The Point, Jan. 4, 2021: Florida Health Officials Expect COVID-19 Case Spike After Holidays


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• Florida Politics: Kat Cammack staffs up as she starts first term in Congress. Rep. Kat Cammack returned to Capitol Hill this week as a member of Congress after working as a staffer for predecessor Rep. Ted Yoho. That means the Gainesville Republican will now oversee a team of her own, including quite a few veterans from the office. The freshman announced hires in her Congressional and district offices, as well as announcing a political team she will keep in place.”

• WCJB: Family-owned restaurant face tough times since 301 bypass opened. “Nicole Dixon and her husband opened Our House family restaurant in 2018 to serve tourists and the Starke community. After the bypass was completed, business hasn’t been the same for the mom and pop restaurant.”

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Ric Ridgway, longtime prosecutor in 5th Judicial Circuit, retires. “A fixture at the State Attorney’s Office for the 5th Judicial Circuit — which covers Marion, Lake, Sumter, Citrus and Hernando counties — Ridgway has been a friend, a shoulder to lean on, a mentor and an all-around pal to the men and women who prosecute cases in those counties.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): UF’s new campus master plan: housing, transportation and nature space. “The University of Florida Board of Trustees is expected to adopt the new Campus Development Agreement, which outlines plans for university growth and land use, in March 2021.”

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Around the state today

• WFLA: Florida coronavirus: State reports 10,603 new cases, percent positivity rate at 12.43%. “The day prior, the state reported over 30,000 new cases for a two-day period since it did not release reports on New Year’s Day.”

• Palm Beach Post ($): Coronavirus cases moderate, but spike expected into 2021 following risky gatherings. “‘We’ve had Christmas and now we have New Year’s so a lot of people haven’t been getting tested,’ said Palm Beach County Health Director Dr. Alina Alonso on Thursday. ‘Those numbers will go up next week.'”

• Tampa Bay Times ($): Tampa Bay groups work to build trust for vaccines among Black community. “The government and local health departments have signaled plans to reach communities disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus.”

• Spectrum News: Pasco Residents Call Vaccine Registration Process “Frustrating.” “According to Megan Carmichael, program manager for community health and performance management with the Florida Dept. of Health in Pasco County, Sunday’s time slots sold out in about 30 minutes. Spectrum Bay News 9 heard from a number of people who said the sell out seemed to be almost immediate.”

• WLRN: What Lies Ahead for Florida and DeSantis During the Biden Administration?Joe Biden has promised to be a “president to all Americans” — including Florida, which swung solidly behind President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election. DeSantis frequently touted his close relationship with President Donald Trump. Having an ally in the White House made it easier to secure hurricane relief assistance and supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic.”

• Florida Today ($): Judges say some COVID-19 changes to court proceedings may become permanent. “Dealing with a backlog of cases, the lifted moratorium on evictions and the return to criminal jury trials, some judges say they will continue to utilize online hearings and video conferencing in addition to in-person duties.”

• NPR News: Researchers Develop A Trap To Control Population Of Invasive Lionfish. “Lionfish are colorful and flamboyant, striped with venomous, spiky fins. They’ve long been popular in saltwater aquariums and, a couple of decades ago, began showing up on coral reefs off Florida.”

• Daytona Beach News-Journal ($): It was once a bustling main street of Daytona’s Black community. Can it be reinvigorated? “Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard thrived for decades, but then it was taken down by urban renewal, desegregation and apathy.”

• AP: Records Show Casey Anthony is Starting Investigation Firm. “Anthony, who was acquitted of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, nine years ago, filed the paperwork with the Florida Division of Corporations in mid-December.”

From NPR News

• National: U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 350,000

• National: What Got Us Through 2020? For Many, It Was Hobbies, Relationships And 4-Legged Pals

• Politics: ‘This Was A Scam’: In Recorded Call, Trump Pushed Official To Overturn Georgia Vote

• Arts & Design: ‘Where Are The Women?’: Uncovering The Lost Works Of Female Renaissance Artists

• Health: Don’t Let The Pandemic Winter Get You Down: 9 Creative Ways To Socialize Safely

• Health: Why The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Has Gotten Off To A Slow Start

• Health: Some Health Care Workers Are Hesitant About Getting COVID-19 Vaccines

• Health: How To Keep Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution

• World: 72-Year-Old Gardener Goes Viral On Twitter After Posting Photos Of His Big Vegetables

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

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