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News From Action News Jax

    More than 49,500 people in Florida and 42,900 people in Georgia have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia as schools, businesses and public events are closed or canceled. Action News Jax has the very latest information on Florida and Georgia cases of the coronavirus LIVE on FOX30 and CBS47. Click here to watch . NOTE: As new information related to the coronavirus comes in regarding Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia, we will update this story. Please read the entire article for the latest information from May 23. First Coast YMCA to reopen 14 locations Monday May 25, 5 a.m.: The First Coast YMCA will welcome back members at its Northeast Florida locations on Monday. The Y will open in a phased approached to offer a variety of programs and services with appropriate guidance from health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Y will be open Monday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. New branch hours begin Tuesday, May 26, with the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. encouraged for vulnerable populations, including active older adults. Reservations will be required for activities including group exercise classes and lap swimming. Coronavirus pandemic: Click here for updates   Where to get tested for COVID-19 | Symptoms | How to stay healthy  Florida coronavirus cases | Georgia coronavirus cases  Interactive Map: Coronavirus cases around the world  Coronavirus Pandemia: Información en Español  The Y will implement new policies and procedures to ensure the safety of everyone in its branches, including: The Y will limit facility capacity and class size to meet social distancing guidelines. Y employees, except Rescue Ready lifeguards and Group Exercise instructors teaching class, must wear face masks. Members will be encouraged to wear face masks. Health assessments, including a quick survey and temperature check, will be required for everyone at the Y. Members will be asked to sanitize or wash their hands before and after a workout and clean equipment with disinfectant wipes provided by the facility before and after use. The Y has also implemented new stringent cleaning protocols including frequent disinfecting of equipment and high-touch surfaces. The Y will only use cleaning products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19. “As a community organization serving diverse populations, the Y is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all. As the current public health situation evolves, the Y will continue to evaluate how it can best serve community needs while prioritizing safety,” The First Coast YMCA said in a statement. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • With President Trump’s support, local churches are preparing to welcome attendees back. But some church pastors across the city of Jacksonville feel there is a rush to reopen for in-person services. On Friday, Trump called houses of worship essential, and implored governors reopen them across the country. But in Florida, they were never ordered to close. Instead, to keep COVID-19 from spreading, many church leaders used drive-through and online services. Impact Church Pastor George Davis said most Sundays, his church is packed with thousands of members, so he wants to make sure his team has a plan before welcoming them back. “We are going to be requiring as people come in that temperatures are checked, hand out PPE (personal protective equipment) for those that don’t have it, and ask people to wear a mask while they’re in service,” said Davis. But Bethel Baptist Church Bishop Rudolph Mckissick Jr. says it’s too soon to even think about it. “How can we open when three zip codes in our city have had the largest uptick over the last three weeks? And those zip codes are majority African Americans,” McKissick added. For now, these two pastors will continue services remotely to avoid in-person crowds. “We’ve got to be smart, we’ve got to be safe, we’ve got to exercise wisdom,” said McKissik. “We've been doing the same thing for the last ten weeks. I look straight into a camera and give my message through the camera,” Davis explained. Church pastors say they appreciate the president’s support during the pandemic, but reopening without a plan isn’t safe. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • As the city, state, and nation continue to cautiously reopen in the wake of COVID-19, the City of Jacksonville is hosting a virtual Memorial Day Observance on Monday, May 25, to honor the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who lost their lives in service to our country. #MemorialDay might look a little different this year with virtual observances but it’s just as important to honor our fallen heroes pic.twitter.com/OBc9QFAVEs — Beth Rousseau (@BethANJax) May 25, 2020 “This year’s observance is notably different than how Jacksonville normally honors our heroes on this sacred day,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “As our city and communities throughout America work to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, we must still pause and reflect on those who lost their lives in service to our nation. Jacksonville will never forget their sacrifice.” The digital observance will be posted to the City of Jacksonville YouTube Channel and social media platforms on Memorial Day, May 25 at 8 a.m. The video will contain remarks from Mayor Lenny Curry, local officials and military leadership, musical selections from the Jacksonville Voices, Jacksonville Pipes & Drums and Navy Band Southeast, a wreath