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Dave Dunwoody / WUWF

In accordance with safeguards against coronavirus, Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson held his weekly news conference outdoors in City Hall’s courtyard.

On a cool, breezy morning, chairs for the media were set about three feet apart to practice “social distancing.”

“The city of Pensacola is very focused on the whole, well-rounded picture of everything,” said Robinson. “We’re not simply looking at it from one angle; we’re looking at it from 360 [degree] position as far as all of our citizens.”

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

It’s an exciting, yet anxious, time for the University of West Florida Center for Asian Studies. The global spread of the coronavirus began just as the center was gaining momentum with its new name, new programs and special events planned. 

Florida Department of Health

Gov. Ron DeSantis was back before the media Sunday, with the latest on COVID-19 and the inroads it’s making into Florida.

As of late Sunday, Florida's confirmed cases of new COVID-19 jumped by 39, reaching 100 total as testing expands and the results become known. According to the Florida Department of Health, 16 of the new cases are in Broward County -- the state's epicenter for the disease --with 36 confirmed infections; and four people have died -- the latest a 77-year-old man in Lee County.

Pensacola Ice Flyers

In addition to major sports leagues and events, the minor leagues are also feeling the pinch of coronavirus – including Pensacola’s two pro sports teams.

The decision by the Southern Professional Hockey league came as no surprise to Pensacola Ice Flyers owner Greg Harris.

Lindsay Fox/Flickr

The Tobacco Free Santa Rosa Coalition is hoping to put regulations on tobacco retailers to reduce youth exposure to tobacco and nicotine products.

On Thursday, March 19, the coalition will meet with the city of Milton’s Committee of the Whole to discuss implementing a Tobacco Retail License in the city. 

A Tobacco Retail License is a policy tool to help municipalities have more control over how tobacco products are sold, said Kristie Beckstrom, of Tobacco Free Santa Rosa County.

“It puts rules into writing,” she added. “And the rules depend on the policy makers.”

Amid concerns about the coronavirus and its future in Florida, tourism officials remain optimistic about the upcoming tourist season.

There are no plans to cancel any events at Pensacola Beach, including the popular Bands on the Beach outdoor concert series, which kicks off April 7. As part of the local caution, Visit Pensacola’s Nicole Stacey says they’re in touch with all local hospitals and agencies on pretty much a daily basis.

UWF

Florida’s public universities – including West Florida – are telling their students to stay away from the campuses for at least two weeks after the end of spring break, because of coronavirus. 

The Board of Governors made the call on Wednesday. While this is voluntary at this time, it’s possible it will become mandatory at some point. Universities are urged to prepare now.

As temperatures began inching up this spring, we once again noticed the birds in our backyard begin sparking and nesting behavior. Sitting on my porch one morning, watching all the commotion, I had a brainstorm.

Hey, I told my wife, we need to get some of those nesting boxes the wrens love and hang them under the eaves. As I was worrying that we were already too late for this spring, I got a lesson.

The birds were way ahead of us.

President Trump speaks from the Oval Office about coronavirus after the World Health Orgamization labeled the virus a pandemic Wednesday. 

CDC

Health officials in Florida report eight new cases of coronavirus as of late Wednesday, bringing the total diagnosed to 21. This as Gov. Ron DeSantis says action is being taken on a number of levels.

Speaking in Tallahassee, DeSantis said they’ve been working with “a lot of different folks” throughout the state, at the municipal level; health departments in all 67 counties, the private sector, and the feds, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Elections officials in Northwest Florida are looking for a little extra help this election cycle, starting with the March 17 presidential primary.

¿Hablas español? ¡Entonces la Oficina Electoral del Condado de Escambia te necesita!

Translation: Do you speak Spanish? Then the Escambia County Elections Office needs you.

Tori Lynn Schneider/ Tallahassee Democrat

Florida is under a Level-2 state of emergency, after more cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the state. Gov. Ron DeSantis made the declaration over the weekend. Surgeon General Scott Rivkees — acting on orders from the governor — has also declared a public health emergency.

Florida residents fitting the criteria have been able to be tested at three different state labs in Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami.

This week on Gulf Stories Moments, we're joined by UWF student Cooper Corey, a Senior Earth & Environmental Sciences Major, who tells us about her research into ocean atmosphere variability on spring rainfall in the region.

wgcu.org

Gov. Ron DeSantis is seeking money from both federal and state sources, to help battle coronavirus. Meanwhile, the University of West Florida is bracing for the possibility of a local outbreak.

Speaking Friday in Naples, the governor said out of the more than eight billion dollars approved by Congress and signed by President Trump last week, Florida should get a sizable chunk of change -- at least $27 million – with more  on the way from Tallahassee.

cdc.gov

Officials at Baptist Hospital have confirmed they are treating a patient who had a presumptive positive test for COVID-19. 

In a press conference Thursday morning, Governor Ron DeSantis announced a possible coronavirus case in Northwest Florida.

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