Gov. Ron DeSantis strongly reaffirmed his opposition to local government officials’ attempts to impose their own rules to curb the spread of COVID-19, saying Wednesday that such measures “are not effective.”
Appearing at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola to discuss the state’s vaccination efforts, DeSantis reiterated his position that mandates, lockdowns, and fines for violating mask restrictions don’t work.
As of a Tuesday count, 21,188 Florida residents had died of COVID-19, with seniors taking the brunt of the disease. Here is a breakdown of resident deaths by age group:
— Ages 4 and younger: 0 deaths
— Ages 5 to 14: 5 deaths
As hospitals treat thousands of COVID-19 patients, the state Agency for Health Care Administration updates information about available intensive-care unit beds. As of about 6 p.m. Monday, 19.7 percent of adult intensive-care unit beds statewide were available, but numbers varied by county. Here were county-by-county percentages of available adult ICU beds as of Monday:
— Hendry County: 100 percent
— Martin County: 65.2 percent
Emphasizing that his focus remains on Florida’s elderly population, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday said teachers and school staff should not expect to be prioritized for vaccination against COVID-19 — at least for now.
The governor’s comments came as a new semester kicked off in most Florida school districts, leaving many school employees wondering if they will be among the groups at the top of the state’s priority list in the early stages of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Wednesday called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to mobilize the National Guard to help distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
In a letter to DeSantis, Fried said distribution has been characterized in media reports as “very chaotic” and that there is a lack of “clear direction” for health-care professionals on vaccination procedures.
After years of battling between Florida and Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court next month will again take up a dispute about water in a river system that links the two states.
The Supreme Court last week scheduled oral arguments Feb. 22 in the case about divvying up water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system, which stretches from northern Georgia to Apalachicola Bay in Franklin County.
From a water battle to a gun law passed after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, courts are grappling with numerous major Florida legal issues. Here are five cases to watch in 2021:
— APALACHICOLA WATER WAR: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in February in a long-running battle between Florida and Georgia about water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system, which links the two states.
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