It’s Thursday, November 19th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood are among the first hospitals in Florida that will receive the Covid-19 vaccines, officials said Wednesday.
Jackson Memorial expects to receive a limited supply of the Pfizer vaccine in mid-December and purchased equipment, such as extra-cold freezers, to safely and properly store the vaccines, a spokesperson said in a statement. Memorial Healthcare System confirmed in a statement that the hospital is prepared to "receive and properly store the Covid-19 vaccines and will follow the guidance of the CDC to administer the vaccines." Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that their vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 and, in addition, appeared to fend off severe disease.
No. 2 – Several South Florida mayors on Wednesday said they were extremely concerned about the rising number of coronavirus cases in the state, and begged Gov. Ron DeSantis to change his approach to the virus in hopes of slowing the spread.
Following a months long decline from its huge summer spike in the outbreak, Florida has seen a mid-autumn climb in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Still, the governor has resisted a return to statewide restrictions in place earlier in the year. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber was joined by the mayors of Hialeah, Miami Shores Village, Sunrise, and St. Petersburg. The group called for consistency in statewide regulations and made four specific recommendations, including implementing a statewide mask mandate.
No. 3 - Florida's education commissioner gave some sign of flexibility at the state level with the difficult coronavirus situation, saying online classes will be allowed to continue into next year.
Richard Corcoran said during a state Board of Education meeting in Tallahassee that students will be allowed to attend classes online through the end of the school year due to the pandemic. The state’s K-12 pandemic plan for the second semester of classes will be laid out in a new emergency order, probably before Thanksgiving, Corcoran said. Florida surpassed 900,000 COVID-19 cases Wednesday as the state continued to see a rise in infections.
No. 4 - More than 600 people in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, including both students and staff, have tested positive for coronavirus since schools reopened seven weeks ago.
The actual number is higher due to lags in populating the school district’s Covid-19 dashboard. Still, the superintendent maintains the district is doing a good job containing the spread of the virus. Now, rapid testing is on the way to a school near you. The state of Florida gave Broward County Public Schools 5,200 BinaxNow antigen testing kits and sent 7,230 of them to Miami-Dade Schools. It’s not enough to make a significant difference, so Miami-Dade Schools found a work-around. To hear what it is, click here for the story from NBC 6 education reporter Ari Odzer.
No. 5 - Precious Achiuwa was the best player in the American Athletic Conference in his lone collegiate season. The Miami Heat hope that success can now translate to the NBA.
The 6-foot-9 Achiuwa was taken by the Heat with the No. 20 pick in Wednesday’s NBA draft, giving the reigning Eastern Conference champions more front court depth and athleticism. Achiuwa averaged 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds for Memphis last season, shooting 49% from the field and posted 18 double-doubles in 31 games. Miami is coming off a season where it went to the NBA Finals as the No. 5 seed in the East, finding a way in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World to get past three higher-seeded teams - including needing five games to beat a Milwaukee team that finished with the league’s best regular-season record and six games to top Boston in the conference finals.
No. 6 - Weatherwise, South Florida will feel windy on Thursday with low humidity and a slight chance of showers through the work week. Keep your NBC 6 app handy for push alerts on any severe weather as well as First Alert Doppler 6000.