Florida shifts how it reports new cases of COVID-19

Syringes filled with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are shown, Thursday, May 13, 2021, at a mobile vaccination site at the Greater Bethel Church in Miami. The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust and the Florida Division of Emergency Management partnered to provide the one-dose vaccine at unsheltered homeless hotspots and shelters across the county. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Wilfredo Lee, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TALLAHASSEE – 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 Dr. Shamarial Roberson, Florida’s deputy secretary for health.

Florida’s COVID vaccination rate is at 53%.

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

County vaccination rates range from a high of 67% in Sumpter County, home of The Villages, to a low of 27% 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 1, the state’s emergency operations center has now been downgraded to a Level 2.

Despite the end of a 24/7 emergency response, the state says 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.

Capitol News reached out to Jones for comment and she did not immediately respond to a text.

Her lawyer said 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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