Coronavirus Live Updates: Florida's COVID-19 Data Manager Is Removed, Hints At Data Suppression

10 hours ago

This post will be updated today, Tuesday, May 19, with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

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QUICK UPDATES

Statewide Coronavirus Cases Approach 47,000

Updated Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.

Florida approached 47,000 positive cases of COVID-19 as Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 502 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday morning. Florida has a total of 46,944 confirmed cases.

Tuesday's update also included the announcement of 55 new deaths, increasing the statewide number to 2,052. 

-WLRN News

Florida's COVID-19 Data Manager Is Removed, Hints At Data Suppression

Updated Tuesday at 7:30 a.m.

The state official managing Florida’s public “dashboard” of COVID-19 data says that her office has been removed from the project — and questioned the Department of Health’s commitment to “accessibility and transparency.”

Rebekah Jones, the geographic information system manager for DOH’s Division of Disease Control and Health Protection, wrote in an email, distributed Friday that authority over the dashboard was taken away from her office on May 5. The sharply worded email, which was shared with the Herald by a recipient of the message, was addressed to users of the state’s data portal, which includes researchers and journalists. It was not clear who replaced her and her staff.

“As a word of caution, I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months,” wrote Jones, who holds a Ph.D. in geography from Florida State University. “After all, my commitment to both is largely [arguably entirely] the reason I am no longer managing it.”

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.

-Ben Wieder / Miami Herald