “The Earth Academy day camp, which was supposed to run through the rest of the month in Gainesville, is instead ending Friday. The original reason for holding the camp even amid the COVID-19 pandemic was to assist families with the mental, social and physical wellbeing of their children.”
• WUFT News: From The Front Lines Podcast. “Sports Are Back, But Is Florida Ready With COVID-19 On The Rise?”
• Tampa Bay Times: Police in St. Petersburg to step back from nonviolent emergency calls. “Amid national and local calls for police reform, city and police leaders announced on Thursday that some nonviolent calls to police will soon be handled by social workers rather than uniformed officers.”
• WUFT News: Requests For Mail-In Ballots Are On The Rise In Alachua And Marion Counties. “(Marion County Supervisor of Elections Wesley Wilcox) reports that mail-in ballot requests were about 20% to 30% higher than usual in June, amounting to 8,000 to 10,000 requests just last month.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): Amazon to open Gainesville delivery station. “The opening of a new Amazon delivery station in Gainesville is expected to add hundreds of jobs and allow customers to receive packages faster.”
• St. Augustine Record ($): St. Johns County commissioner in ‘most critical’ condition because of COVID-19. “St. Johns County Commissioner Paul Waldron has been hospitalized and is in critical condition because of the coronavirus, according to his daughter.”
• Palm Beach Post ($): Why waterfront music fests may be stressing out local sea life and ruining their love lives. “The study, published last month in the journal Environmental Pollution, was conducted by researchers who were concerned about how sound from the high energy, low frequency Ultra Music Festival would affect the university’s experimental fish hatchery.”
• Florida Times-Union ($): Polar adventurer marks 100th birthday, 81 years after his first expedition to Antarctica. “Robert Johnson of Jacksonville is believed to be the last living member of any of Adm. Richard Byrd’s pre-World War II expeditions to Antarctica. At his 100th birthday party, Johnson reminisced about his three trips there.”
• WUWF: Dozens Of Inmates Test Positive For COVID-19 At Escambia, Walton County Jails. “Through contact tracing, over three dozen inmates at the Escambia County Jail recently have tested positive for COVID-19. The Walton County Jail is also reporting its first positive cases.”
• Orlando Weekly: Orlando director Jeremy Seghers to present ‘The Bacchae’ as drive-in theater. “Drive-in is increasingly the medium of choice for those who want to balance a love for the arts with social distancing caution. You’ve got drive-in movies, drive-in concerts and now, courtesy of Osceola Arts and local stage director Jeremy Seghers, drive-in theater is coming to Central Florida.”
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