laying ceremony and more. Coronavirus pandemic: Click here for updates   Where to get tested for COVID-19 | Symptoms | How to stay healthy  Florida coronavirus cases | Georgia coronavirus cases  Interactive Map: Coronavirus cases around the world  Coronavirus Pandemia: Información en Español  Like the normal observances, filming took place at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Wall which features the names of 1,700 military men and women who called Jacksonville home or graduated from High School here. It is the largest black granite memorial wall outside of Washington, D.C. and the only wall to honor all six military branches. When it is appropriate and safe, we encourage Gold Star families, veterans and patriotic citizens to visit the Wall and remember those inscribed upon it. No new names are being added to the wall this year. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park announced the hatching of four West African Crocodylus suchus baby crocodiles. This hatching brings the total number of crocodile species hatched at the Alligator Farm up to 17. gator The new babies are members of a crocodilian species very closely related to the famous Nile crocodile. Coronavirus pandemic: Click here for updates   Where to get tested for COVID-19 | Symptoms | How to stay healthy  Florida coronavirus cases | Georgia coronavirus cases  Interactive Map: Coronavirus cases around the world  Coronavirus Pandemia: Información en Español  Crocodylus suchus inhabit much of western and central Africa and for many years were grouped in the same classification as their larger and more infamous cousins. The four hatchlings, who have yet to be named, will be placed on public display when they are older. Visitors will be able to get a sneak peek of the baby hatchlings within a few weeks when the baby crocodiles will be moved to the crocodile nursery, visible as part of the Alligator Farm’s “Behind the Scenes” tours. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • While many restaurants are operating at 50 percent capacity for Memorial Day weekend, other businesses like bars and nightclubs remain closed. After being excluded from Governor Ron DeSantis’s reopening plan, bar owners are fired up. “We feel like we’re being discriminated against because everything is open,” said Jammes Pub manager Telicia Walls. Dozens of protesters filled the parking lot at Rascal’s Bar on Jacksonville’s west side Saturday afternoon. Many of them were not social distancing or wearing masks. One sign read “first to close last to open” another one had “open these bars, close my porch” written on it. “We’re not making money to pay our bills. we’re about to lose everything,” said Walls. Bar owners across the city of Jacksonville said Memorial Day weekend is one of their busiest times of the year and they’re missing out on all that revenue after being closed for more than two months. Owners of one the oldest and well-known establishments in Neptune Beach, Pete’s Bar, are now trying to get the governor’s attention on Facebook, saying, “Every single other bar in Neptune Beach is open, yet we remained closed because we don’t sell chicken wings or greasy baskets of fried food.” Bars are not scheduled to reopen until phase two of governor Ron Desantis’s plan but it’s unclear when the next phase of reopening will begin. “He’s the only one that has the power to do it,” Walls said. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • A pedestrian was hit by a car at the intersection of Fort George Road and Heckscher Drive, according to Jacksonville Fire Rescue. Crews have responded to an accident at Ft George rd and Heckscher dr to an auto vs pedestrian....the patient is being transported with serious injuries.— MyJFRD (@JFRDJAX) May 23, 2020 Action News Jax is working to learn what happened. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • A Jacksonville mom said her finger was shot off while she was driving with a friend. New pictures provided to Action News Jax show how the bullet ripped through her steering wheel and into her hand. In another photo, one can see the bullet holes in the windshield of the truck. Thursday night, Amber was out of surgery and feeling better. In an exclusive interview with Action News Jax, she said it’s been an emotional few days. Early Wednesday morning, Amber was driving with a friend to a gas station at Normandy Blvd and Yellow Water Road. Coronavirus pandemic: Click here for updates   Where to get tested for COVID-19 | Symptoms | How to stay healthy  Florida coronavirus cases | Georgia coronavirus cases  Interactive Map: Coronavirus cases around the world  Coronavirus Pandemia: Información en Español  Amber said she noticed a car acting strangely, stopping in the road and then passing them. “They did that about four or five times and just stopped the car, like literally put it in park on Normandy Blvd,” Amber said. After they arrived at the gas station, Amber believes that the vehicle waited for them to leave. She said as they were leaving, around 12:30 a.m., someone fired 12 shots at them. “I see the windshield smash, like bullets coming through,” she said. “We duck, and I hold my hand. That’s when they blew off one of my fingers.” Panicked, and shot, Amber and her friend - who was not injured - drove to a gas station minutes away to call the police. That’s when she said what just happened started to sink in. “Thank God we did not have our children, because they would’ve been gone,” she said. Amber said doctors had to amputate her right ring finger due to her injuries. She may need more surgery to help with possible nerve damage but is determined to get past this. She wanted to do the interview to get these people caught. “I am right-handed, so now I have to learn to use my left hand,” She said. “But, I’ll do it because I’m motivated, I’m strong and I’m going to get through this,” She said. