Florida governor issues new COVID-19 guidance to 'buck CDC'

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, MD, updated the state's COVID-19 guidance Feb. 24, which shortens isolation periods, advises against masks in community settings and grants healthcare practitioners flexibility to treat patients with emerging and off-label drugs for the virus. 

The new guidance greenlights "emerging treatments backed by quality evidence, with appropriate patient informed consent, including off-label use or as part of a clinical trial." Fluvoxamine and inhaled budesonide are listed by name in a provider alert distributed by the Florida Department of Health. The state also urges healthcare practitioners to "stay apprised of the availability of COVID-19 treatment options," including Paxlovid, molnupiravir, bebtelovimab and sotrovimab.

The provider alert also contains information for healthcare providers to report hospitals or healthcare facilities that impede the use of emerging or off-label treatments to the state's Agency for Health Care Administration. 

The move is one of several the governor and surgeon general rolled out Feb. 24 related to COVID-19 guidance.

"Florida has widespread natural and vaccine-induced immunity," Dr. Ladapo said in a news release for their new guidance, which frames the updates as "bucking" those of the CDC. 

Mr. DeSantis and Dr. Ladapo rolled out guidance that also: 

The Florida Senate approved the nomination of Dr. Ladapo as surgeon general Feb. 23. 

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