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Ron DeSantis says he's not just a Trump puppet. Image via Colin Hackley.

Coronavirus in Florida

Gov. DeSantis, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez fumble on contact tracing

Mayor Giminez remained silent.

The press swarmed Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday after both he and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez were caught pointing fingers at each other about who is responsible for the hiring of contact tracers in the area.

Despite sitting next to one another at a press conference, neither elected official clarified the responsibility with each other. Instead, Gimenez sat silently as DeSantis pointed back at him.

The fiasco arose when a reporter asked the Governor to explain why only the state can conduct contact tracing and not Miami-Dade County, an area heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He has hired contact-trace,” DeSantis rebutted.

DeSantis’s answer, however, was refuted by the reporter, who claimed the county released a statement claiming only the Florida Department of Health can contact trace and therefore, the county could not hire the roughly 1,000 contact tracers as previously announced.

“I’m not sure that’s correct,” DeSantis said. “We want the county health departments to be involved in this working with their local leadership. That’s how they’ve bee doing it the whole time.”

When asked by the press if the two can clarify the confusion with each other, neither did.

“Well no,” DeSantis said. “He announced that he was going to do it and so he gave us a heads up that they were going to be investing in some of it. We obviously have done it at the state level.”

The disagreement between Mayor and Governor comes as South Florida’s tri-county area added another 3,179 cases in Tuesday’s COVID-19 report.

In Miami-Dade, new cases have gone from 604 per day from June 16-22 to 1,416 per day from June 23-29  and all the way up to 2,034 new cases per day from June 30-July 6.

Over the same three one-week windows, the positivity rate has jumped from 12.3% to 15.8% to 19.9%.

In other words, nearly one in five tests have come back positive in the county over the past week.

Written By

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capitol for Florida Politics. After a term with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studies Political Science, American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.

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