It’s Friday, April 3th - and NBC 6 has the top stories you need to know for the day.
No. 1 - Healthy passengers are finally leaving a cruise ship docked at Port Everglades on Friday, one day after several on board were taken to an area hospital to be treated for the coronavirus.
Hundreds of people will be transported by bus from the port to Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood International Airport, where they will then be taken on chartered aircrafts to locations across the world after two weeks at sea and days of negotiations with initially resistant local officials. Broward County officials and Holland America, the company that operates the ships, announced that an agreement had been reached shortly before the ships were seen pulling into port.
No. 2 - Florida's confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 9,000 and the state's death toll rose sharply to 144 Thursday, as Gov. Ron DeSantis' statewide stay-at-home order was set to take effect.
Florida's total confirmed cases rose by more than 1,200 since Wednesday to 9,008, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Health. The number includes 8,694 Florida residents and 314 non-residents. The state's coronavirus-related death toll rose to 144, 43 more than Wednesday evening.
No. 3 - Miami Mayor Francis Suarez asked President Donald Trump on Thursday to immediately suspend international and domestic flights from COVID-19 hot spots to Miami International Airport.
In a letter to the president, Suarez requested that the administration direct several federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to carry out the request. He didn't specify which states or countries to stop flights from. Suarez tested positive for COVID-19 last month and was self-quarantined for weeks. He recovered and reunited with his family this week.
No. 4 - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Director of the state's Division of Emergency Management are becoming more openly critical of 3M, a Minnesota-based company producing N95 masks, an all-important supply for doctors and nurses caring for COVID-19 patients.
"I can tell you it's shady as hell. That's for sure," DeSantis said at a coronavirus briefing, expressing frustration that millions of masks they ordered are hard to track, don't arrive when they expected, and not in the numbers they counted on. N95 masks are personal protective equipment for nurses, doctors, first responders and other medical professionals to stay safe while dealing with highly infectious patients.
No. 5 - Hospitals across South Florida have become a battleground against the coronavirus pandemic - and many are now preparing for the possibility they may become the new epicenter in a few weeks.
One of the hospitals treating the most patients is UM Jackson Memorial Hospital, where emergency room doctors says they’re ready for now after seeing an increase of patients with flu like symptoms. Click here to hear a report from NBC 6’s Jamie Guirola after speaking with several medical officials from around the area.
No. 6 - Weatherwise, a pleasant end of the work week in South Florida leads us into a beautiful weekend with a slight chance of showers in the area. Keep your NBC 6 app handy for push alerts on any severe weather as well as First Alert Doppler 6000.