Gov. Scott: CDC agrees to two Florida Ebola preparedness requests

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Gov. Rick Scott won two partial victories today in the ongoing struggle with the Centers for Disease Control over preparedness efforts for a potential spread of Ebola to Florida.

Scott announced the CDC has agreed to two of the state’s requests for enhancing Florida’s readiness: a conference call with healthcare workers and federal approval to repurpose more than $7 million in federal grant funding.

The conference call with Florida hospitals will be Monday, October 20 at 3:30 p.m. Then, CEC will give healthcare workers direct information on the events in Dallas after two nurses were exposed to the Ebola virus. Florida healthcare workers will also get the latest information on best practices to prevent transmission, should an Ebola case arrive in the state.

Officials with the CDC’s state and local preparation section will host the call with Florida’s hospital executives, to provide guidance for proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safe handling of medical waste.

Scott added that a formal approval on the grant money could come as soon as next week, but based on this preliminary CDC approval, the state has already begun using these funds to enhance preparedness efforts.

Although he praised the recent CDC efforts, the governor also noted the agency still fell short of approving all the requests for equipment and support.

To date, the CDC has yet to provide 27 additional testing kits Scott requested and contact passengers on a Frontier flight from Dallas to Ft. Lauderdale — the same plane that had carried Amber Joy Vinson, one of the Texas nurses exposed to Ebola.

“With a population of more than 19 million people, tens of millions of tourists, and numerous ports and international airports, we must ensure Florida can rapidly test any future patients who have the potential for Ebola,” Scott added.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.