Florida official overseeing pandemic strategy resigns

A Florida official who oversees the state’s response to the pandemic confirmed on Monday that he will resign from his position, saying he wants to spend more time with his family.

Jared Moskowitz, the director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, told the USA Today network, however, that his “departure won’t be imminent.”

He declined to give a timeline until Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisPresident Biden's vaccination plan is Constitutional – and necessary Faith leaders call on Congress to lead the response to a global pandemic Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE (R) makes a formal announcement, expected on Tuesday. 

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“My kids are 7 and 4. When I started this job, they were 5 and 2,” Moskowitz told USA Today’s Florida Capital Bureau. “I’ve been in this job for 50 percent of my younger one’s life.”

DeSantis confirmed Moskowitz’s planned departure, while praising his work, when asked about it during a press conference.

“He’s worked incredibly hard,” he said. “He’s done a fantastic job.”

The governor said that Deputy Director of Emergency Management Kevin Guthrie will replace Moskowitz "when Jared is ready to leave.”

Florida Politics first reported Moskowitz’s resignation in a text message news alert, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

DeSantis tapped Moskowitz to lead the Division of Emergency Management after he had served in the state House of Representatives from 2012 to 2019. 

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The division deals with responding to hurricanes that frequently pummel the state, but over the past year Moskowitz was faced with a different challenge in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He was more vocal than the governor in promoting social distancing and mask wearing, including by changing his name on Twitter to “Jared MASKowitz.” 

As director, he also organized responses to hurricanes Dorian, Isaias, Laura and Sally.

Florida has documented more than 1.4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 29,275 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Cases spiked in the Sunshine State last summer and in early January, along with the rest of the country, according to The COVID Tracking Project