It’s Wednesday, April 15th - and NBC 6 has the top stories you need to know for the day.
No. 1 - A shortage in testing for the coronavirus likely won't be a problem for the residents of South Florida's exclusive Fisher Island.
The island, long known as one of the wealthiest zip codes in the United States, is paying for COVID-19 testing for all of its residents and staff. The island's health clinic, operated by the University of Miami Health System, has been asked to procure antibody testing for employees and residents, an island spokesperson said Tuesday. The spokesperson said the tests are being procured to "further minimize spread on the densely populated island with half of the residents over the age of 60 and at high risk."
No. 2 - Florida's teachers union called on Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday to keep campuses closed through the end of the school year, saying the coronavirus outbreak “presents a threat we cannot control.”
Fedrick Ingram, president of the Florida Education Association, said in a letter to the governor that teachers have “risen to the challenge” of conducting their classes online since campuses closed last month and there is no reason to reopen them until the virus is under control. DeSantis suggested last week that he was considering reopening schools next month because children have little risk of dying from the disease, drawing criticism that such a move would endanger staff members and parents who are older or have health problems.
No. 3 - Florida's coronavirus-related death toll jumped to 571 as the total number of confirmed cases in the state surpassed 21,600 Tuesday.
Total COVID-19 cases in the state were at 21,628 Tuesday, about 600 more since Monday, according to the Florida Department of Health. Miami-Dade County's coronavirus-related death toll rose to 143, 34 more than were reported Monday. Broward County's death toll rose to 81, Palm Beach had 103 reported deaths related to the virus, and Monroe County had 3.
No. 4 - With temperatures rising to near record numbers across the area, the heat of South Florida is something state officials are keeping an eye on at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site located at Hard Rock Stadium.
Workers administering the tests are covered from head to toe in personal protective equipment, which can get very hot as workers are being rotated in and out consistently once they sweat through that protective gear. State officials say they are maintaining a close guard on those employees for both their safety and the safety of those coming to get tested. Officials have placed trailers on the site where workers can go inside to cool down as needed over the course of the day.
No. 5 - A supermarket giant in Florida will be offering special shopping hours for first responders and hospital workers during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Publix Supermarkets announced it would allow stores to be open solely for those workers on Thursdays from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. starting April 16th. All parts of the stores, including pharmacies, will also be open during those special times. The updated shopping hours will remain in effect until further notice.
No. 6 - Weatherwise, warm temperatures stick around Wednesday across South Florida before a slight cool down arrives at the end of the week thanks to the latest front. Keep your NBC 6 app handy for push alerts on any severe weather as well as First Alert Doppler 6000.