Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has claimed Florida’s Department of Health (FDOH) is not reporting Florida’s COVID data to the CDC in a timely fashion.

Fried has since begun doing her own daily COVID briefings after DeSantis moved them to weekly occurrences.

“Our Governor, the Florida Department of Health, should be giving daily reporting numbers,” Fried said. “It’s 2:30 on Monday, we have nothing reported since Friday.”

Responding to Fried’s claim, the FDOH said it is not possible for the numbers to be delayed.

“This is absolutely inaccurate and baseless,” said FDOH Communications Director Weesam Khoury. “The Florida Department of Health routinely and automatically reports COVID-19 data Monday through Friday. Public health surveillance and controlling the spread of infectious diseases have always been core functions of the Department. That has not changed.”

Khoury also noted the CDC has quit requesting weekend data, simply asking it to be included in Monday’s reports.

Fried came out earlier this week against mask mandates, despite previous criticisms of DeSantis last year for not implementing a mask mandate, calling it “common sense.”

DeSantis has yet to implement a mask mandate in Florida, has signed an executive order banning mask mandates in Florida’s schools, and is pushing back against pro-lockdown political voices.

“We are not shutting down,” DeSantis said. “We are going to have schools open. We are protecting every Floridian’s job in this state. We are protecting people’s small businesses. These interventions have failed time and time again throughout this pandemic, not just in the United States but abroad. They have not stopped the spread, particularly with delta.”

As the Biden administration and numerous Republican governors have called this stage of the COVID fight a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” DeSantis has called that kind of language “judgmental stuff.”

“When somebody contracts a highly transmissible airborne virus, they’re viewed as having done something wrong,” DeSantis said. “And that’s just not the way you do it when people come in, you treat them. Are you going to sit there and criticize, or are we going to try to treat, and try to help the folks? Nobody’s trying to get ill here.”

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Nikki Fried” by Nikki Fried. Background Photo “Florida Senate Capitol” by Michael Rivera CC 3.0.