Coronavirus live updates: Here’s what to know in South Florida on April 9

Anthony Chiang
·9 min read

We’re keeping track of the latest news regarding the coronavirus in South Florida and around the state. Check back for updates throughout the day.

THURSDAY NIGHT CASE NUMBER UPDATE

7 p.m.: Forty-eight more people died in Florida from COVID-19, the single biggest jump in deaths since the outbreak began, and Miami-Dade recorded 16 new deaths, its deadliest toll to date, state health officials announced Thursday night.

Read the full update on Florida’s new case numbers here.

MIAMI-DADE CUTS SOME BUS ROUTES

6:30 p.m.: Sparse ridership on Miami-Dade’s buses during the coronavirus pandemic has forced the county’s transit authority to suspend low-demand routes in another cost-cutting measure.

The county will no longer operate five routes starting Friday but will beef up service on three popular routes by adding buses, with the goal of reducing passenger density and improving social distancing for commuters and drivers.

Ridership will be limited to 16 passengers on regular 40-foot buses and 36 on larger articulated buses. Once capacity is reached, drivers will not allow additional passengers to board and will call a supervisor to dispatch another bus.

Read the full story here.

HIALEAH BANS SOCIALIZING AT VENTANITA COFFEE WINDOWS

5:35 p.m.: The city of Hialeah passed an emergency order Thursday, placing tight restrictions on how residents can use the walk-up windows where South Floridians regularly meet to drink Cuban coffee.

But no longer are these venues for social gatherings in a time of coronavirus. Instead, customers may use the restaurant windows only to place and pick up orders, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez said.

Read the full story here.

MIAMI-DADE RENTS HOTEL ROOMS FOR HOMELESS, HEALTHCARE WORKERS

5:15 p.m.: Miami-Dade County is securing hundreds of hotel rooms to ease crowding at homeless shelters and also give healthcare workers a place to sleep between shifts.

Ronald Book, chairman of the board that oversees Miami-Dade’s homeless agency, said the county may move more than 150 older residents from residential facilities across Miami-Dade. Already, nearly 50 are being moved out of the Chapman centers in Miami and Homestead as a precaution against spread in those two county-funded facilities.

Read the full story here.

MIAMI-DADE UNEMPLOYMENT UPDATE

3:55 p.m.: Miami-Dade libraries began handing out state unemployment forms this week to make up for Florida’s overwhelmed website for unemployment assistance. Here’s an update from Miami Herald reporter Doug Hanks on the process ...

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THREE MIAMI BEACH CONSTRUCTION SITES SHUT DOWN

3 p.m.: The City of Miami Beach has cracked down on three active construction sites, issuing 14-day stop-work orders for failing to comply with coronavirus safety requirements.

Two of the violations were issued Wednesday and a third was issued Thursday. The stop work orders cite “failure to comply with the CDC safety regulations during the COVID-19 emergency period.”

Here are the three Miami Beach construction sites that were cited.

MIAMI-DADE JAIL GETS DONATED MASKS

2:45 p.m.: With officers and inmates ordered to cover their faces to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Miami-Dade jail system has received over 5,200 donated masks.

The separate donations were made by Ryan Shapiro, the former CEO of J-Pay, a Miramar company that handles money and e-mails accounts for inmates across the nation, and Al Eskanazy, the co-chair of the Greater Miami-Miami Beach Police Foundation.

Read the full story here.

MARLINS HELPING TO PROVIDE SUPPLIES

1:50 p.m.: The Miami Marlins are partnering with #WRECares, launched by Miami-based media agency World Red Eye, to help provide much needed supplies to the front line heroes during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Marlins donated nearly 1,000 pieces of clothing, including home and road jerseys, uniform pants and T-shirts to help seamstresses and designers who have transitioned their businesses to produce masks for the South Florida community. The donation is expected to help fabricate over 7,500 more masks that will be distributed to medical facilities, including the City of Miami Police Department and the University of Miami Health System.

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MIAMI BEACH OFFERING IN-HOME COVID-19 TESTS FOR SENIORS

12:50 p.m.: Home-bound seniors in Miami Beach who show COVID-19 symptoms can now request in-home testing through a private clinic that has partnered with the city to make coronavirus tests available to residents ages 65 and up.

