June 7, 2021 -- Florida will no longer update its COVID-19 dashboard or release daily updates about COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Now the Florida Department of Health will provide reports about coronavirus cases and vaccines on a weekly basis each Friday, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
There’s no longer a need to create daily reports, Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis, told The News Service of Florida on Friday.
“COVID-19 cases have significantly decreased over the past year as we have a less than 5% positivity rate, and our state is returning to normal, with vaccines widely available throughout Florida,” she wrote in an email.
The latest weekly report, issued on Friday, showed 11,900 new COVID-19 cases and 35 new deaths during the past week. The case positivity rate is 3.6%.
In addition, 10 million Floridians have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, which covers about 53% of the population. More than 8.2 million residents are considered fully vaccinated.
Florida’s COVID-19 state of emergency remains in effect until June 26. DeSantis has said that he doesn’t plan to extend it further, The News Service of Florida reported.
Florida is the first state to move to a weekly update schedule, according to The New York Times. State officials announced the change last week while outlining Florida’s plans to transition to the next phase of its COVID-19 response.
The new weekly report has a different format with condensed information, according to the Miami Herald. The data only includes information about Floridians, now excluding information about non-residents and visitors. Testing information is no longer available, and specific reports on schools and long-term care facilities are no longer available on the Florida Department of Health website.
Florida also closed state-run testing sites last month and plans to close state-run vaccine sites at the end of June, the newspaper reported. Counties can choose to convert them to county-run sites. County health departments will now be in charge of vaccine distribution, along with local doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and clinics.
“Infections and disease control is a core function of the Florida Department of Health,” Weesam Khoury, communications director for the department, told the Miami Herald in an email.
“The department will continue to adapt and respond to COVID-19 to protect public health statewide,” Khoury said. “Nearly 90% of the population is eligible for the vaccine, and widely available statewide.”