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Dr. Raul Pino placed on leave; Florida’s housing market soars

FILE - In this Oct 2, 2018 file photo, a for sale sign stands outside a home on the market in the north Denver suburb of Thornton, Colo. U.S. home sales soared 11.8 percent in February, 2019 aided by accelerating wages and falling mortgage rates that are improving affordability. The National Association of Realtors says that existing homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.51 million last month, a decisively sharp rebound from a pace of 4.94 million in January. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
David Zalubowski
In this file photo, a for-sale sign stands outside a home on the market in the north Denver suburb of Thornton, Colo.

The state of Florida ordered Orlando’s top health official to stay home this week after he encouraged his employees to get vaccinated.

Dr. Raul Pino is the top Health Department administrator in Orange County. Earlier this month, he emailed his staff after finding out how many had received any doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Of more than 500 workers, just one in seven were up to date on vaccinations — including a booster shot.

The state says he was placed on leave while an investigation is underway to determine whether he broke any laws. In November, a new state law banned employers from mandating workers be vaccinated, including government workers.


Florida’s housing market soars

According to the Washington Post’s analysis of Zillow data, Florida’s home prices skyrocketed in the past six months, making the state one of the fastest-growing real estate markets.

Home prices are quickly catching up to higher-cost states like New York and Virginia, leaving many first-time homebuyers priced out of the market by corporate investors able to pay cash and above the asking price. While home prices rise, Florida paychecks grow slower than the national average.

Rental costs rose nearly 30%, causing some Florida cities to consider housing states of emergency. The growing lack of affordable housing presents an emerging political challenge for Gov. Ron DeSantis. DeSantis argues that the housing market is rising due to his pandemic approach, which is bringing almost 800 new residents to Florida daily.


  • Jaimie Ross, president and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition.
  • State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, Democrat of Orlando.
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Katherine Hobbs was Associate Producer of talk shows at WJCT until 2022.