Florida Governor Rick Scott Not Waiting on Federal Government to be Prepared for Ebola

Published on October 17, 2014 12:05 PM

(SI Newswire) FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After meeting with officials today from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, as well the Department of Health, the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Division of Emergency Management, Governor Rick Scott made it clear that Florida is not waiting on the federal government for the state to prepare its citizens for a potential case of Ebola. Also today, Governor Scott urged the federal government to add Florida airports to the list of airports that have increased federal safety steps.

Governor Scott said, “We are thankful we do not have a case of Ebola in Florida and we hope we never do. But, my top priority is making sure that Florida stays safe. The CDC and the federal government have already admitted that they have failed to get ahead of the spread of Ebola in other states – and we aren’t going to let that happen in Florida. We are not going to simply wait for the federal government to be prepared. We are taking action.

“Today, we are demanding the attention of the CDC and the federal government to ensure we have what we need to be prepared to respond and keep our state safe. The federal government should add Florida airports to the list of airports that are implementing additional screening for patients. At this time, five US airports have implemented these additional screenings, and Florida airports should be included.” Governor Scott has taken the following actions to enhance Florida’s preparedness efforts:

  • On Sunday, Florida Hospitals were asked to establish mandatory Ebola training programs to protect healthcare professionals. To date, 46 hospitals have notified AHCA that they have completed this healthcare professional training. AHCA is continuing to follow up daily with hospitals to ensure the training is complete.
  • The Department of Health has also identified $1.25 million in federal grant funding that Florida will immediately use to buy high-level Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other equipment to enhance preparedness efforts.
  • The Florida National Guard is now ramping up its preparedness efforts by setting up two Rapid Response teams that will be able to provide healthcare services for any potential Ebola cases in Florida.

Governor Scott has asked the federal government for the following action:

  • Florida has asked for 30 testing kits so the state is ready to conduct tests on any cases that healthcare officials believe could be Ebola. To date, the CDC has only offered three.
  • Florida has asked federal officials for over $7 million in federal funds to be redirected so the state can purchase additional high-level personal protective equipment for healthcare workers – as well as other Ebola preparedness supplies.
  • Governor Scott has asked the CDC to expand their contact of airline passengers to include all passengers who traveled on the same plane as Dallas nurse Amber Joy Vinson for the full 24 hours after her flight. Within 24 hours of Amber’s flight with a low-grade fever, the plane made five additional stops – including one into and one out of Fort Lauderdale Airport

As of the Governor’s briefing this morning in Fort Lauderdale, the CDC has not fulfilled any of Florida’s requests and he is now asking them publicly to support Florida in these important preparedness efforts.