Gov. Scott: Florida not waiting for feds to prepare for Ebola

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Gov. Rick Scott is not waiting any longer for the federal government to help prepare Floridians for a possible outbreak of the Ebola virus.

Scott made his intentions clear in a statement released today after meeting with officials from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, the Florida Department of Health, as well as the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Division of Emergency Management.

Scott once again urged the federal government to add Florida airports to the list of airports that have increased federal safety steps.

“The CDC and the federal government have already admitted that they have failed to get ahead of the spread of Ebola in other states,” Scott said. “And we aren’t going to let that happen in Florida. We are taking action.”

Scott renewed his demands on the CDC and the federal government to add Florida airports to the five U.S. airports that have implemented additional screenings

In addition, Scott announced additional Ebola preparedness efforts:

  • On Sunday, Scott asked Florida Hospitals to establish mandatory Ebola training programs to protect healthcare professionals. To date, 46 hospitals have notified ACHA that they have completed this healthcare professional training. ACHA 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.

Among the actions Scott has requested from the federal government:

  • Thirty testing kits so the state is ready to conduct tests on any cases that healthcare officials believe could be Ebola. To date, the CDC only offered three.
  • 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.
  • The CDC to expand 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.

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.