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office continues to search for whoever did this. They have not provided a description of the vehicle involved. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • Memorial Day weekend is here, and with hundreds of visitors coming to the area, restaurants are having to prepare as the coronavirus is still a risk. Although restaurants are having to operate at 50% capacity this holiday weekend, restaurant owners said they’re just glad to be open to the public. The state is mandating that restaurants put social distancing measures in place, like spacing out the tables. Dockside Seafood Restaurant Director of Operations Eric Williams said he’s expecting a busy weekend at the waterfront business. Williams said employees are required to wear a mask and gloves. Stuart also expects a steady flow of customers over the Memorial Day weekend, so his workers have moved more than a dozen tables and chairs outside. Some restaurant owners at Jax Beach say they are looking forward to having visitors after spring break was not as profitable as it usually is. Dockside Seafood Restaurant is also disinfecting tables twice and even has an online menu that guests scan with their phones instead of having to use handheld menus. Coronavirus pandemic: Click here for updates   Where to get tested for COVID-19 | Symptoms | How to stay healthy  Florida coronavirus cases | Georgia coronavirus cases  Interactive Map: Coronavirus cases around the world  Coronavirus Pandemia: Información en Español  Memorial Day weekend is here and for the first time some restaurants in our area are preparing for crowds of visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants have to operate at 50% capacity this holiday weekend, but some restaurant owners told Action News Jax they’re just glad to be open. Dockside Seafood Restaurant is busy. More than a dozen people stood in line waiting to get seated and no one was wearing anything covering their faces Friday night. As the state continues to reopen, Dockside Seafood Director of operations Eric Williams says he is expecting an even bigger turnout this year and social distancing plans will still be in place. “Memorial Day weekends are always busy, the beaches get crowded,” said Williams. Many restaurants along Jacksonville Beach have put social distancing plans in place to keep people safe including Lynch’s Irish Pub on 1st Street North. Williams said employees at Dockside Seafood will be required to wear a mask and gloves. He also said workers will be consistently disinfecting tables throughout the day. Though living in a time of social distancing, many are still optimistic. “I think that everybody in our industry is hoping that there will be continued ease of restrictions,” said Williams. Williams told Action News Jax he’s looking forward to having visitors after spring break was not as profitable as it usually is. Some restaurant owners also say they don’t plan on taking any reservations right now to keep from getting big crowds. Plenty of people in town this weekend as several hotels are fully booked and short-term rentals are back open. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories

The Latest News Headlines

  • More than 5.4 million people worldwide – including at least 1.6 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Monday, May 25, continue below: Florida reports lowest number of daily deaths since late March Update 5:04 a.m. EDT May 25: Florida health officials on Sunday reported five new coronavirus-related deaths statewide since Saturday – the lowest day-to-day increase since March 29, records show. According to Orlando’s WFTV, officials also reported 740 additional cases of the virus statewide since Saturday. As of Sunday, the total number of cases in the state was at 50,867, with 2,237 deaths. Read more here. ‘Person of interest’ identified in bias crimes against Asians in Seattle Update 3 a.m. EDT May 25: Police in Seattle are investigating a growing number of crimes targeting Asians during the outbreak. Seattle officers said the attacks started late Saturday afternoon in the heart of Ballard and moved to Golden Gardens Park. They believe one man is responsible for all the incidents. A victim at Golden Gardens Park said the man spat in his face. The workers at Thai Thani Restaurant said the man threw things at them while demanding to know if they are Chinese. “I hear some noise, and I see some guy angry, yelling,' Umboom Moore told Seattle’s KIRO-TV. That was the first time she knew something unusual was happening Saturday night at the restaurant where she works. “Just like some crazy guy,” she said. “So I just started taking pictures.” Her co-worker, Natthiya Chumdee, said he was yelling at her. “Right over there, he smashed the window,” she said. When he asked if she is Chinese, she told him everyone there is Thai. He asked her to kneel and swear to it. “Well, I’m not going to do that,” she said. “He’s starting [to] lose control. And he comes here, and he says, ‘You know, I’m going to slam the door, this table to you.’” The night before, Tonya McCabe got the brunt of his anger. “He said, ‘Are you Chinese?’” she said. “And I said, ‘No, we’re not.’ And he still kept yelling at us. And I said, ‘If you’re not going to leave, I’m going to call 911.’ And then he said, ‘Better [expletive] call 911.’” Just last week, a man was captured on camera shoving an Asian couple as they walked by. They told Seattle police he spat on them, too. The man in these latest attacks is described as white, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, in his mid-20s to mid-30s and is of a muscular build. He was wearing a white shirt and shorts. It is the same suspect description in two attacks at Golden Gardens Park on Saturday night. “I stand back there, and ... yell to him, ‘Get out, leave!’” said McCabe. It has McCabe and the others working at this restaurant finding a different way to get around this city that is now their home. “I’m afraid to like walk on the street or take a bus,” said McCabe. They told KIRO that the man also approached other Asian-owned businesses in the area before apparently heading to Golden Gardens Park. Anyone who recognizes him is asked to call Seattle police. 17-year-old Georgia boy becomes youngest in state to die from COVID-19 Update 2:24 a.m. EDT May 25: The Georgia Department of Public Health said Sunday that a 17-year-old boy has died of the coronavirus, marking the youngest fatality and first pediatric death in the state. Nancy Nydam with the department confirmed the information to Atlanta’s WSB-TV on Sunday. The teen was from Fulton County and had an underlying condition, according to officials. His identity has not been released. More than 1,800 people have died of COVID-19 in Georgia since the outbreak began, with the median age of deaths at 73.6 years old, according to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of COVID-19 in children have typically been less severe, though there has been growing concern and a new warning about a rare condition recently seen in dozens of children nationwide. A spokesperson for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta confirmed that a team of infectious disease and cardiology experts are evaluating several cases in metro Atlanta of children who exhibited Kawasaki-like symptoms and inflammation. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta physician specialists stressed that it appears to be a rare finding with a low rate in Georgia. New York health officials have already issued a warning about a rare inflammatory syndrome that has infected at least 64 children in that state. A spokesperson for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta said they have experts for treating the symptoms regardless of a potential link to COVID-19. Families should contact their doctor or visit an emergency room if their child develops signs of illness such as high fever, rash, red eyes, abdominal pain and swelling of the face, hands or feet. US coronavirus cases top 1.6M, deaths near 98K Published 12:43 a.m. EDT May 25: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged past 1.6 million early Monday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,643,238 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 97,720 deaths. The hardest-hit states remain New York, with 361,515 cases and 29,141 deaths, and New Jersey, with 154,154 cases and 11,138 deaths. Massachusetts, with 92,675 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,372, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 110,304. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each. Seven other states have now confirmed at least 42,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 94,020 cases, resulting in 3,754 deaths • Pennsylvania: 71,563 cases, resulting in 5,136 deaths • Texas: 55,861 cases, resulting in 1,528 deaths • Michigan: 54,679 cases, resulting in 5,228 deaths • Florida: 50,867 cases, resulting in 2,237 deaths • Maryland: 46,313 cases, resulting in 2,277 deaths • Georgia: 42,902 cases, resulting in 1,827 deaths Meanwhile, Connecticut has confirmed at least 40,468 cases; Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 31,000 cases; Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota and Tennessee each has confirmed more than 20,000 cases; Washington, Iowa, Arizona and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Alabama and Rhode Island each has confirmed more than 14,000 cases; Mississippi, Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases; South Carolina has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Kansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Utah and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by Nevada with more than 7,000; New Mexico and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases, followed by Arkansas with more than 5,000; South Dakota and New Hampshire each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; and Oregon and Puerto Rico each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • A South Carolina soldier has died in Afghanistan, WPDE reported. The U.S. Department of Defense announced Thursday that 25-year-old 1st Lt. Trevarius Ravon Bowman of Spartanburg died May 19 at Bagram Air Force Base. He died in a non-combat-related incident. A department news release said the incident is under investigation but didn’t provide details. Bowman was in Afghanistan supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He was assigned to a unit attached to the 228th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade of the South Carolina National Guard. “It is with heavy hearts and deepest condolences that we announce the passing of 1st Lt. Trevarius Bowman. This is never an outcome we as soldiers, leaders and family members wish to experience,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Van McCarty, the adjutant general for South Carolina. “Please keep the service members in his unit in your thoughts and prayers, as well as his family as they work through this difficult time.”
