A Florida, USA, doctor has been removed from his hospital job amid reports that he offered parents medical letters to circumvent school mask requirements, according to the BBC.
Local school rules require masking unless a medical reason is given. Tallahassee physician Brian Warden was reportedly advertising such medical exemption letters for $50 on a Facebook group for anti-mask parents.
The issue of mask mandates in schools has sparked debates nationwide as the new academic year begins. Warden's employer, the Capitol Regional Medical Center in Tallahassee, told the BBC that it began the process of removing him from providing services to their patients "immediately" upon learning of his actions.
Warden was reportedly offering the letters on the the Capitol Regional Medical Center group, according to local media. He said he was not signing letters affiliated with a hospital or medical group.
Florida has been in the national spotlight over the ongoing mask row between school officials, parents and the government. At least eight school districts across the state have defied the mask-wearing order, including its largest school district, Miami-Dade County, and Leon County, where Warden was employed.
COVID-19 cases have surged in Florida, with more people admitted to hospital and dying of the virus than at any other point during the pandemic. Funeral homes say they are unable to keep up, one home saying bodies awaiting cremation were "stacked to the ceiling".
Hospitals have also been stretched thin. The crisis has prompted Orlando's mayor to ask residents to conserve water to preserve liquid oxygen, which is being used to treat coronavirus patients.
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