The FDA has recommended emergency authorization for Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. That means we could have a second vaccine available as early as next week, pending final approval from the CDC that will meet Saturday. Pfizer’s has been on the market for about a week.
Both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties have put stricter rules in place for masks. Officials met Thursday to talk about ways to encourage people to wear masks and how to up the fines for businesses for not doing so. Pinellas has already handed out 200 citations and Hillsborough county has code enforcement officers checking to make sure the rules are being followed.
The latest spike in COVID-19 cases in Florida is exactly why officials are encouraging mask use. 13,148 new cases were reported Thursday with the state total now at 1,168,483. Over 20,000 Floridians have lost their lives to the virus, with the total now at 20,305. If you have questions or need more information from the Florida Department of Health, the COVID-19 Call Center is available 24/7 be calling 1-866-779-6121. You can also reach them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours. BayCare is offering rapid result tests at nine Urgent Care Centers for asymptomatic individuals. This is one you’ll have to pay for up front at $150 and can make an online appointment for on the BayCare web site. The newest locations for free, drive through shots are at five Hillsborough County school locations which will require a reservation. You can take care of that by calling 813-307-8085 Monday through Friday from 8-5 pm. Other Free COVID-19 tests are available in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties. For more please check in with us daily here.
Residents in Pinellas, HIllsborough and Polk counties are still cleaning up after Wednesday’s tornadoes ripped through the three counties. The first hit in Pinellas Park that had seen a storm just like it 28 years ago. In 1992 there were five separate tornadoes that killed four residents. If you’d like to help victims of the storm check the links here for the Red Cross and Feeding Tampa Bay.
For the first time in 115 years, the Annual Feast of the Epiphany Celebration in Tarpon Springs that usually draws thousands will now be downsized. It will be closed to the public and all the boys diving for the cross will be wearing masks up until the point they dive in to the bayou, and only two family members per diver will be allowed. The Glendi Celebration is also canceled. Don’t even try to get close - city officials say Craig Park and the areas around the Spring Bayou will be closed to prevent crowds.
The Bucs are back in action Sunday after they beat the Minnesota Vikings 26-14 last Sunday with three games left in the regular season. They’re are on the road to Atlanta for the first of two games Sunday at 1 pm. After that it’s the Detroit Lions on the 26th, then back to Atlanta for the final regular season game on January 3rd.
Sports are on hold at public schools in Polk County with more that 50 student-athletes testing positive for COVID-19. Dan Talbot, Director of Athletics for Polk County Schools said Tuesday none of the missed games will be forfeited and they’re hoping to get things back on track by January 4th.
The Toronto Raptors are calling Tropicana Field home for now and are inviting a limited number of fans to watch their games. Ticket sales begin Thursday for up to 3,200 fans for the preseason and 3,800 for the regular season. That will start on the 23rd against New Orleans. To help maintain social distancing seats will be sold in pods of two or four and start at $35. No seats will be sold within 30 feet of the court and you must wear a mask.