  • The Republican National Committee and other conservative groups filed a lawsuit Sunday to stop California from mailing ballots to all voters ahead of the November general election. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced earlier this month that the state would mail all registered voters a ballot, while in-person voting would still remain an option, CNN reported. 'Democrats continue to use this pandemic as a ploy to implement their partisan election agenda, and Gov. Newsom's executive order is the latest direct assault on the integrity of our elections,' RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement, CNN reported. The lawsuit, filed by the RNC, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the California Republican Party challenges the expansion of absentee voting. '(It) violates eligible citizens' right to vote,' the lawsuit claims. '(And) invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting.' State officials stand by the move. “California will not force voters to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “We are meeting our obligation to provide an accessible, secure and safe election this November. Sending every registered voter a ballot by mail is smart policy and absolutely the right thing to do during this COVID-19 pandemic.” The lawsuit is one of nearly a dozen across the country challenging Democrat-led vote-by-mail expansion. The RNC has pored $20 million into the nationwide legal effort, CNN reported. Some states, including Republican-heavy Utah, already conduct their elections completely by mail. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud linked to voting-by-mail, CNN reported.
  • Thousands of convicted felons will be eligible to vote in Florida after a federal court ruled that a law that created wealth-based hurdles to voting is unconstitutional. The law, SB 7066, required people with past convictions to pay all outstanding legal fees, costs, fines and restitution before regaining their right to vote. The law undermined Floridians’ 2018 passage of Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to more than a million people who completed the terms of their sentence, including parole or probation. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle found that conditioning voting on payment of legal financial obligations a person is unable to pay violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by discriminating on the basis of wealth. He said that requiring the payment of costs and fees violates the 24th Amendment, which prohibits poll taxes and violates the National Voter Registration Act. “This is a historic win for voting rights. Judge Hinkle told the state of Florida what the rest of America already knows. You can’t make wealth a prerequisite for voting. This ruling opens the way for hundreds of thousands of Floridians to exercise their fundamental right to vote this November, and our democracy will be stronger for their participation,' said Sean Morales-Doyle, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice.
  • A temporary field hospital built for $21 million as the coronavirus outbreak threatened to overrun medical facilities in New York has closed without ever seeing a patient. Plans to transform the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal into a temporary 670-bed hospital were announced March 31, a day after the USNS Comfort hospital ship arrived to help coronavirus patients. Officials also announced a tennis center in Queens would be converted into a 350-bed facility. At that time, there were about 8,400 patients in hospitals citywide being treated for the coronavirus, The City reported. The tennis center opened as a medical facility April 11 when there were 12,184 patients in hospital beds being treated across the city. It cost $19.8 million to renovate and revert the tennis center. It closed earlier this month after taking in 79 patients. The Brooklyn hospital, built by SLSCO, a Texas-based construction company, was supposed to open in April but was not ready for patients until May 4, The City reported. By then, hospital use had been sliced in half, to about 6,000 patients. It closed last week without ever having a patient. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to pay the costs for both hospitals. The two field hospitals were not the only emergency medical facilities in New York that saw limited use. The Comfort left New York after about a month and treating 182 patients, of which about 70% had the coronavirus. Several other field hospitals were built across New York for nearly $350 million. They closed in April without seeing any patients, The Associated Press reported. Built for worst-case scenarios, some of the unused facilities will be kept on stand by for a possible second wave. “As part of our hospital surge, we expanded capacity at a breakneck speed, ensuring our hospital infrastructure would be prepared to handle the very worst. We did so only with a single-minded focus: saving lives,” city spokesperson Avery Cohen told The New York Post. 'Over the past few months, social distancing, face coverings, and other precautionary measures have flattened the curve drastically, and we remain squarely focused on taking that progress even further.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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