U.S. Sen. Rick Scott is urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to immediately launch a 24-7 hotline to address questions people might have about the coronavirus.
Scott issued the letter Thursday to CDC Director Robert Redfield.
“With these new developments, we must continue to do everything in our power to remain vigilant and prepared for the potential spread of the Chinese Coronavirus within the United States,” Scott wrote. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plays a critical role in protecting public health and communicating with at-risk local communities during an outbreak.”
Scott also urged the agency to hold regular conference calls with state and local health officials to provide up-to-date information and resources available to combat coronavirus.
In the letter to Redfield, Scott asked several questions. It included how the CDC planned to address questions about the coronavirus, how the agency plans to provide the public updated information and about reports of defective testing kits the CDC apparently provided some states.
Scott also asked if the CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services planned to reimburse states for the cost of quarantining patients at hospitals. He also asked what kind of training U.S. health workers have to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Worldwide, there are more than 82,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus with the majority of them in Asia. More than 2,810 people have died with more than 2,600 fatalities in China.
Coronavirus has spread to at least 47 countries as of Thursday afternoon.
“The global threat posed by the Chinese Coronavirus continues to grow, and our domestic preparedness becomes increasingly urgent,” Scott wrote.
The coronavirus outbreak includes 60 confirmed cases in the U.S. as of Thursday afternoon.
However, as of Thursday, the Florida Department of Health reported no cases of the coronavirus in Florida.
“The CDC and HHS are the lead agencies for controlling the spread of this disease,” Scott wrote. “I look forward to continuing to work with you to be as transparent as possible as we keep Americans safe.”
Earlier this month, Scott had several questions for the World Health Organization and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs on federal efforts to contain the virus.
The CDC has provided information on its website about the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
“The potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the United States,” a CDC news release reads.
As of Thursday, there is still not a vaccine to protect against coronavirus or medication approved to treat it.