ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County health officer Dr. Raul Pino announced by law he will have to sharply curtail the release of COVID-19 data related to schools.
“The law said the department of health can’t,” Dr. Pino said
Orange County’s top COVID-19 official said he has been prohibited from releasing the information per Florida state statute.
A sharp contrast from earlier this week when he disclosed the number of infections linked to schools, plus the number of students and staff members under quarantine.
“Its confidential information I can’t continue to release that data,” he said.
It’s a decision News 6 confirmed with the Florida Department of Health through a statement:
County health departments provide confidential COVID-19 information on positive individuals and close contacts to positive cases to schools, superintendents or other designated individuals in school districts as that has been determined to be necessary by the State Surgeon General. This information is considered confidential under section 381.0031(6), Florida Statutes, and rule 64D-3.036, Florida Administrative Code.
Schools, superintendents, or school districts are advised that the department has provided confidential information only to them under the statute and rule. The department does not regulate school district operations.
The adjustment coincides with the announcement from Orange County school officials saying they will release data every Tuesday and Friday through social media platforms as they work on a COVID-19 section of the district’s website.
“We’re tracking everything, we’re tracking symptoms we’re making sure we’re monitoring that,” spokesperson Scott Howat said.
Howat said the district’s aim is to streamline information for the public and parents about confirmed cases and their quarantine procedures.
“There were a lot of parents out there that were saying well am I going to get a letter? Am I not going to get a letter was it my child’s teacher?” Howat said.
Howat said the district can confirm 198 students and 22 staffers are in quarantine.