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5 Things To Know On Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Posted at 7:06 AM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 07:06:27-04

While you were sleeping, we compiled the biggest stories of the day in one place. Each story has a quick and easy summary, so you're prepared for whatever the day brings. Just click on the links if you want to know more!

1. Palm Beach County declares state of emergency:
Commissioner Melissa McKinlay proposed the emergency order after all 12 ICU beds at Lakeside Medical Center in Belle Glade quickly filled up, including 11 of them with COVID-19 patients.

The shortage forced the hospital to transfer emergency room patients to medical centers in Miami and Orlando, among others.

Officials said the state of emergency may allow Palm Beach County to bring in additional medical personnel from other parts of the state and country, and will also direct the private health care system to transmit real-time data regarding COVID-19 hospital bed availability.

Palm Beach County declares state of emergency over COVID-19 pandemic, hospital bed shortage

2. Governors and Regeneron: Doses for Abbott, donor doubts for DeSantis
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has tested positive for Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated. Abbott says he's in good health and is not experiencing symptoms, but is taking Regeneron's monoclonal antibody treatment.

Speaking of Regeneron, you may recall Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been promoting it as a treatment for Covid-19, but critics were quick to notice a major DeSantis donor is also invested in the company.

Citadel’s investment in Regeneron is a tiny fraction of its overall $39 billion in investments, but if the stock price were to go up, Citadel would benefit. DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw points out that Citadel has far greater investments in Moderna and Pfizer, which manufacture COVID-19 vaccines.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds news conference at Camping World Stadium in Orlando

3. Blessed be the vaccinated? Pope implores Catholics to get vaccinated:
Pope Francis is adding his voice to a campaign to overcome vaccine skepticism, issuing a public service announcement insisting that vaccines are safe, effective and an “act of love.”

Francis had emphasized at the start of the pandemic the need to ensure equal access to the vaccine, especially for the poor. But faced with increasing skepticism about vaccines especially among religious conservatives, the Vatican has vowed an all-out effort to overcome hesitancy and encourage widespread vaccination.

4. Tropical Storm Grace slows rescue efforts in Haiti as death toll rises again:
Officials in Haiti have raised the death toll from a powerful weekend earthquake to 1,941, and the number of injured to 9,900.

The Civil Protection Agency announced the numbers on Tuesday when strong winds and rains dealt by Tropical Storm Grace forced a temporary halt in rescue and recovery efforts.

Be Like Brit Foundation, a Haitian orphanage with ties to South Florida, is still standing and no one was hurt, according to the foundation's president.

Father of 2010 Haiti earthquake victim recounts latest temblor

5. Tropical storms Grace and Henri expected to strengthen to hurricanes
Tropical Storm Grace is expected to become a hurricane today, then move towards the Yucatan by tomorrow.

This brief interaction with land will weaken the storm for a short period, then as it emerges into the Gulf of Mexico by Friday, it's expected to strengthen back into a hurricane before a second landfall in Central Mexico over the weekend.

Herni is also expected to strengthen into a hurricane by Friday as it nears Canada over the weekend.

Tropical storms Grace and Henri expected to strengthen to hurricanes

Today's Forecast
High pressure and Saharan Dust will limit rainfall through end of work week:

Latest Weather Forecast: Wednesday 5 a.m.

Get your complete hour-by-hour forecast here.

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On This Day In History
A dramatic battle in the Tennessee House of Representatives ends with the state ratifying the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution on August 18, 1920. After decades of struggle and protest by suffragettes across the country, the decisive vote is cast by a 24-year-old representative who reputedly changed his vote after receiving a note from his mother.

Remember, you can join Mike Trim and Ashleigh Walters every weekday on WPTV NewsChannel 5 beginning at 4:30 a.m. And you can always watch the latest news from WPTV anytime on your favorite streaming device. Just search for "WPTV."