Time is running out for Congress to find common ground on what should be included in the second stimulus package. The second stimulus proposal from the Senate Republicans, the Help, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act, includes multiple smaller pieces of legislation. These components would provide another round of direct stimulus payments to Americans, extend unemployment benefits, freeze Medicare premiums, offer more Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding and extend liability shields for businesses facing COVID-19-related lawsuits.
South Florida Sun Sentinel
More than a half-million people in Florida have tested positive for COVID-19, as the state remains second only to California, according to official infection numbers. Florida, the third most populous state in the U.S., now has 502,739 cases after reporting another 5,409 COVID-19 cases Wednesday. California health officials on Tuesday listed almost 520,000 cases.
News 4 Jax
JACKSONVILLE, Fla- – State-run coronavirus testing sites are expanding locations to include priority lanes for people showing symptoms of COVID-19 and elderly people and kids. The testing site at Regency Square Mall in Jacksonville is one of the several sites subject to the changes. In priority lanes, patients will be able to use self-swab tests, though the Regency site was offering self-swab tests as early as last month. Healthcare workers will supervise when a patient does the test.
A majority of Americans would support a mandatory two-week order requiring them to shelter in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, a new poll found. The NPR/Ipsos survey found that while 85% of respondents considered their state governments to either have “a lot” or “some” responsibility for helping contain Covid-19, they also want a national response to the pandemic. Sixty-seven percent said they believe a national strategy is needed to help stop the spread of the virus, while almost two-thirds said the U.S. is handling the pandemic worse than other countries.
Orlando Business Journal
A growing list of Florida legislators is calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue an order requiring face coverings for the entire state due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As it stands now, mask mandates can vary between Florida cities and counties. In Orange County, every person working, living, visiting or doing business in the county must wear a mask, but in Brevard, there isn’t a single mask order in effect that covers the whole county.
Lee County commissioners on Tuesday approved the launch of Round 2 of the LeeCARES Assistance Program. With the commissioners’ approval, more individuals and families are eligible to receive up to $3,000 in rent or mortgage assistance, while local businesses can receive increased grants for rehiring employees. Grant recipients from the first round of assistance are eligible for Round 2 funding. Round 1 closes to applications on Aug. 7 and Round 2 opens Aug. 17. WINK News spoke to Kari Fundingsland, who owns Kari Kardio, and she said her toughest decision as a small business owner came on March 20, right as the pandemic started affecting businesses.
The Center Square
(The Center Square) – The U.S. Census Bureau's new deadline to finish the decennial headcount likely ensures census undercounts in Florida that could cost the state billions over the next 10 years and douses its long-shot hopes of picking up a third new congressional seat. The deadline to finish the count, which determines federal and state allocations for the next decade, now is Sept. 30, four weeks earlier than planned since spring. The bureau reported Monday that 93 million households, nearly 63 percent of all households in the nation, have self-responded to the census and at least 60 million households remain uncounted.
Since the Florida Legislature passed the Clean Waterways Act of 2020, why did the Santa Fe River Bill of Rights campaign still push for a Bill of Rights for the river? Here’s a hint: despite the act’s catchy title, Tallahassee isn’t coming to the rescue. Looking under the hood, this bill does nothing to reduce the dominant source of pollution ravaging the beloved rivers and springs in my part of Florida. How can this be? Here’s another hint: Follow the money.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is preparing to award a nine-figure state contract to the company responsible for Florida’s disastrous unemployment system. Deloitte Consulting beat out four other companies for a contract to centralize and manage Florida’s Medicaid data, the state Agency for Health Care Administration announced Monday. The agency is expected to enter negotiations with Deloitte in the coming weeks. The announcement came after the company has weathered months of scorn for its 2013 overhaul of Florida’s unemployment system.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday targeting the improvement of health care for patients and medical providers in rural communities, expanding access to telehealth services in those areas and elsewhere and extending some telehealth flexibilities prompted by the pandemic to last permanently beyond it. Months ahead of the 2020 presidential election that has candidates chasing rural votes, the move also comes on the heels of a mega surge in demand for telehealth appointments in the U.S., as the threat of catching COVID-19 forced people to pivot typically in-person experiences to virtual visits.