It’s Wednesday, April 22nd - and NBC 6 has the top stories you need to know for the day.
No. 1 - A major step forward could be coming as the first at-home test for COVID-19 has been emergency approved and could be available within weeks.
The Food and Drug Administration announced the emergency approval of a nasal swab test from LabCorp on Tuesday, approving the tests for health care workers and first responders initially who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. The company intends to make the test, expected to cost around $119, available to the general public in the coming weeks. Miami Beach is working with several companies in an attempt to get the test to the general public as soon as possible.
No. 2 - Workers at Amazon facilities across the county, including one in Opa-locka, will be calling out from work Wednesday to protest working conditions during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
More than 300 workers from nearly 50 facilities have pledged to call out to protest what they say the company has not done to keep them safe while still staying open in the weeks since the pandemic began in mid-March. One demand from workers is that the company closes any facility where a worker has tested positive for the virus, something that hits close to home as at least one person has tested positive at the Opa-locka warehouse.
No. 3 - Faced with bipartisan outrage over huge publicly traded corporations sucking up tens of millions from a program originally designed to help distressed small businesses, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Tuesday larger companies would be barred from dipping into the $310 billion being added to the depleted fund.
He said details on the new criteria would soon be released by the Small Business Administration. The changes come after hundreds of thousands of truly small businesses were shut out of the first attempt at PPP, which forgives the loans of businesses who retain employees on their payrolls for eight weeks. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the architects of the PPP, last week criticized media reports that accurately described the program, while he inaccurately inflated its impact.
No. 4 - A county in North Central Florida will be opening its beaches Wednesday amid closures across the state during the ongoing coronanvirus pandemic.
Flagler County will allow people to visit its span of sand and water after an emergency order signed allowing for the “physical and mental health activities” to take place for a three-hour span in the morning and a two-hour span each evening. Last week, Duval County opened its beaches to residents as cameras caught thousands of people congregating together within minutes. Miami-Dade and Broward counties have not reopened their beaches at this time.
No. 5 - Florida may be under a stay-at-home order, but the state’s marine wildlife doesn't seem bothered by the lack of human activity.
Dolphins, sharks, manatees and other marine animals are taking advantage of empty beaches and low boat traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic. Dozens of sightings have been reported by Miami Waterkeeper, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving South Florida’s watershed. The organization is receiving increased reports of wildlife sightings as part of its “See a Fish, Send a Fish” campaign.
No. 6 - Weatherwise, South Florida will feel less humid on Wednesday with a slight relief in temperatures thanks to the latest front's arrival. Keep your NBC 6 app handy for push alerts on any severe weather as well as First Alert Doppler 6000.