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.”