Here’s what to know in South Florida on November 19

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.

Florida adds 9,085 new COVID-19 cases, nearly 2,000 in Miami-Dade

4:30 p.m.: Florida’s Department of Health on Thursday confirmed 9,085 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s known total to 914,333. Also, 79 resident deaths were announced, bringing the resident death toll to 17,810.

Miami-Dade accounted for 1,945 additional confirmed cases and seven new deaths.

Read the story here.

Key West approves strict mask law

On Oct. 16, 2020, at Mallory Square in Key West, some wore masks outside while others didn’t.
On Oct. 16, 2020, at Mallory Square in Key West, some wore masks outside while others didn’t.

4 p.m.: Key West city commissioners voted unanimously to make wearing a mask outdoors the law on the island as they, once again, made a local mask ordinance tougher at a special meeting on Thursday morning.

The retooled law says everyone over age 6 must wear face coverings in public — whether or not they can social distance — and they must carry a mask with them when outside their homes.

The commission had loosened its mask rules in September, relaxing the outside rule to only require masks if people can’t socially distance.

But city leaders said that didn’t work. And the island is gearing up for its holiday season. The new ordinance carries civil and criminal penalties, including fines.

Read the story here.

Over half of Americans still plan Thanksgiving travel amid COVID concerns

More than half of Americans plan to travel for Thanksgiving, despite warnings from health officials. JEFF WILLHELM/STAFF
More than half of Americans plan to travel for Thanksgiving, despite warnings from health officials. JEFF WILLHELM/STAFF

3:50 p.m.: As health officials warn of the risks of Thanksgiving travel, more than half of Americans still plan to venture away from home, according to a new survey.

The website Tripadvisor says 56% of people intend to take trips for the holiday this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, McClatchy reported

Read the story here.

Miami-Dade teachers, School Board members push for COVID protocol

The Miami-Dade public school district’s online dashboard tracking COVID-19 cases on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, reflected 548 students and staff who’ve tested positive since in-person learning began Oct. 5, 2020.
The Miami-Dade public school district’s online dashboard tracking COVID-19 cases on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, reflected 548 students and staff who’ve tested positive since in-person learning began Oct. 5, 2020.

11:15 a.m.: A COVID-19 parent handbook. Better notification of COVID-19 cases. A review of COVID-19 related procedures for identification, notification, quarantine and testing.

Nine months into the coronavirus pandemic, and two months since Miami-Dade County Public Schools reopened, School Board members on Wednesday successfully passed those proposals as teachers and parents continue to plead for clarity on how the school district manages through the pandemic.

Vice chair Steve Gallon asked for a complete review of how the district has dealt with COVID-19. Board member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall’s proposal asked for a standard written notification protocol and for the public reporting of how many students and staff are quarantining.

Read the report here.

Cruise crew members weigh COVID-19 trauma. Return to work?

9:15 a.m.: Princess Cruises crew member Gan Sungaralingum has spent the last two months taking care of his elderly parents, eating home- cooked meals, and doing what he loves most: walking on the beach near his home in Mauritius. But instead of returning to his position as an onboard watch salesman after a few months of rest at home, he’s leaving the industry.

“Maybe I’ll come back as a passenger, but not as a crew,” he said. He’s been a crew member with several cruise lines since 2014.

Sungaralingum is part of a growing number of cruise ship workers who say they will not be returning to their posts when cruises resume. Thousands, like Sungaralingum, suffered several months stranded at sea without pay after the industry shut down in mid-March amid COVID-19 outbreaks on several ships.

Read the story here.

UM, FSU, USF classes will be online after Thanksgiving. What about your Florida school?

Some colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Miami, Florida State University and the University of Central Florida, are moving classes online as health experts worry that gatherings during the holiday season will lead to COVID-19 outbreaks.
Some colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Miami, Florida State University and the University of Central Florida, are moving classes online as health experts worry that gatherings during the holiday season will lead to COVID-19 outbreaks.

9:15 a.m.: College students are getting ready to return home for the Thanksgiving holiday break but many won’t be going back to campus until next year.

Some colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Miami, Florida State University and the University of Central Florida, are moving classes online as health experts worry that gatherings during the holiday season will lead to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Read what Florida schools are doing here.

Facing COVID surge, Florida mayors ask Gov. DeSantis for mask mandate, more local control

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber listens as City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez speaks during a COVID-19 press conference outside of Miami City Hall in Coconut Grove, Florida on Monday, June 22, 2020. A total of 15 Miami-Dade mayors gathered to announce stricter enforcement of COVID-19 rules across the county.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber listens as City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez speaks during a COVID-19 press conference outside of Miami City Hall in Coconut Grove, Florida on Monday, June 22, 2020. A total of 15 Miami-Dade mayors gathered to announce stricter enforcement of COVID-19 rules across the county.

9 a.m.: As the holidays approach — and threaten to worsen a nationwide coronavirus surge — the mayors of five Florida cities and municipalities met Wednesday to request that Gov. Ron DeSantis impose a statewide mask mandate, ramp up the state’s testing effort and reinstate the authority of local governments to impose coronavirus restrictions as needed.

The bipartisan coalition of mayors, who largely represent cities in hard-hit South Florida and included the mayor of St. Petersburg, implored DeSantis to follow the lead of other U.S. governors who have recently imposed new COVID restrictions as cases continue to rise around the country and in Florida.

“Positive cases are rising steeply and it is spreading everywhere,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “We can’t continue the way we’re going.”

Read the story here.

CATCH UP ON COVID NEWS

Majs. Aaron Jelinek, Thunderbird 5, Lead Solo, and J.R. Williams, Thunderbird 6, Opposing Solo, perform the Reflection Pass during the practice air show at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Nov. 11, 2011.
Majs. Aaron Jelinek, Thunderbird 5, Lead Solo, and J.R. Williams, Thunderbird 6, Opposing Solo, perform the Reflection Pass during the practice air show at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Nov. 11, 2011.

Florida COVID-19 cases soar past 905,000 with addition of 7,925. State adds 87 deaths.

How COVID is going to change the way you experience this weekend’s Fort Lauderdale Air Show.

Miami to distribute $8.5M in business grants and grocery gift cards for COVID relief.

Fact check: There’s no evidence Florida is ‘protecting the vulnerable’ from COVID-19

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