Florida Surgeon General Criticizes Federal Directives Related to Treatment for Gender Dysphoria

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) provided guidance Wednesday on treating gender dysphoria for children and adolescents in response to information recently provided by the federal government.

The FDOH press release noted that “gender dysphoria is characterized by a strong, persistent cross-gender identification associated with anxiety, depression, irritability, and often a wish to live as a gender different from the one associated with the sex assigned at birth.”

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo issued a statement criticizing the federal directives.

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Environmental Protection Agency Approves Pilot Project to Release Genetically Modified Mosquitoes into Florida Keys Despite Widespread Opposition

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved an experimental use permit submitted by a British biotech company to release millions of genetically engineered mosquitos into the Florida Keys in an effort to combat Dengue fever, Yellow fever, and the Zika virus.

All three diseases are transmitted by the Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) in certain parts of the world.

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Expired COVID Test Controversy Turns Political

Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced approximately 800,000 to one million unadministered COVID tests stockpiled in a warehouse expired. The tests were produced by the manufacturer, Abbott, and were at-home test kits.

Democrats and progressives across Florida took unsubstantiated political shots across DeSantis’ bow.

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Florida Health Department Updates COVID Testing Guidelines

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) has updated their COVID testing guidelines prioritizing certain demographics for testing. FDOH made the announcement with a news release.

In the announcement, the FDOH said the older demographics as well as certain Floridians in younger age brackets with immunocompromised circumstances.

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State of Florida Settles with Leon County over Vaccine Mandate

The State of Florida has agreed to withdraw its $3.5 million penalty directed to the Leon County government over the county’s vaccine mandate. The county rescinded its vaccine mandates earlier this month after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation requiring alternatives to forced COVID vaccinations.

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Florida Department of Health to Accept Applications from African American Farmers for Medical Marijuana Licenses

Almost six months after the Florida Supreme Court upheld a law that designated a single medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) license for an African American farmer with business ties in the state, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) issued rules for the licensing process on Thursday.

Eligible applicants for $50 million MMTC license are African American farmers who were litigants in the Pigford vs. Glickman lawsuit from 1999 that successfully ruled the U.S. Department of Agriculture of discriminating against African American farmers when allocating farm loans and other financial assistance from 1981-1996.

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Florida Bill Could Expand Hope Scholarship Access

Florida Sen. Manny Diaz (R-FL-36) is sponsoring legislation that would expand opportunities for students to be able to attend a school of their choice through a voucher program. SB 506 would amend the Hope Scholarship program to permit students who attend school districts who are not complying with state law to apply for the program and receive a voucher.

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Florida School Districts Drop Mask Mandates, End Legal Challenges

As the recent COVID wave in Florida recedes, all school districts that previously enforced mask mandates in Florida have dropped their masks requirements.  In addition, a number of school districts that chose to challenge the Department of Health (DOH) rule that banned mask mandates have decided to end their legal challenges to the rule.

Back in October, the Leon County School District – home to the state capitol –  ended a mask mandate policy with a parental opt-out provision. The decision came after the district was found to be violating the DOH rule.

Following the Leon County decision, the Broward County School District voted to remove its mask mandates for all school levels effective November 20th.

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Florida School Districts Appealing Mask Mandate Ban Decision

After a federal judge sided with the State of Florida and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) over its rulemaking authority regarding mask mandate ban and quarantine rules for students, the school districts who initially sued the state are filing an appeal.

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Florida Judge Sides with State on Mask Mandates, Against Local School Districts

A judge within the Florida Department of Administrative Hearings ruled that the Florida Department of Health (DOH) has the authority to make the rules for public school students regarding quarantines and mask mandates.

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Florida Judge Restores Online Medical Marijuana Purchases

Judge Suzanne Van Wyk found, this week, that the ban on online medical marijuana purchases through third-party sites to be an unadopted rule and ordered the state to “immediately discontinue reliance on its policy … regarding online ordering of medical marijuana through third-party websites.”

Van Wyk is an administrative law judge who presided over the decision to reinstate the online purchases after the state banned the practice.

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Florida Surgeon General Asked to Leave Senator’s Office After Refusing to Wear Mask When Requested

Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo was asked to leave a meeting with Florida Senator Tina Polsky, after refusing to wear a mask in her office.

