Florida officials halt daily updates on COVID-19 cases

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MIAMI (AP) — Florida Health officials said infections and mortality data on its online COVID-19 dashboard will no longer be updated daily but will instead be provided on a weekly basis.

The state Department of Health cited decreasing cases amid an increasing number of people being vaccinated for halting the daily reports.

As of Friday, the dashboard reported 2.3 million COVID cases in Florida since the outbreak began more than a year ago, with nearly 37,000 Floridians having died.

The Miami Herald reports that the weekly data will be more focused on vaccinations, including data on what percentage of people over the age 12 have been inoculated.

“More than 10.3 million Floridians have been vaccinated — accounting for more than half of Florida’s eligible population. Eighty-five percent of Florida’s seniors are vaccinated. Florida’s case positivity has been below 5% for more than three weeks. Cases in seniors ages 65 and older are the lowest since early in the pandemic,” Florida Department of Health Communications Director Weesam Khoury told the Miami Herald.

The increase in vaccination rates and other health improvements related to the virus outbreak led Florida Chief Justice Charles Canady to permit courts to begin lifting mask and social distancing requirements during courtroom proceedings.

Canady said in a news release that jury trials, especially criminal cases, will take priority for in-person proceedings. Many hearings will continue remotely to ensure resources can focus on these trials.

The order permits chief judges around the state to begin dropping mask and distance requirements beginning June 21 and no later than Aug. 2.

State-run testing sites closed last month and state-run vaccine sites are set to close by the end of June, the paper reported. Florida’s plan is to leave vaccine distribution to county health departments and local providers, including doctors’ offices, pharmacies and clinics.

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