Rebeckah Jones Turns Herself in, Tests Positive For COVID-19


A picture of Rebekah Jones.

Halle Saldivia, Reporter

Rebekah Jones, former COVID-19 data scientist in Florida, turned herself into law enforcement on Sunday after a warrant was issued for her arrest for illegal use of the state’s computer system. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement stated she is charged with one count of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices.

The DeSantis administration fired Jones in May 2020 after she accused state health officials of manipulating data to suppress the number of reported COVID-19 cases and deaths. After her dismissal, Jones set up a competing COVID-19 dashboard to display data about the virus.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials said Jones has been under investigation since early November after someone illegally accessed the state’s emergency alert health system.  “It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead,” said a message sent on November 10th, according to the affidavit. “You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.”

Officials traced that message to an IP address linked to Jones’ house, according to a search-warrant affidavit. Authorities raided her home in December. Jones filed a lawsuit over the search of her home, saying it was a violation of her First Amendment rights, depriving her of due process, and unlawfully seizing her computers, cell phone, and storage media during the search.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Jones announced that she would turn herself in “To protect my family from continued police violence, and to show that I’m ready to fight whatever they throw at me, I’m turning myself into police in Florida Sunday night,” Jones tweeted. “The Governor will not win his war on science and free speech. He will not silence those who speak out.”
Jones walked out of the jail Monday afternoon after posting bail. Wearing a mask, she told reporters outside the jail she had just tested positive for COVID-19.