A Leon County judge, Wednesday, vacated an automatic stay on Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order barring school districts from imposing student mask mandates. This provides a temporary reprieve allowing school districts with mask mandates to keep them in place. Judge John Cooper said the state didn’t prove how it would be harmed if the ruling was allowed to go into effect.Lee County School District officials sent a letter to the Department of Education responding to threats of withholding state funds and imposing other sanctions over the district’s mandatory mask rule. In the response, officials say the Lee School District’s mask rule is in compliance with state law.Lee Health has surpassed 1,000 deaths of hospitalized COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic. Overall COVID patient populations in Southwest Florida hospitals are in decline even as in-hospital deaths have been on the rise in recent days.
Gov. Ron DeSantis says school districts that choose mask mandates could see their school board and superintendent’s salaries cut. a group of parents have filed suit over DeSantis’ executive order in Leon County Court, and a second mask lawsuit has been filed in South Florida. Democratic Senators have pledged to create a GoFundMe campaign to help repay any school leaders who lose their salaries by trying to put a student mask requirement in place.The ongoing surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations has resulted in an exponential increase in pediatric patients requiring treatment and hospitalization in Lee Health’s Golisano Children’s Hospital in Fort Myers. The start of a new school year, with mask wearing optional, is alarming local healthcare professionals, who shared their experiences treating children sick with COVID during a news conference, Tuesday.Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Lee Health both reported record-high number of COVID -19 patients admitted to their hospitals with 201 and 455 patients, respectively.Florida health officials and the administration of Governor Ron DeSantis said late Monday that the number of new COVID-19 infections reported publicly by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was wrong. Finger pointing over the data comes as the numbers of hospitalizations for patients with COVID-19 increases.The Celebrity Cruise Line plans to sail and comply with a state order barring businesses from requiring proof of vaccination status by placing several restrictions on passengers who refuse to provide proof of vaccination when asked.