With a look at some of the top stories making the news today, May 18 across your Caribbean-American community in South Florida, I’m…for CNW 90.

Today’s newscast is brought to you by the Florida Department of Health;

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, The Florida Department of Health in Broward County reminds everyone to practice social distancing, wash your hands often with soap and water and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

Coming up in the newscast, new data shows over 80% of Florida’s COVID-19 deaths are seniors, St. Lucia prepares to open its borders in June and the Jamaican government apologizes for the condition of its quarantine facilities.

Now for the news in the detail

New COVID-19 data released from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission revealed that 83% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been residents aged 65-years and over. Attributed to this is the increase in deaths in the state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities, which have doubled since the end of April. Governor DeSantis has ordered the increase in testing of staff at the facilities and the transfer of many residents to hospitals and other facilities. Overall, more than 850 residents living in these facilities have died from COVID-19, representing 44% of the state’s total deaths.

In the meantime, Two weeks before the official start of the hurricane season on June 1, Tropical Storm Arthur has become the first storm of the year. The storm formed off the coast of South Florida over the weekend, ushering in heavy rains and a thunderstorm warning for Miami-Dade and Broward County. According to the U.S National Hurricane Center, the storm is expected to strengthen as it moves northeast towards North Carolina on Monday. As Florida begins to prepare for this year’s hurricane season, Governor Ron DeSantis has said that the state will have to rethink how to provide hurricane shelters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Caribbean News, The St. Lucia government announced it would begin the gradual re-opening of its borders on June 4, after indicating that the island has been able to curb the spread of COVID-19. Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said that he believes St. Lucia is in a “fairly good position to reopen” based on the fact that all 18 of its COVID-19 patients have recovered. The reopening of the island’s borders coincides with the reopening of major hotel chain, Sandals Resorts which have also announced that they will reopen their locations across the Caribbean on June 4th.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has apologised to Jamaicans who have been placed in quarantine and having to undergo “less than favourable conditions”. Over the last week, dozens of videos and images have surfaced on social media from Jamaicans currently in state quarantine, likening the conditions to that of a prison. Many residents have complained about the discrimination from essential workers and the food being served in the facilities. Holness said that the Government has already taken some remedial actions and is looking to rectify the situation.

For more information on these and other stories, visit CNWNETWORK.com. Remember to pick up this week’s copy of our Caribbean National Weekly at your nearest Caribbean – American outlet.

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