The meeting between Ladapo and Polsky was in request from the surgeon general who met with other senators who will weigh in on his confirmation in the upcoming legislative session.

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Florida Seeking Long-Term Rule on Mask Mandates, Quarantines in Schools

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is proposing a new long-term rule to ban mask mandates and enshrine its new quarantine rules for students in Florida’s public school system. Florida’s new surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, signed off on the first phase of the new rules last month which said students would no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed and asymptomatic.

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Florida Surgeon General Signs Off on New COVID Rules for Students

Florida’s new Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, signed off on new COVID rules for students in Florida’s public schools. Among the new rules is a provision that students will no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID and remain asymptomatic.

Previously, based on contact tracing, the rules stated that Florida’s students would be required to stay home for at least four days if they were exposed to COVID. Now, the decision is entirely up to the parents.

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State Rep. Smith Filing Suit Against Florida Department of Health and Surgeon General Scott Rivkees

Florida Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-FL-49) filed suit against the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and outgoing Surgeon General Scott Rivkees over a public records request for Orange County pediatric COVID data.

Smith has said the DOH and Rivkees denied him the request and said they “falsely stated they were ‘confidential’ under state law, even after making those same records available for nearly a year on the Department’s daily COVID dashboard.”

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Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees Leaving Florida Department of Health

Scott A Rivkees

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.

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Florida’s Request for Ventilators Not Due to Shortage

The federal Department of Health and Human Services sent 200 ventilators and 100 high-flow nasal oxygen kits to Florida after a request from the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) allegedly due to a shortage.
However, when asked earlier this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he did not know about any request to Washington.

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Florida Officials Defying Mask Optional Rule Could Have Salary Suspended

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is reminding officials who are defying his executive order banning mask mandates in Florida’s schools, they could have funding withheld or the superintendents and school board members who impose the mandate could have their salaries suspended. DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw reminded the noncompliant school districts of the possible ramifications:

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State Says Fried’s Claims About Florida’s COVID Data Are Baseless

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has claimed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Department of Health (FDOH) is not reporting Florida’s COVID data to the CDC in a timely fashion.
Fried has since begun doing her own daily COVID briefings after DeSantis moved them to weekly occurrences.

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Governor DeSantis Signs Executive Order Banning Mask Mandates in Florida Schools

Governor DeSantis praised Florida parents’ “freedom to choose” before signing an executive order (EO 21-175) Friday, stopping Florida schools from issuing mask mandates for students.

The executive order cites HB 241, known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” that expanded upon the rights parents have regarding their children’s education, health, and upbringing. For example, the decision to not make their kids wear a mask. 

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Florida’s Doctors, Patients Face New Smokable Medical Marijuana Rules

Doctors and patients in Florida may be unaware of the new rules that took effect last week for smokable medical marijuana. Patients must resign a standardized consent form, which includes a new portion that explains the dangers of smoking near oxygen tanks and notifying patients of risks to exposure to mold in the marijuana.

Physicians are now required to conduct full, in-person assessments of the a patient including family, social history, and if they are pregnant.

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Florida Department of Health Reports Spike in Covid Cases

Staff if Florida Health Department

The Florida Department of Health (FDOE) reported a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases for the week that ended July 15th, making it the second week in a row that the number of cases increased. 

The FDOE reported 45,604 new cases from July 9th to July 15th which increased the COVID-19 positivity rate from 7.8% to 11.5%. The number of COVID-19 deaths during that week was 59. 

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Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Charges Against Former Florida Department of Health Employee Rebekah Jones

Rebekah Jones

In response to a motion to drop criminal charges against former Florida Department of Health (FDOH) employee Rebekah Jones, Leon County circuit judge Francis Allman denied dismissal of the charges.

Jones is being charged for illegally accessing a FDOH computer system and sending a group message encouraging other employees to accuse DeSantis and the FDOH of covering up COVID-19 data regarding cases and deaths.

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Christina Pushaw, Who Exposed Florida COVID Critic, Hired as DeSantis Press Secretary

Christina Pushaw

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has a new Press Secretary, a freelance reporter who exposed one of the state’s largest COVID-19 scam artist. 

Christina Pushaw is slated to handle the media on DeSantis’ behalf, according to a Monday report in The Capitolist. 

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