Orange County health department told to stop releasing school COVID-19 case numbers, health officer says

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino said his department was instructed by the Florida Department of Health to stop releasing information on COVID-19 cases in local schools due to confidentiality concerns.

Pino said his department can no longer release the numbers of how many students, teachers and staff have COVID-19 in Orange County Public Schools after DOH’s legal staff deemed it “confidential.”

READ: 20 DeLand High School football players quarantining after assistant coach tests positive for COVID-19

That information will now only be able to come from school districts, if they choose to release it.

Orange County Public Schools said it will continue to release the data on Tuesdays and Fridays.

As of Tuesday, the district had 59 students and staff with COVID-19, and as of Thursday it has 220 in quarantine.

READ: Orange County Public Schools being ‘secretive,’ ‘heavy-handed’ about COVID-19 cases, teacher says

Pino said he was releasing the information because he believed it should be public. He said he takes responsibility for not clarifying with the DOH first, but that he’s now asking for further clarification because he said the information does not identify anyone.

Stay tuned to Channel 9 Eyewitness News for updates.

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Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.