Florida Vaccine Updates: State Completes Vaccination Plan for Nursing Homes

Here's what we know today about the coronavirus outbreak in Florida, and the effort to stop it

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As a limited supply of the coronavirus vaccine has become available across Florida, residents are understandably anxious to know when they will be able to stand in line for a dose.

Nursing homes across the state of Florida will be getting plenty of the vaccines in the coming days while one South Florida county is turning toward those with experience as first responders to help administer doses.

Here's what we know today about the coronavirus outbreak in Florida, and the effort to stop it.

Florida Completes Nursing Home COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

Florida’s program to vaccinate residents and staff members at long-term care facilities is complete, the state’s director of emergency management told lawmakers Thursday, freeing up resources — and possibly more vaccines — for the state’s broader inoculation strategy against the coronavirus.

More here.

Florida Adds 11,400 New COVID-19 Cases, Reports Over 200 More Virus Deaths Thurs.

After four straight days of less than 10,000 cases reported daily, Florida added more than 11,400 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, as the state's virus-related death toll increased by over 200.

The 11,423 new confirmed COVID-19 cases brought Florida's total to 1,687,594 since the outbreak began, according to figures released by the state's department of health. The increase in cases is partially due to a large increase in test results, with results of 174,000 tests released Thursday compared to 96,000 on Wednesday.

South Florida Leads State in More-Contagious COVID-19 Variant Cases

A more contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus is emerging across the country, and Florida is leading the nation in the number of those mutated cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Florida and California have 92 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, the CDC says, which was first identified in Britain last September. Of Florida’s 92 cases, 60 are in South Florida, according to the state’s department of health.

Florida Administering 99.8% of Vaccine Doses Without Issue; Over 3,300 Wasted: Dept. of Health

Florida is administering about 99.8% of the COVID-19 vaccine doses that have been given to the state without issue, with more than 3,300 reported wasted, department of health officials said Thursday.

The 3,344 vaccine doses that have been reported wasted in the state includes vials that were broken, either in transit or during administration, and any vials that were thawed and unable to be administered within the recommended time for use, Florida Department of Health Officials said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis Holds News Briefing in Tallahassee

Gov. Ron DeSantis reiterated the state's focus on inoculating the senior community during a news conference Thursday morning, saying that 1.1 million seniors have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

DeSantis also provided an update on Florida's economic health, saying that Florida has remained fiscally sound throughout the pandemic. He also echoed previous statements stating that "lockdowns don't work" and Florida's strategy in mitigating the pandemic has been successful.

DeSantis' statements come as more cases of a contagious COVID-19 variant spread throughout the state. As of Wednesday, Florida added more than 8,400 new COVID-19 cases, as the state's virus-related death toll increased by over 160.

For the first time since the U.S.'s coronavirus outbreak began, the Miami Heat will play in an arena filled with fans Thursday, though guests will have to face some four-legged security before entering.

Miami Heat to Bring Back Fans With Help of COVID-Sniffing Dogs

For the first time in months, the American Airlines Arena is welcoming back Miami Heat fans -- but they'll be greeted by a new pandemic protocol.

COVID-19 sniffing dogs will be present at tonight's game, sniffing out any and everyone displaying signs and symptoms of the coronavirus.

The precaution is part of many safety protocols the Heat is implementing in the face of the pandemic, including that fans wear face masks to attend the game.

The game starts at 8 p.m. The Heat recommends that guests arrive early for parking and screening.

Vaccine Supply Continues to Be Issue for South Florida Hospitals

Most vaccination sites across Miami-Dade and Broward have not held doses in reserve, saying the state assured them the delivery of second doses.

But with production lagging, some sites have paused operations or have yet to schedule seniors for their booster shots.

Mercy Hospital is the latest hospital to confirm that they are having to "reschedule vaccinations due to limited supply" but says they are prioritizing staff. The hospital says they are communicating appointment changes to those affected.

Broward County is looking for qualified personnel to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine into people's arms. NBC 6's Steve Litz reports

Broward Recruits Retired Docs and Nurses to Help Administer COVID-19 Vaccines

As the COVID-19 vaccination process ramps up, Broward County is calling on the old guard to help out.

The county’s Medical Reserve Corps is asking retired physicians, nurses and health care workers to help out in the massive effort to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of people.

The application has spots for qualifications, licenses and any special skills. Laypeople with no medical background are encouraged to join the corps as well as they can help with paperwork, traffic flow and other non-medical tasks.

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