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The news you need to know today


Here's your morning news briefing

Weekly COVID update
The Florida Department of Health added 15,314 cases to the state's totals for the seven days ending Thursday, according to its latest weekly report. The state's positivity rate was 3.4%, down from 3.8% the previous week.

According to the report, 58,803 Floridians have died from COVID-19 related complications, an increase of 944 for the week. This is the first time that number has fallen below 1,000 since the week of Aug. 5.

Escambia County offering rental assistance
Low-income residents in Escambia County — including Pensacola residents — who are facing pandemic-related difficulties paying the rent can get assistance from a new local program. Read more about it here.

And end to the mask lawsuit?
An administrative law judge will have up to two weeks to issue a decision after a hearing ended Friday in a challenge by six school boards to a state Department of Health rule designed to prevent student mask requirements. Read more here.

Florida's unemployment rate dropped slightly in September
In September, Florida's unemployment rate dropped .1%, making it 4.9% versus 5% in August. Florida's ranking as the 29th lowest state for unemployment by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics remains the same. Read more here.

Thousands of workers are opting to get fired, rather than take the vaccine
Across the country, employers are firing workers for refusing to comply with vaccine mandates. Some people are opting to quit their jobs rather than take the shot. Read more from NPR here.

The fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins is prompting calls to ban real guns from sets
The death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was killed in an accidental shooting on the set of the film Rust last week, has prompted conversations of gun safety on movie sets. Read more here.