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Florida challenges CDC over COVID case numbers

One state representative wants data reporting changed.

TAMPA, Fla. — For more than a year, the Florida Department of Health publicly released COVID-19 data.

It was separated by the state, county by county, multiple pages long.

Now, they’re just releasing a report once a week, saying they are giving out numbers daily to the CDC every day except weekends.

But some say that’s not enough.

It was a battle of tweets between the Florida Department of Health and the CDC over their concerns about COVID-19 case information.

The CDC reported  56,633 new cases of COVID-19 in the state over the weekend. After that report was released, Florida DOH tweeted late Monday night:

“The number of cases the CDC released for Florida today is incorrect. They combined multiple days into one. We anticipate CDC will correct the record.”

Within a few hours, Florida DOH tweeted again.

“The daily case counts for Florida currently posted on the CDC COVID Tracker are incorrect. The current listing states 28,317. The accurate data are as follows: Friday, August 6: 21,500 Saturday, August 7: 19,567 Sunday, August 8: 15,319 positive COVID cases.”

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10 Investigates learned the Florida Department of Health reports daily COVID data to the CDC Monday through Friday. That’s where the CDC gets their information.

“All of this can be settled," Florida Rep. Carlos Smith says. 

According to Smith, if the comprehensive daily COVID reports from the Florida Department of Health that included age and county by county breakdowns were once again released, there would be no confusion.

“We're in a pandemic. Members of the public have a right to know what is happening in their local communities as it relates to COVID,” said Rep. Smith.

He says it’s also important for parents to have more information, like how many kids in their county have COVID right now, as they decide whether to mask their child.

“If parents don't have access to real-time information about local COVID hospitalizations in pediatrics, local COVID transmissions in their county as kids are reentering school, how are parents supposed to make informed decisions about the health and safety of their child,” asked Rep. Smith.

Records, Rep. Smith says, the state has and he requested in a records request.

He was shocked when DOH told him he couldn’t have that info because it was confidential.

“We just want raw data and for the state to say that data on local COVID hospitalizations and cases for children is confidential doesn't make any sense. And it flies in the face of what the state provided on the COVID dashboard on a daily basis all year long last year during the pandemic.”

10 Investigates reached out to DOH about whether they will release COVID data publicly like they once did and why they would call county by county age case data confidential when it was something once released by the state. 

We are still waiting to hear back.

The CDC did respond to our requests and sent us an email that read:

"CDC and the Florida Department of Health are working to update the data to correct the information by the date the case occurred. Corrected case counts by date should repost on CDC's COVID Data Tracker later today."

You can see the latest Florida Dept. of Health COVID data here.