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October 21, 2020
COVID Workers Comp Claims Have Grown in Florida

State officials in California and Florida say COVID-19 cases now make up a significant number of the total workers compensation claims filed. The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation reported that 21,221 COVID-19 indemnity claims have been filed as of Sept. 30, or 31.8 percent of the total number of injury and illness claims in the state. The large number of COVID-19 claims, however, is being offset by a reduction in the number of other types of claims as workers stay home because of the ongoing pandemic. Claims Journal

Bar Workgroup to Recommend Presumption that Remote Hearings Are OK For Civil Cases

Remote hearings would be presumed acceptable for civil cases in Florida court's under a permanent rule change the Supreme Court’s COVID-19 Workgroup will recommend to the Florida Supreme Court. The proposal is one of many designed to deal with the case backlog that has developed since the pandemic halted jury trials in March, Twentieth Circuit Chief Judge Michael McHugh told an Oct. 19 meeting of the Bar’s COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force. Florida Bar News

DOH Delays Daily Report on COVID Cases

Florida health officials delayed the usually daily report on the number of coronavirus cases on Wednesday and didn’t provide an explanation.  A Department of Health official told The Orlando Sentinel that the agency would have more information “as soon as possible,” but didn’t have an explanation for the delay. The report normally comes out by 11 a.m. Eastern Time. The question over the data release comes after media outlets reported this week that Gov. Ron DeSantis is considering doing away with daily reports on COVID-19 statistics. The state already shifted from twice daily updates to a single update in late April. DOH later said in a statement that it was taking extra time to "ensure the accuracy of COVID-19 related deaths," and from now on would be performing additional reviews of all deaths. Orlando Sentinel / Tampa Bay Times 

October 20, 2020
DeSantis: If COVID Resurges, Schools Should Remain Open

In the event of another major outbreak of COVID-19, schools should remain open for in-person learning, "whatever the future may hold," Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday. The governor said it was a mistake to let schools close in the spring. "Going forward, whatever the future may hold, school closures should be off the table," DeSantis said during a visit to a Jacksonville charter school. "They don't do anything to mitigate COVID, but they do cause catastrophic damage to the physical, mental and social well being of our youth. Let's not repeat any mistakes of the past." DeSantis said more than 60 percent of the state's 2.8 million students in pre-K to 12th grade are getting in-person instruction, and that the risks remain low. "It's obviously even more clear now that schools are not drivers of spreading coronavirus, and schools need to be open," DeSantis said. "It is a bad public health policy to have schools closed." Sun Sentinel

Florida Opening Day Voting Was a Record

At least 350,000 people voted in Florida on Monday, the first day that polls were open for in-person voting, alleviating fears that COVID-19 would keep voters away. The number topped the previous record for the first day of early voting in the state, when just under 300,000 cast ballots in 2016. Politico

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