Coronavirus Updates: Only Six Deaths Increase Across State; Palm Beach County’s death toll stays the same overnight.
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The unkempt heads of Palm Beach County, sick of eating tasteless evidence that they haven’t learned anything from cable cooking shows, will be spoiled on Monday: haircuts and hamburgers.
Palm Beach County, which has been on lockdown since April 3 due to the coronavirus pandemic, lies behind much of Florida and is kicking off the first phase of Governor Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan, which will include restricted opening of businesses such as barbershops, restaurants, and retail stores.
Due to exceptionally high infection rates, the Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, which together account for approximately 58% of the nation’s COVID-19 cases, have been excluded from the May 4 governor’s ordinance, which allows limited reopening of businesses.
Palm Beach County took its first step towards reopening on April 29th by allowing golf courses, tennis courts, community pools and boating facilities to operate with restrictions.
And while Miami-Dade and Broward haven’t been allowed to begin reopening, the state will allow restaurants and retail stores to open at up to 25% capacity on Monday. However, Palm Beach County said libraries are not yet open.
Barbershops, nail salons and beauty salons can only see customers individually by appointment. Employees must wear a mask at all times and there must be 15 minutes between disinfection appointments. All businesses must adhere to the social distancing protocol.
Gyms and fitness centers and bars that generate 50% or more of total alcohol sales and beaches will remain closed until further notice.
The Palm Beach County Commission will meet on Friday to decide whether to open beaches on May 18.
The Palm Beach County openings follow 72 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus across the county, bringing the total to 3,870, Florida Department of Health statistics showed on Sunday.
After eight deaths were reported in Palm Beach County on Saturday, no more deaths were reported on Sunday. The number of deaths is 237.
>> What’s open in Palm Beach County?
The number of new cases on Sunday rose nationwide by around 1 percent to 40,596 and the number of deaths by just six to 1,788.
In the week leading up to May 9, nationwide tests increased, with the number of positive cases falling from an average of 8% to 5%. Testing in Palm Beach County is also expected to increase.
Free drive-through antibody testing began Saturday at the Palm Beach County’s Health Care District COVID-19 testing site at the Palm Beaches FITTEAM Ballpark. The tests are reserved for first responders, including the police and fire departments, and health care workers employed in a health care facility.
>> Palm Beach County’s beaches will reopen May 18th under the proposed schedule
Phase 1 plans prohibit gatherings of 10 or more people nationwide. The governor also urges residents to avoid unnecessary travel and encourage seniors and people with medical conditions to stay home.
Nursing homes are still particularly hard hit by the virus. Five more deaths were reported on Sunday, bringing the total number of deaths in nursing homes to 703, or nearly 40 percent of the coronavirus-related deaths across the state.
As a result, the state agency for the management of health care announced on Sunday that it had issued emergency orders to improve testing of staff in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
The orders call for nursing homes and assisted living facilities to allow the Florida Department of Health to enter their buildings for infection control and to conduct COVID-19 tests on residents and staff. When the department enters the buildings, nursing homes and assisted living facilities must require staff to take tests.
Paramedics in Palm Beach County have also started testing local residents.
The small town of South Bay, with a population of just over 5,000, reported 10 new cases in just 24 hours, bringing the total to 79 according to the state.
>> In Palm Beach County cases, fuel for prisons in South Bay is rising
One of those cases was a South Bay Prison employee, where 50 inmates and 47 employees tested positive, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Corrections on Sunday.
A whopping 1,071 remain in medical quarantine. The prison, run by the Boca Raton Geo Group, can accommodate 1,943 adult men. Approximately 335 of the inmates were tested.
DeSantis has not yet released details of the second phase of the three-part reopening plan, and it is unclear whether Palm Beach County will be part of that plan or whether it will be delayed.
Right now, it’s best to check online or call companies before visiting. Restaurant reservations are recommended due to capacity restrictions. If possible, customers should try to shop outside of peak hours.
Shops at Palm Beach Outlets, Skechers, Starbucks, PetSmart, TooJay’s Deli, Red Robin, BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse, AT&T, Visionworks, Mattress Firm, The Vitamin Shoppe, Subway, Hurley, and Five Below, will open on Monday reopened. More stores will follow shortly days. Check individual stores for hours.
The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens, including retailers and restaurants, announced plans to reopen May 15 with a capacity of 25%. Contact individual companies for hours.
Palm Beach County Schools have canceled summer camps and put all classes online.
Florida Intelligence contributed to this story.