State shifting COVID-19 response

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:39 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida is changing how it reports new COVID-19 cases from daily to weekly reports, calling it a transition from an emergency response to a more traditional public health response.

Florida saw 11,000 new COVID cases in the week ending June 3, down from 43,000 the week of April 9.

“The response has worked, is working,” said Florida’s Deputy Secretary for Health Dr. Shamarial Roberson.

Florida’s COVID vaccination rate is at 53 percent. State data tells the story of the vaccines success. As more people have become vaccinated, infections have fallen.

“As cases have fallen, vaccine rates have gone up,” said Roberson.

County vaccination rates range from a high of 67 percent in Sumpter County, home of the Villages, to a low of 27 percent in rural Baker and Union counties.

“That’s irrelevant,” said Roberson.

The state is also pushing back on claims of data manipulation by Whistleblower Rebecca Jones without mentioning her by name.

“We have a very robust system. The integrity of our data is good. There’s no information that’s being withheld from the public,” said Roberson.

After a year of being at its highest activation level, a level one, the state’s emergency operations center has now been downgraded to a level two.

Despite the end of a 24/7 emergency response, the state said it is not lowering its guard.

“We have data where we are looking at emergency departments. We have algorithms where we are detecting anything that may be unusual in ER’s, even outside of COVID-19 in those emergency rooms,” said Roberson.

While the state is ending daily reporting to the public, it will continue to report daily case information to the CDC.

We reached out to whistleblower Rebekah Jones for comment, and she did not return our text.

Her lawyer told us the whistleblower complaint is being delayed, as Jones faces criminal charges for improperly posting on a secure state computer system after being fired.

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