MedRite Urgent Care, which operates the only drive-thru COVID-19 testing center in Miami Beach, is expected to begin senior testing on Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to an email City Manager Jimmy Morales sent Wednesday to the mayor’s office.

More information on the new in-home tests for Miami Beach seniors can be found here.

MIAMI HEAT STORE DOING ITS PART

12:35 p.m.: The Miami Heat store and Refried Apparel are partnering together to turn $100,000 in unsold jerseys into over 7,000 masks to be donated to local medical facilities in need.

“I remembered we were sitting on some former players’ jerseys and T-shirts and I thought to myself, ‘Let’s recycle these into something useful and donate them to those brave folks on the front lines of this pandemic,’” said Andy Montero, Vice President of Retail Business & Development for the Miami Heat. “We’re stuck in our houses, but I’m so happy we are finding ways to help!”

The employees at Refried Apparel are working around the clock to transform these garments. The cutters and sewers have been donating their time to this effort. Click here to donate to the cutters and sewers.

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TWO MIAMI AMAZON WORKERS TEST POSITIVE

12 p.m.: Two workers at an Amazon warehouse near Miami International Airport have tested positive for novel coronavirus, a worker at the facility and Amazon confirmed to the Miami Herald.

Employees at the warehouse, at 3200 NW 67th Ave., received text messages that two workers had tested positive. One of the workers’ last day at the site was March 28, while the other worked until March 31.

Read the full story here.

UPDATED FLORIDA CASE NUMBERS

11:40 a.m.: On Thursday morning, Florida’s Department of Health confirmed 666 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total of confirmed cases to 16,364. There were 31 new deaths announced, bringing the statewide total to 354.

Miami-Dade County reported 284 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, raising the county total of known cases to 5,745. The county’s death toll is 63.

Broward County confirmed 89 additional cases of the disease, raising the county total of known cases to 2,454. The county’s death toll is 66.

Miami-Dade (5,745 confirmed COVID-19 cases) and Broward (2,454 confirmed COVID-19 cases) counties make up 50.1 percent of the state’s confirmed case total. Florida’s case numbers will again be updated Thursday evening.

SOME SMALL BUSINESSES STILL WAITING FOR EMERGENCY LOANS

11 a.m.: Despite Trump administration’s reassurances that the Paycheck Protection Program would serve as an immediate source of funding for small businesses whose revenue streams have stopped cold, some firms find themselves in limbo as they wait for funds.

Under the PPP, banks are supposed to act as the conduit for federally backed loans to small businesses fighting to stay afloat during the coronavirus shock. But the program has faced a difficult rollout as many banks seek clarification of how the loans count against their own loan-to-capital ratios. They also want to know whether they face potential regulatory penalty if a PPP borrower is later found to have engaged in money laundering or fraud.

Read the full story here.

CAN YOU STILL GET PARKING OR RED-LIGHT CAMERA TICKETS?

9:50 a.m.: With local, countywide and statewide stay-at-home orders in place as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to skyrocket across Florida, some local governments say they’re writing much fewer parking tickets, recognizing that residents are using their cars sparingly for essential activities.

Here’s a rundown of how different cities in Miami-Dade County are handling tickets during the pandemic.

FLORIDA UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS CONTINUE TO GROW

9:35 a.m.: Unemployment claims in Florida swelled by about 170,000 last week, as the U.S. added another 6.6 million to its jobless count amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Combined with the last weeks’ figures of 228,484 and 74,021, nearly half a million Floridians now find themselves on the street looking for work.

Read the full story here.

CATCH UP TO START THE DAY

9:10 a.m.: Here are the coronavirus headlines to catch you up on what’s happening around South Florida and the state as Thursday begins.

Florida neared 16,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, as the state’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 242 cases Wednesday evening, bringing the state total to 15,698 cases.

As the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida continues to come into focus, cities in Miami-Dade County are ordering more stringent measures to stop the spread.

Miami-Dade libraries began handing out state unemployment forms this week to make up for Florida’s overwhelmed, malfunctioning website for unemployment assistance.

The city of Miami escalated the response to the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday when officials mandated that everyone inside grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores wear masks or face coverings.

Employees at Publix supermarkets in Cutler Bay and downtown Miami have tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.

Planned furloughs and pay cuts for Jackson Health System workers to reduce costs during the coronavirus outbreak will be “deferred indefinitely,” the hospital’s CEO announced on Wednesday.