Rep. Demings to DeSantis: Put the health of our children above politics

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Hospitalizations across Florida for COVID-19 reached their peak last Wednesday and have slowly declined since. 

Even still, 95% of ICU bed space at Florida hospitals is currently occupied, with nine Central Florida hospitals reporting no available ICU bed space.

“Florida is on fire, and what we do know is that the best weapon, especially against this delta variant, is to get vaccinated,” said Rep. Val Demings in an interview with Channel 9.  “We need to make sure that we are spreading the word that the best weapon to defeat the delta variant is to get vaccinated.”

READ: AdventHealth announces transition to “Red Status” as admissions slow

On Monday, Demings met with medical staff at True Health in Orlando, called on state and local leaders to put politics aside and push vaccines and masks as the most effective and inexpensive solution to COVID-19.  She also called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to back away from plans to financially penalize school boards that choose to implement mask mandates.

“Nobody knows better about the safety on those campuses than the people who work with our children every day, and so the governor and others would be better served if we kept politics out of this situation,” said Demings.

READ: Demings extends requirement for Orange County employees to get vaccinated, but some remain hesitant

Currently, more than half of all the public-school children in Florida attend school in a district that has implemented a mask mandate.

Meanwhile, last week, a judge ruled the state did not have the authority to ban mask mandates, a decision the governor said the state will be appealing.

READ: Brevard County schools report more than 3,500 COVID-19 cases since the start of the school year