The Florida Division of Well being will now not replace its Covid-19 dashboard and can droop each day case and vaccine experiences, the governor’s workplace confirmed on Friday. Officers will as an alternative publish weekly updates, changing into the primary U.S. state to maneuver to such an rare publishing schedule.
Officers first introduced final week that the state would finish each day experiences in a information launch outlining Florida’s plans to transition into the subsequent part of its Covid-19 response now that instances within the state are reducing. Final month, Florida closed its state-run testing websites however gave counties the choice of taking them over.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, informed The Information Service of Florida on Friday that there is no such thing as a must maintain issuing the each day experiences.
“Covid-19 instances have considerably decreased over the previous 12 months as we’ve got a lower than 5 % positivity fee, and our state is returning to regular, with vaccines broadly obtainable all through Florida,” Pushaw mentioned in an e mail to reporters.
Up to now two weeks, Florida has seen a 43 % drop in coronavirus instances and deaths, and 50 % of the inhabitants has obtained not less than one vaccine dose, slightly below the nationwide common of 51 %, in accordance with a New York Occasions database.
Florida’s dashboard was created partly by Rebekah D. Jones, a state knowledge scientist who was fired for insubordination in Might 2020, a battle that she mentioned got here to a head when she refused to control knowledge to indicate that rural counties have been able to reopen from coronavirus lockdowns. The information in truth confirmed that the virus was quickly spreading in a state that was hesitant to mandate broad restrictions and desirous to reopen.
Ms. Jones’s firing grew to become a flash level as Mr. DeSantis, an in depth ally of then-President Donald J. Trump, touted Florida’s early success in battling the virus — a victory lap that turned out to be untimely on the time and led to a disastrous summer season. State officers insisted that her claims about hiding virus knowledge have been false. She was dismissed, they mentioned, as a result of she made unilateral choices to change the virus dashboard with out approval.
After Ms. Jones was fired, she made her own database utilizing public virus case information from the Florida Division of Well being that had been buried deep in PDF information on the state web site.
In December, state police brokers with weapons drawn raided Ms. Jones’s dwelling in Tallahassee to execute a search warrant in a prison investigation, after police mentioned a breach on the Florida Division of Well being was traced to her pc. She denied having something to do with the breach.
Ms. Jones’s dashboard typically reveals the next variety of instances than the quantity reported by the state. It additionally consists of data from different businesses, resembling hospitalization charges from the Company for Well being Care Administration, that aren’t on the state dashboard.
However after the state introduced that it will now not replace its public information, Ms. Jones wrote on her database that she wouldn’t be capable to replace her dashboard both.
“No extra knowledge,” she wrote. “Solely abstract experiences in PDF format. Please be affected person as I work to reformat the web site to regulate for these adjustments.”