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CDC Agrees to Two of Gov. Scott's Requests for Ebola Safeguards

October 17, 2014 - 6:00pm

The Centers for Disease Control has agreed to two of the states four requests for enhancing Floridas Ebola preparedness efforts, Gov. Rick Scott announced Saturday. The two include holding a conference call with health care workers on best practices and federal approval of the states repurpose of more than $7 million in federal grant funding.

However, the CDC failed to provide the additional 27 testing kits, nor have they contacted the passengers who flew on the Frontier flight last Wednesday from Dallas to Fort Lauderdale.

Said Scott in a written statement, We want to thank the CDC for agreeing to hold a conference call with Florida hospitals on Monday, Oct. 20th at 3:30pm. Our health care workers need to hear directly from the CDC on what happened in Dallas that allowed Ebola to be transmitted to two nurses, and what can be done to protect our health care professionals in Florida who are on the front lines. Florida hospitals also have questions of their own and the CDC must provide guidance.

We appreciate the CDCs preliminary approval to move forward with redirecting more than $7 million in federal grant funds to purchase the necessary equipment and supplies to protect health care workers who may come into contact with Ebola. The CDC indicated that we will receive formal approval next week, but based on this preliminary approval, we have already begun using these funds to enhance our Ebola preparedness efforts.

While this is great progress, were waiting on the CDC to provide additional testing kits. 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.

The CDC still needs to identify, notify, and monitor all of the passengers who flew from Dallas to Fort Lauderdale after nurse Amber Joy Vinson flew on the same plane. We know she had a low-grade fever when she traveled to Dallas, and the plane then came to Florida. While this risk is low, there have been reports she was potentially symptomatic, and the CDC should take any potential threat seriously -- no matter how small. Were continuing to hope for the best while preparing for the worst and we expect the CDC to do everything possible to ensure our communities are kept safe.

Monday's conference call with the CDC will cover critical areas of preparedness and training for Florida hospitals. Officials with the CDCs state and local readiness section will host the call with Floridas hospital executives. Its main purpose it to provide guidance for proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), safe handling of medical waste and effective clinical strategies within the hospital setting.

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