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Coronavirus Live Updates: Former Health Department Employee Rebekah Jones Granted Official Whistleblower Status

This post will be updated today, Monday, May 31, and through the week with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

WLRN staff continues to add updates on testing and vaccination sites, executive orders and messages from government officials, and the latest news on COVID-19. You can find information on free food and food distributions here.

The dedicated website for the Florida Department of Health, including information about the numbers of cases, can be found here.

The dedicated website from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found here.

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Former Health Department Employee Rebekah Jones Granted Official Whistleblower Status

Updated Monday at 5:45 a.m.

Rebekah Jones is officially a whistleblower under Florida law, the Office of the Inspector General told her attorneys Friday.

Jones, who was responsible for building the COVID-19 data dashboard for the Florida Department of Health, was fired last year after raising concerns about “misleading data” being presented to the public, according to the complaint, which was reviewed by the Miami Herald.

In the complaint, filed July 17, 2020, Jones alleged she was fired for “opposition and resistance to instructions to falsify data in a government website.” She described being asked to bend data analysis to fit predetermined policy and delete data from public view after questions from the press — actions she claimed “represent an immediate injury to the public health, safety, and welfare, including the possibility of death to members of the public.”

— By Sarah Blaskey / The Miami Herald

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald

Battle For The Seas: Cruise Lines Prepare To Sail, But Clash With DeSantis Looms

Updated Monday at 5:43 a.m.

The restart of cruising in Florida could have been smooth sailing.

After a suspension lasting more than a year, all of the major cruise lines could have been gearing up for voyages out of Florida ports this summer with 95% vaccinated passengers and crew.

Ship crew members, shuttle drivers, baggage handlers, food service providers, gift shop owners and thousands of others who depend on the cruise industry to put food on their tables could have headed into the Memorial Day weekend confident they’d soon be going back to work.

— By Ron Hurtibise / The South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Read more from our news partner at The South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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