TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A day after he was confirmed by the Florida Senate as the state's new surgeon general, Dr. Joe Ladapo and Gov. Ron DeSantis announced new changes to the state's COVID-19 guidance.
Ladapo and the governor made the announcement in a video postedto the state's website Thursday.
Both said Florida's new guidance pushes back on "unscientific corporate masking" and "outdated CDC guidance."
DeSantis said it is meant to reduce isolation for all Florida residents, including those in schools and day cares.
The state is recommending that physicians should exercise their individual clinical judgment and expertise based on their patients' needs and preferences.
"People want to live freely in Florida, without corporate masking creating a two-tier society and without overbearing isolation for children," DeSantis said. "We are empowering health care practitioners to follow science, not [Dr. Anthony] Fauci's status quo."
The governor said he wants workers inside of businesses like restaurants to be able to serve customers without wearing masks.
"Unlike CDC guidance, Florida's new masking guidance advises against wearing facial coverings in a community setting," the new guidance states. "There is not strong evidence that masks reduce the transmission of respiratory illness."
Public health updates announced Thursday in Florida include:
- Pushing back against corporate masking for employees
- Advising health care practitioners and facilities to reevaluate status quo protocols in favor of scientifically-based treatment options to benefit patients
- Updating day care guidance to limit child isolation to five days
- Updating the school rule to limit student isolation to five days
- Reducing isolation for Floridians with COVID to five days
"The State of Florida has widespread natural and vaccine-induced immunity," Ladapo said. "Evidence suggests that most secondary transmission occurs early on. Our state will continue to make decisions for Floridians rooted in sound science, not fear, whether they are working or in school."
The CDC in December cut isolation restrictions for Americans who test positive for the coronavirus and shortened close contacts' time to quarantine.
U.S. health officials advised that people with the virus can leave isolation after five days, down from 10 days. People exposed to the virus can also leave quarantine after five days, according to CDC guidance.