Coronavirus update: Hialeah firefighters test positive, cruises enter Port Everglades and youngest patient dies

Today is Friday, April 3 and The United States has 23.6% of the world’s confirmed COVID-19 cases. About 6.6 million people have filed for unemployment, the highest number in history and the nation’s federal stockpiles of emergency medical gear are at an all-time low.

Florida has recorded 9,000 COVID-19 cases, spiking nearly 2,000 in less than 24 hours. Palm Beach County, at 737 confirmed cases, holds 18.9% of deaths in the state.

The Miami Herald reported on Thursday afternoon that three Hialeah firefighters had tested positive for the virus. Two of them received their results Wednesday, the other on March 28. Only one is showing symptoms. The department added that all those who came in contact with them have been sent for testing and the station is being decontaminated.

Miami-Dade transit officials announced on Thursday that beginning Saturday, April 4, Metrorail and Metromover will run from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. The change was implemented due to the decrease in the number of riders. Metrorail riders in need of essential services past 10 p.m. can use Metrobus routes 246 and 500.

Two testing sites in Miami-Dade County lowered the minimum age requirement for screening on Thursday. Charles Hadley and Marlins Park are now testing individuals 18 years and older who are experiencing symptoms.

Broward County School officials reported on Thursday that all school campuses will close on Monday, April 6. Staff may be asked to report to work if needed. Food distribution sites will still be open.

Five Star Premier Residences of Hollywood shared on Thursday that a resident who tested positive for COVID-19 died. According to officials, the resident lived in the community since 2013 and was hospitalized on March 24.

A male inmate at the Broward County Jail tested positive. According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the inmate refused a medical test after a routine screening. He was then transported to the hospital, where he was tested. The diagnosis was received on Wednesday. Areas where the inmate was housed are scheduled for decontamination.

NBC 6 reported on Thursday that a 34-year-old man from Broward County died due to complications related to COVID-19. Brandon Robinson died on March 31, making him the youngest person in the county to succumb to the disease.

According to spokesperson Ellen Kennedy, the Port Everglades Unified Command approved Holland America Line’s repatriation plan for the Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships on Thursday. “Exceeding safety procedures laid out by [the] U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention … healthy passengers will return to their homes on Friday and Saturday on chartered flights to domestic and international destinations,” Kennedy said. Ten people who are known to have COVID-19 will be transported to the Broward Health Medical Center, the cruise line’s official medical provider said.

Publix released a statement on Thursday announcing that it will offer contactless payment options at stores. This new procedure is expected to be completed by Saturday, and will also be available at the Greenwise Markets.

On The South Florida Media Network: Sabrina Patruno writes about the impact COVID-19 is making on young employees of local boutiques and game stores.

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Mickaella is a senior at FIU, currently majoring in Journalism and looking forward to a Spring 2020 graduation. She was born in New Jersey but moved to Miami at the age of 7. Missing the fall foliage, winter snow and 24/7 deli’s, she plans to move back up north to New York after graduation and further enhance her career.