Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees is leaving his post at the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). Rivkees has been with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration since 2019 and led the FDOH since the COVID pandemic began in Florida in March 2020.
“We thank Dr. Rivkees for his meaningful work during the most challenging pandemic of our lifetime. We appreciate his service to the people of Florida and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” said DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw to Florida Politics.
DeSantis’ communications director, Taryn Fenske, thanked Rivkees for his efforts during the pandemic.
“Before the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, Dr. Rivkees supported Governor DeSantis’ mission to protect the vulnerable by deploying infection control strike teams to limit the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities statewide — an effort that ultimately saved many lives among Florida’s most vulnerable residents,” Fenske said.
Rivkees said he is thankful for being able to work in this role to help Floridians through the pandemic.
“It has been an honor to serve the people of Florida the past two years,” Rivkees said in a statement. “We responded to COVID-19 with an all hands on deck approach.”
Rivkees issued a standing order allowing Floridians to take part in the monoclonal therapy without a doctor’s note. He has also been a part of the fight with DeSantis against the school districts who have defied the state’s mask mandate ban and cruise lines who have imposed vaccine passports for passengers.
No hints have been offered to determine who Rivkees’ replacement will be, but Rivkees will be able to return to working exclusively at the University of Florida (UF).
Because he maintained status at UF as a full-time employee as surgeon general, he was only permitted by state law to sign a two-year contract. His contract is expiring in September, when he will be stepping away.
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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Scott Rivkees” by University of Florida Department of Health. Background Photo “Florida Capitol” by DXR. CC BY-SA 4.0.