TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows Florida reported a record 24,753 cases on Wednesday and the continuing spike in cases has the governor suggesting a return to daily data reporting from the Florida Department of Health might be on the table.
For the first time since the Florida daily COVID-19 dashboard was taken down in June, Governor Ron DeSantis has indicated it might be a good idea to start daily reporting again.
“In terms of breaking it down by county, you know, that might not be a bad idea going forward. I know we used to look at that a lot,” said DeSantis in a Thursday press conference.
In a virtual press conference held later in the day, Democratic state lawmakers’ response amounted to “What took so long?”
“It’s like going into a football game and trying to make halftime adjustments and you’re down 70 points,” said Rep. Ramon Alexander.
DeSantis’ comment comes after the FDOH got in a public spat with the CDC via Twitter.
The federal agency published three days of cases over the span of two, artificially inflating the number to a would-be-record of over 28,000 cases for two consecutive days.
Democrats point to the incident as all the more reason for the state to publish the data itself.
“The information should come directly from the source and it should be blanketed and universally given out on a daily basis to everyone,” said Rep. Christine Hunschofsky.
Most, if not all, of the statistics Democrats are asking for from the state is already reported by the CDC, but Democrats argue the detail and the frequency of the data is what’s missing.
“The more concrete data and localized data that we can give to our communities, the better equipped they will be to make the decisions they need to make to keep their families and communities safe,” Hunschofsky said.
What exactly local governments could do in response to daily data from the state is limited. Mask mandates are banned and lockdowns are forbidden under state laws passed earlier this year.
Since June, the state has been releasing a weekly report on COVID and vaccination stats. That report does include county positivity rates, all 67 of which last week were above 14 percent.
The CDC considers anything above a 10 percent positivity rate an area of high transmission.