Dr. Raul Pino’s ‘final fate’ still unknown as investigation continues, Orange County mayor says

Pino was the county’s health officer before being placed on administrative leave month and a half ago

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – It’s been a month and a half since the Florida Department of Health relieved its top official in Orange County, pending an investigation the agency says it handed over to the Office of the Inspector General.

State officials spurred the investigation in response to an email Dr. Raul Pino sent to staff, which included data regarding staff vaccinations.

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Within the email, Pino writes, “I am sorry, but at this point in the absence of reasonable and real reasons, it is irresponsible not to be vaccinated.”

About a week after his suspension, Florida’s new Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo defended the decision.

“I want to clarify that that particular physician was absolutely not placed on admin leave for any reason that was potentially political or related to anything other than the policies that we have at the department of health,” Ladapo said on Jan. 26 of this year.

On Thursday, FDOH told News 6 there are no updates in the investigation or on Pino’s employment status.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said during a press conference on Thursday his office invited FDOH to speak, however, he said the agency did not send a representative.

“Dr. Pino came to be well respected by his peers in healthcare,” Demings said. “I believe that he feels that not knowing his final fate with his employer is worrisome to him.”

Demings went on to say that during recent communications, Pino has expressed he might never return to his job with the state.

Demings stood next to Pino for the biweekly updates that became a regular occurrence during the pandemic.

Pino was named Orange County Medical Director in May 2019. He previously worked in Connecticut, including as Director of Health Services for the City of Hartford.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.