TAMPA (WFLA) – Rebekah Jones spoke to Chris Cuomo on CNN on Friday night for the first time following her firing from the Florida Department of Health.
Jones alleges she was fired for being too transparent in regards to COVID-19 numbers. Jones, who helped manage the state’s coronavirus dashboard made the disturbing claim in a letter to her former team.
Jones says the results didn’t match the report that was already written and didn’t meet the criteria in rural counties that would not have been able to reopen even though more populous counties could meet the criteria put in place by state officials and reopen.
“We can’t tell Jackson and Martin Counties they can’t reopen, but Broward and Miami-Dade can,” Jones said.
Jones responded to a statement from the governor’s office saying she was insubordinate: “If refusing to mislead the public in a health crisis is insubordination I will wear that badge with honor.”
Jones says Florida is doing well when it comes to COVID-19 and doing better than others expected, something she says she has championed.
“But now it’s impossible to know how reliable that data is,” she adds.
In a letter that was reported on by Florida Today, Jones says her office is no longer managing the dashboard and is not involved in the publication, fixing of errors or answering of questions.
She also warned she doesn’t know what the new team’s intentions are for data access.
“As a word of caution, I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months. After all, my commitment to both is largely (arguably entirely) the reason I am no longer managing it,” Jones said in the email.
Gov. Ron DeSantis was asked about the firing during a Tuesday evening news conference. The governor said “I don’t know who she is” and dismissed the firing as a non-issue.
The governor was asked again about the firing of Rebekah Jones, on Wednesday and said “She’s not a data scientist. She’s somebody that’s got a degree in journalism, communication & geography.”