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Florida lawmaker urges DeSantis to declare state of emergency over surging COVID cases

Between July 16-22, Florida reported more than 73,000 cases.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — State Sen. Annette Taddeo is calling on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency over the recent spike in coronavirus cases across the state in to provide hospitals with "much needed" resources.

In a letter, Taddeo says the state is currently seeing infection and hospitalization rates similar to last year's summer surge. Between July 16-22, Florida reported more than 73,000 cases — that's an average of more than 10,000 cases a day. The percent positivity for new cases also reached 15 percent during that period of time. 

"In order to save lives, our hospitals need the help of the state and federal government to provide the critical resources they need," Taddeo wrote.

The senator says a few of the options hospitals will have under a state of emergency include allowing retired health care workers who live out of state to work in Florida without a license and expanding telehealth services.

Taddeo also asked that the Department of Health once again begin reporting daily COVID-19 cases. On June 4, state officials halted daily reports in favor of weekly ones. Since then, the more transmissible delta variant has swept the nation and become the more dominant variant as vaccinations to fight it have stalled.  

A spokesperson for DeSantis said the state had "no plans" to resume its daily reports. 

Health officials say more frequent updates are helpful in the decision-making process, such as how school leaders prepare for the upcoming year or whether a person figures whether to attend a large event or masks up.

"There was absolutely no reason to eliminate the daily updates beyond an effort to pretend like there are no updates," state Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat from the Orlando area, told the AP.

Visit the Florida Department of Health's website to find a vaccine location near you.

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