Coronavirus update: Broward masks, Miami Beach furloughs and online food stamps

It’s Monday, April 13 and the United States has more than half a million cases of COVID-19. The state of New York has more cases than any other country in the world and roughly 18% of its police department is out sick.

The state is about to reach 20,000 COVID-19 cases. Miami-Dade holds more than 7,000 and has officially surpassed Palm-Beach County in reported deaths with 97.

Starting today, the COVID-19 testing site at Hard Rock Stadium will be run by the State of Florida instead of the federal government. Officials will waive the age requirement and expand testing to anyone experiencing symptoms. No appointments needed.

Over the weekend, the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department announced that among the 291 employees who were tested, 40 have been confirmed positive. The department added that 96 employees are still awaiting results.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced on Saturday that individuals with disabilities who are unable to get tested at the county’s drive-thru sites will now be able to get tested at home by calling (305) 499-8767.

Gimenez also shared on Sunday the COVID-19 weekly hospital report. The county currently has 534 ICU beds, with an additional 477 beds that could be converted to intensive care if required. There are also 871 ventilators for deployment and 157 on standby.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said on Friday the city will begin to implement furloughs, cease overtime pay and execute a hiring freeze.

The Town of Davie released a statement on Saturday announcing that police Chief Dave Engle had been placed on administrative leave. The decision came as authorities probe fraternal order of police allegations that Engle had claimed Deputy Shannon Bennett died because he was homosexual. Bennett died on April 3 due to complications of COVID-19.

Broward Sheriff’s Office Union President Jeff Bell was suspended indefinitely with pay by Sheriff Gregory Tony on Friday. Tony stated Bell had falsely accused the sheriff of not supplying deputies with enough protective gear to keep them safe. The department currently has more than 25,000 N95 masks and over 44,000 surgical masks.

Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry issued an order on Saturday instructing every individual in the county to wear a facial covering when visiting essential business establishments. The order took effect at 12:01 a.m. and exceptions will be made for children under the age of two and people with difficulty breathing.

On Saturday, the USDA announced that Florida was approved to provide online grocery shopping to SNAP recipients starting later this month. Florida’s SNAP participation is at about 3 million from 1.5 million households and totals nearly $4 billion a year in federal funding.

Local 10 reported on Saturday that Disney World had furloughed approximately 43,000 employees due to the coronavirus. The company will stop paying workers next week but will let them keep medical, dental and life benefits for a year. Two hundred workers will continue to provide essential services during the park closure, and positions afterward will be offered based on seniority.

Multimedia story of the day: Quoctrung Bui and Justin Wolfers from the New York Times report on another way to spot a recession coming. Electricity usage in the United States in the last three weeks has sunk to numbers closely related with that of the Great Recession.

Tweet of the day:

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.