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Monday's Daily Pulse

Florida records lowest ever COVID-19 positive test rate; death toll surpasses 60,000

Three months after the coronavirus ravaged Florida's unvaccinated and made the state the national epicenter of the pandemic, health officials logged the lowest COVID-19 positive test rate since the pandemic started. Just 2.6% of COVID-19 tests across Florida came back positive over the past week, the state Health Department reported Friday, the lowest level recorded since the first infections were detected in March 2020. [Source: Palm Beach Post]

Bipartisan infrastructure bill's expected impact in Florida

Federal lawmakers say the passage of the bill will make a huge impact in Florida — modernizing transportation, fighting the climate crisis and creating jobs. U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel (D-21) voted for the bill. She outlined what the funds will be used for in Florida: $13 billion for highway improvement projects; $2.6 billion for public transportation projects; $245 million for bridge replacement projects; $198 million for electric vehicle charging stations; and, $100 million for broadband expansion projects [Source: WPBF]

Florida to close half its monoclonal antibody sites

Florida is closing half its monoclonal antibody therapy sites, forcing COVID-19 patients to seek free treatment at state-run sites further away or go to nearby hospitals and medical centers where the treatment can be costly. Amid a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Florida, at least 12 of the state’s 25 sites are slated to close less than three months after Gov. Ron DeSantis opened the first site in Jacksonville on August 12. [Source: WFLA]

South Florida used car prices to go higher .... and higher in 2022

If South Florida motorists thought buying a new car is a tough act, their quest for a late-model used car alternative is likely to be just as challenging well into next year. Tight supplies, higher prices and limited selections are likely to continue to pester the market, dealers and economists say. That means buyers will be spending more time trolling for cars online, visiting dealer lots with limited selections and making compromises on their wish lists. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Publix lawsuit: That letter ‘p’ in your logo looks awfully familiar

Florida-based supermarket giant Publix is suing an online business that uses a logo Publix calls “confusingly similar” to its own. At issue is the single letter “p” used as a logo for Pharmapacks, a New York-based company that sells health, beauty and wellness products online on its own website and through sellers including Amazon. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Registered Republicans overtake Democrats in Florida for first time
Florida Republicans have officially reached a milestone they’ve been trending toward for nearly a decade — outnumbering registered Florida Democrats for the first time in state history. Gov. Ron DeSantis touted the achievement for Republicans at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

› Port Manatee's decades-long partnership with prominent fruit importer extended through 2026
A Florida port has extended a longtime partnership with Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc. Port Manatee announced the import hub relationship will continue until 2026, with two extension options through 2036. The extension was approved by the Manatee County Port Authority in October.

› Feds lay out next steps in military dumpsite cleanup among Space Coast beachside homes
Military engineers spelled out Friday the next steps to clean up a World War II-era dumpsite that many fear has long been sickening the beachside residents who live above it. More than 300 homes lie within the 52-acre area south of Patrick Space Force Base targeted for cleanup. Some fear the dangers a shovel might one day find in their yards. Nobody's been injured from an explosion yet, but other findings in backyards have kept the fear alive.

› Hiring problems in Miami tech? A key player in the community has advice for everyone
For seven years, BrainStation Miami — the new name for Wyncode following the stalwart Miami coding bootcamp’s purchase by the Canada-based digital education giant earlier this year — has been boosting the careers of hundreds of South Florida professionals.

Trend Mention

Mention ImageUF research spending at record $942.2 million in 2020 despite pandemic

UF Research spending reached a record $942.2 million in fiscal year 2020, despite a two-month pause in most operations due to the pandemic. According to a new report to the National Science Foundation, research expenditures supported by the federal government increased to $397.2 million, while state and local expenditures increased to $169.2 million. Learn about ongoing UF research in areas such as Alzheimer’s, early childhood learning and agriculture.

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› Money grab for past due rent almost derailed sale of shuttered mall
The sale of DeSoto Square Mall in Bradenton was nearly derailed because of a dispute between Hudson’s Furniture and DeSoto Owners LLC over back rent. The problem arose after a bankruptcy auction was completed and won by Rompsen US Master Mortgage, the lender, which paid $20 million for the shuttered mall.

› Jacksonville Save A Lot stores sold to Yellow Banana LLC
Discount grocer Save A Lot said Nov. 2 it sold its four Jacksonville stores as part of plan to convert corporate-owned stores to local ownership. The Missouri-based company sold the four stores and two in Dallas to Yellow Banana LLC, which is owned by Cleveland-based investment company 127 Wall Holdings LLC.

› Holland America brings new ship to mark 1st return to Florida since pandemic halt
It’s been nearly 20 months since Holland America sailed with passengers from a Florida port. To mark its return from the pandemic shutdown, the cruise line has brought its newest ship to Port Everglades. The Rotterdam arrived this week and will begin sailing Friday marking a busy week at the port, which also saw the arrivals of new vessels from Celebrity Cruise and Princess Cruises.

› Tampa Museum of Art announces plans for expansion
The Tampa Museum of Art is growing again. Less than a year after plans for renovations were disclosed, the museum has announced a major expansion. In January, the museum revealed plans for a renovation that would expand its education programs and gallery space. Renovations began in June, with a projected completion date of July 2022.