TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — We’ve been keeping daily track of the COVID-19 numbers put out by the state.
But the Governor’s Office now says with Florida in Phase 3 of the reopening, it’s considering scaling back the frequency of its reporting
Advocates for long-term care residents call the data vital when it comes to policy and decision making in the fight against COVID-19.
What You Need To Know
“What places are hot spots, what places might need extra staff and extra protective equipment,” said Sam Brooks, with the National Consumer Voice for Quality of Long Term Care.
Brooks said doing away with the daily release of the state’s COVID-19 related data would negatively impact those efforts.
Spectrum News learned of the possibility over the weekend, when we reached out to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s office on Saturday, after the daily COVID-19 numbers weren’t posted for the first time since March. We were told the delay was due to a large number of test results received from a laboratory. While the state resumed its daily reporting on Sunday, the Governor’s spokesperson said talks of staggering the state’s reporting were already underway.
“Part of the discussion is whether to return the Covid reports to the same schedule or a modified schedule like all the other reports of infectious diseases,” said Fred Picollo, spokesperson for the governor.
While Picollo said the discussion was very preliminary, advocates like Brooks believe it’s still too soon to even consider.
“At the state level, that is the most accurate and up to date data that we have,” Brooks said. “And to remove that piece of the puzzle is really going to hamper that response and really have a negative impact on a lot of folks.”
Dr. Lindsay Peterson, a researcher with USF’s School of Aging Studies, says weekly reporting, as opposed to daily, wouldn’t necessarily affect her ability to spot trends and analyze data. However, Peterson agrees now is not the time to scale back.
“Everybody’s talking in other states about a resurgence. We’re kind of beginning to see that in Florida. For the first time yesterday, the positivity rate began to edge up over 5,” Peterson said. “It’s not a time right now to relax and say we’re out of the woods because that is not what the data is showing.”
The Governor’s Office said a decision isn’t imminent, but either way, the full extent of the data will still be made available.