The Florida Department of Health will not replace its Covid-19 dashboard and can droop day by day case and vaccine studies, the governor’s office confirmed on Friday. Officials will as a substitute put up weekly updates, turning into the primary U.S. state to maneuver to such an rare publishing schedule.
Officials first introduced final week that the state would finish day by day studies in a information launch outlining Florida’s plans to transition into the following part of its Covid-19 response now that circumstances within the state are lowering. Last 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 News Service of Florida on Friday that there isn’t any have to hold issuing the day by day studies.
“Covid-19 cases have significantly decreased over the past year as we have a less than 5 percent positivity rate, and our state is returning to normal, with vaccines widely available throughout Florida,” Pushaw mentioned in an electronic mail to reporters.
In the previous two weeks, Florida has seen a 43 p.c drop in coronavirus circumstances and deaths, and 50 p.c of the inhabitants has acquired a minimum of one vaccine dose, slightly below the nationwide common of 51 p.c, in accordance with a New York Times database.
Florida’s dashboard was created partly by Rebekah D. Jones, a state information scientist who was fired for insubordination in May 2020, a battle that she mentioned got here to a head when she refused to control information to indicate that rural counties have been able to reopen from coronavirus lockdowns. The information in reality 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 turned 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 time. State officers insisted that her claims about hiding virus information have been false. She was dismissed, they mentioned, as a result of she made unilateral choices to switch the virus dashboard with out approval.
After Ms. Jones was fired, she made her own database utilizing public virus case data from the Florida Department of Health that had been buried deep in PDF recordsdata 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 felony investigation, after police mentioned a breach on the Florida Department of Health was traced to her computer. She denied having something to do with the breach.
Ms. Jones’s dashboard typically reveals the next variety of circumstances than the quantity reported by the state. It additionally contains data from different companies, equivalent to hospitalization charges from the Agency for Health Care Administration, that aren’t on the state dashboard.
But after the state introduced that it might not replace its public data, Ms. Jones wrote on her database that she wouldn’t have the ability to replace her dashboard both.
“No more data,” she wrote. “Only summary reports in PDF format. Please be patient as I work to reformat the website to adjust for these changes.”