TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday warned “policymakers” about problems with COVID-19 data collected and published by the state and said he directed the Department of Health to “remedy” the issue.
During an early evening televised address, DeSantis did not offer details about what he directed the health department to do. But he made the comments after the reported number of COVID-19 cases in Miami-Dade County jumped by 4,141 on Wednesday. The Florida Department of Health in Twitter posts blamed the spike in Miami-Dade on Niznik Lab Corp. submitting a backlog of test results to the state.
“Was this a sudden surge in new infections? No, as it turns out it was a data dump from a new private lab that included results from as far back as June. The data was stale. It’s not indicative of current trends, much less a record day of fresh infections in Miami,” DeSantis said. “Stale test results shouldn’t be used by policymakers to determine the way forward for students, parents, workers and businesses in the here and now. I’ve instructed the Department of Health to remedy this. The point of collecting data should be to illuminate, not obscure, the actual facts on the ground. And I expect that to be fixed very shortly.”
Before making the comments, DeSantis had two telephone calls with Department of Health Secretary Scott Rivkees, according to the governor’s schedule. One call was at 10 a.m. The other call, which included Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew, occurred at noon.
In a statewide phone call with hospital officials Tuesday, Rivkees reminded hospitals and other providers to report test results, both positive and negative, to the state daily.