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COVID-19 Timeline at UF Health

UF College of Pharmacy faculty and students prepare vaccine doses to support vaccination efforts on campus and in our community.
UF College of Pharmacy faculty and students prepare vaccine doses to support vaccination efforts on campus and in our community.

March 2020 marked the beginning of Florida’s battle against COVID-19, and with it came a flood of fundamental changes to our everyday lives. “The new normal” was becoming the reality everywhere, and this dark time in history certainly cast its shadow on The Sunshine State in a variety of ways.

COVID-19 has taken us through a range of feelings, with many of us experiencing loneliness, pain, anger or sorrow, just to name a few. Still, we’ve learned we are resilient. For some, grief has led to gratitude. Isolations have led to innovative connections. Roadblocks to our favorite pastimes and hobbies have opened avenues to new ones.

We’ve come a long way as a campus, as a community and as a state. Here, we take the opportunity to reflect on the path we’ve taken since the start of the pandemic, highlighting the many milestones we’ve reached.

March 1, 2020

The first cases of COVID-19 in Florida are reported in Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

March 6, 2020

A UF study published in Science shows the limits of travel bans in controlling the spread of COVID-19.

March 11, 2020

UF Health Shands Hospital admits its first patient with COVID-19.

March 14, 2020

Juggling classes, research, UF students join the fight against COVID-19.

March 15, 2020

The UF Health Screen, Test & Protect team forms, aiming to conduct contact tracing on local COVID-19 cases and assist with disease investigation.

Mid-March, 2020

A group of researchers, students and lab technicians across UF came together and built a high-throughput testing lab in the Emerging Pathogens Institute in just 10 days.

March 17, 2020

UF moves all classes completely online.

March 23, 2020

UF Health works with The Villages and state officials to rapidly ramp up coronavirus testing.

March 25, 2020

UF researchers lead the way in rapidly designing, building low-cost, open-source ventilator.

April 1, 2020

UF Health researchers donate gloves, masks and other PPE to support front-line colleagues.

April 5, 2020

UF Health Central Florida’s clinical laboratory team, working with UF Health Shands Hospital, develops a rapid, in-house COVID-19 test for patients under investigation.

April 7, 2020

UF Health begins offering COVID-19 testing to first responders and emergency room employees in Gainesville.

April 17, 2020

Mary Frietag, of Leesburg, is the first COVID-19 patient to be discharged from UF Health Leesburg Hospital after “graduating” from a weeklong COVID-19 treatment.

May 5, 2020

UF Health Screen, Test & Protect launches an initiative to test and contact trace faculty, staff and students.

June 1, 2020

UF Health students tackle community needs through COVID-19 Student Service Corps.

June 30, 2020

UF approves a policy requiring face coverings and physical distancing inside all UF and UF Health buildings.

July 10, 2020

UF launches its reopening plan for the fall semester.

Aug. 26, 2020

Ira Longini, PhD, and World Health Organization colleagues publish recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine trials in The Lancet.

Aug. 31, 2020

Fall semester begins at UF, with more than 900 class sections in-person.

Sept. 1, 2020

UF researchers find viable viruses in aerosols that cause COVID-19.

UF/IFAS educates more than 800 farmworkers about COVID-19.

Members of the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions department of environmental and global health begin wastewater surveillance of UF’s campus, Gainesville and Cedar Key.

Oct. 3, 2020

The first physically distanced Gators home football game is held with an estimated 15,000 fans in the stadium — far fewer than the normal 90,000-plus crowd. (The Gators beat South Carolina, 38-24).

Nov. 18, 2020

UF reports a record number of applications for fall 2021: 48,066, up 3.6% over the previous year.

Dec. 14, 2020

UF Health Jacksonville is the first in Florida to administer COVID-19 vaccine.

Dec. 15, 2020

UF Health is among the first in the world to use novel diaphragmatic pacer to help COVID-19 patients breathe.

Dec. 16, 2020

UF Health in Gainesville begins vaccinating high-risk health care employees against COVID-19.

Dec. 17, 2020

UF Health Central Florida begins COVID-19 vaccinations for front-line health care workers and medical staff.

Dec. 23, 2020

Moderna vaccinations begin for health care employees at UF Health in Gainesville.

Jan. 11, 2021

Spring semester begins at UF with more than 4,200 in-person class sections — nearly as many as spring 2020.

Jan. 19, 2021

UF Health Jacksonville discharges the 1,000th patient recovered from COVID-19.

Feb. 1, 2021

UF releases official enrollment numbers for 2020: 57,841 — a new record.

Feb. 5, 2021

UF Health partners with the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County and the UF Athletic Association to hold a mass vaccination event at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

More than 1,100 Alachua County residents ages 65 and older are immunized.

March 1, 2021

April 5, 2021

The University of Florida sees its first students vaccinated through a collaboration between the Florida Department of Health and UF Health Screen, Test & Protect. Thousands of UF students, faculty and staff 16 years and older were vaccinated at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

And these are just a few of the milestones. For the full breakdown, visit our COVID-19 Reflections website.

About the author

Talal Elmasry
Marketing Content Writer

For the media

Media contact

Peyton Wesner
Communications Manager for UF Health External Communications (352) 273-9620