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Amid COVID-19 surge, FL governor threatens to withhold funding from school districts with mask mandates

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Posted at 12:04 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 16:01:09-04

ORLANDO, Fla. — The spread of COVID-19 in Florida shows no sign of slowing down.

The state broke a record Sunday for current hospitalizations.

The Sunshine State had 10,207 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases. That's according to data reported to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services on Sunday.

The previous record was from July 23, 2020, more than a half-year before vaccinations became widespread.

Florida is facing a surge from COVID-19’s Delta variant and it’s also seeing a variant that was discovered in Colombia.

The B.1.621 variant has accounted for about 10% of COVID patients, according to Jackson Health System CEO Carlos Migoya, who spoke with WPLG in Miami.

The uptick in cases and hospitalizations come as schools prepare to open.

According to the Miami Herald, school districts in Broward and Gadsden counties plan to require masks.

However, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order that says schools must be open for in-person learning five days a week and cannot require students to be masked.

The executive order says funding could be withheld from school districts that do not comply.

The Miami Herald reports the Broward County Public Schools will review the executive order and decide whether changes to their face-covering policy need to be made.