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Orlando Lawmaker Sues Florida Department of Health To Release Daily COVID-19 Data

A snapshot of the Florida Department of Health's COVID-19 dashboard from September 2020. The Department of Health stopped posting daily COVID-19 data via the dashboard in June 2021. Image: Florida Department of Health

An Orlando lawmaker is suing the Florida Department of Health over coronavirus case numbers. State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democrat who represents District 49, says the state’s failure to release daily coronavirus numbers is unlawful. 

Rep. Smith joined with the Florida Center for Government Accountability in the lawsuitHe says the Department of Health and the state surgeon general, Dr. Scott Rivkees, denied public information requests for daily pediatric case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths for Orange County, along with a broader request for COVID-19 data in all 67 counties, claiming the information is confidential. 

State Rep. Carlos Smith. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

He wants the state to resume its daily case reporting dashboard. 

“The DeSantis administration has consistently refused to release COVID related public records, which not only hurts our efforts to contain the deadly virus, it’s also against the law,” said Smith.

“We need access to daily real time COVID reporting the way we have for almost a year with the daily dashboard so that folks can have critical information at their fingertips to make informed decisions to protect themselves and their families.”

The CDC is reporting daily case numbers for Florida and other states, but the Department of Health stopped releasing daily COVID-19 data on its dashboard in June, instead providing a less detailed weekly summary.  

The Florida Department of Health has not responded to a request for comment on the lawsuit. 

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About Matthew Peddie

Matt Peddie