Rick Scott decries lack of transparency regarding Florida coronavirus deaths
Sen. Rick Scott.

Senator wants details on what airlines and airports victims visited.

Sen. Rick Scott decried a lack of transparency on the part of Florida officials regarding the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“The lack of publicly released information surrounding these cases is alarming and unfair to millions of families across the nation who are worried about their well-being,” Scott wrote in a letter.

The former Governor of Florida sent the written message to acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, Federal Aviation Administration Director Steve Dickson and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield.

He also included leadership for the Departments of Health in Lee and Santa Rosa counties, where two Florida residents died of coronavirus this week.

Scott demands the release of several pieces of information regarding the two deaths, including any inbound or outbound flights the victims flew and the airports they may have visited. He also asks if the individuals were screened at airports and if any information was sent to the CDC or Florida Department of Health.

The Senator asks if others who shared flights with the victims were notified of the potential exposure to coronavirus.

Health officials have disclosed both individuals recently traveled and were older in age, but have not revealed many personal details out of privacy concerns. The Santa Rosa man who died was revealed to have “underlying health conditions,” but Scott wants that information confirmed and details publicly released.

Scott also wants information on how quickly information was shared from local Health Departments to the CDC about the deaths and what processes exist for hospitals to inform Health Department officials of suspected cases.

“With American lives at risk, we must work together quickly with all information possible to stop the spread of this disease immediately,” Scott wrote.

The letter puts in black in white concerns Scott voiced in a Fox News interview on Saturday. There, he made clear the Lee County death hit literally too close to home.

“I was very surprised when I learned about the death in Lee County, which is adjoining to the county I live in,” he said Saturday.

“We didn’t even know there was even a presumptive case. We need to make sure, where did this person travel? We need to make sure if they traveled into the airport, who was on that flight? Let’s make sure they can get tested.”

Scott lives in Naples, in Collier County, and routinely flies through Southwest Florida International Airport. That’s a short distance from Gulf Coast Medical Center, where the Lee County woman died from coronavirus.

“Our hearts break for the families of the individuals lost to this horrible sickness,” Scott wrote, “and we must do everything we can to stop the spread of the Coronavirus and save lives.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • jack barron

    March 9, 2020 at 7:56 am

    Thank you Rick. I live 3 miles from Gulf Coast Hospital and want to know where victims lived and where they went during the week prior to their diagnosis. Come on county and state officials. The right for the public to know for their safety overrides the individuals right to privacy.

  • Sonja Emily Fitch

    March 9, 2020 at 9:26 am

    Senator Scott, you of all people have had lots of experience lying about the numbers of folks that are being harmed as the former CEO of Columbia/HCA and the hundreds of lives lost because of the decision to stop their care! By any chance did you come in contact with the person at the Conservative AP meeting? you know the one where the leader declared the coronavirus is a HOAX! Sir I question your motives.

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