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Disney To Furlough 43,000; Florida National Guard Tests At Nursing Homes; DeSantis Says I-4 Roadwork Will Speed Up: Your Coronavirus Update For 4/11

Photo: CDC @cdc
Photo: CDC @cdc

Some 446 Floridians have died from COVID-19, according to the latest figures from the Florida Department of Health.

Florida has had 18,986 positive cases, and 2,607 people have been hospitalized.  

Orange County has had 923 cases, the most in Central Florida. The county has had 138 hospitalizations and 13 deaths. Marion County has had the fewest cases at 87, 11 hospitalizations and two deaths. Sumter County, home to the sprawling retirement community of The Villages, has had 108 cases, 27 hospitalizations and nine deaths.

Nationwide, there are 526,396 confirmed cases and 20,463 deaths. The country's number of deaths topped Italy's on Saturday, make the U.S. outbreak the deadliest in the world. Across the globe, there are 1.78 million cases and 108,503 deaths. 

Updated 7:30 p.m. 

Disney To Furlough 43,000 In Latest Blow To Local Economy

By The Associated Press

Walt Disney World plans to stop paying wages to 43,000 workers in about a week while allowing them to keep their benefits for up to a year as they stay home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The deal with the workers unions was announced on Saturday. This is the largest wave of furloughs since the theme park resort closed in mid-March.

Workers will be able to keep their medical benefits for the length of the furlough period, or up to a year.

Seniority and wage rates will remain unchanged for the workers whose furloughs start April 19. About 200 workers will remain on the job.

Updated 2:30 p.m.

DeSantis: Laptops On The Way For Small, Rural School Districts

By Amy Green, WMFE 

More than 32,000 laptop computers are on the way to 34 mostly small, rural school districts across Florida. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis says the effort will help students stay connected after schools closed March 30th to stem the spread of the coronavirus. 

Updated 2 p.m.

Two More Unions Reach Agreements With Disney Over Furloughs

By The Associated Press 

Two more unions have reached agreements with Walt Disney World over furloughs caused by the theme park resort’s closure during the coronavirus outbreak.

The agreements reached late Friday involve security guards and workers involved in facilities and operations.

Under the agreements, workers will continue to get health and educational benefits during furloughs scheduled to start April 19.

It's unclear how many workers are affected by the agreement. Disney World and other theme parks across the U.S. have been closed since mid-March.

Florida National Guard Tests For Coronavirus At Nursing Homes

By The Associated Press 

Members of the Florida National Guard have started on-the-spot testing of residents at nursing homes for the new coronavirus as long-term care facilities in the state have reported scores of cases.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday that guardsmen have conducted tests of residents and staff at nursing homes in South Florida.

UF Health Shands has done other spot-testing at facilities. In Clay County, 49 cases have been reported at long-term care facilities, and 51 cases among residents and staff have been reported at a nursing home in Suwannee County.

Last month, DeSantis ordered a suspension of all visits to nursing homes.

Updated 12 p.m. 

DeSantis: I-4 Roadwork Will Speed Up

By Amy Green, WMFE 

Gov. Ron DeSantis says construction on the I-4 Ultimate will accelerate by one to two months. 

The effort comes as DeSantis aims to speed up transportation projects statewide while the coronavirus keeps Floridians at home and traffic light.  

“The segments of the project we are accelerating include large portions of westbound I-4 beginning at the State Road 434 interchange in Longwood, extending through downtown Orlando and parts of the State Road 408 interchange, which is the most heavily traveled interchange within the I-4 Ultimate project," the governor said Saturday. 

The $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate is aimed at refurbishing 21 miles of Central Florida’s busiest thoroughfare through Orange and Seminole counties. Work is to be complete in 2021.

DeSantis says his administration worked with private contractors involved in the project to identify segments where construction could pick up. 

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.
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