U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a member of the Congressional Coronavirus Task Force, responded to another record-breaking weekend in Florida by drafting a host of local leaders to sign on to a joint statement urging coordinated action against the COVID-19 pandemic by Florida’s government.
Mucarsel-Powell, who represents Florida’s 26th Congressional District, was joined by state Sens. Annette Taddeo and Jose Javier Rodriguez, state Reps. Kionne McGhee and Javier Fernandez, county commissioners Daniella Levine Cava and Dennis Moss and the mayors of several Florida cities.
Florida City mayor Otis Wallace, City of Homestead mayor Steven Losner, Monroe County mayor Heather Carruthers, Islamorada mayor Mike Forster, City of Key West mayor Teri Johnston, Key Colony mayor John DeNeale, and mayor of Layton Bruce Halle also signed on.
“South Florida is once again the epicenter of an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases, and we, as community leaders of federal, state, and local governments, need the state and the Florida Department of Health to take decisive action to: (1) communicate that anyone seeking a test can get tested without preconditions (2) surge contact tracing to South Florida (3) work to comfortably quarantine infected people, and (4) require the use of masks in public settings, especially indoors. We write with extreme urgency because we know that if these steps are taken in a robust and timely manner, we can help contain the spread of the virus and minimize the public health and economic consequences to our communities,” the group wrote.
“In lieu of a vaccine or therapeutics to treat this disease, implementing a plan to significantly increase the testing, contact tracing, and quarantine measures while requiring the widespread use of masks and face coverings is the best way to aggressively locate the virus and break chains of transmission. The Florida Department of Health must clearly state that anyone seeking a test can get tested, without any of the prior restrictions that existed early in this pandemic, and additional testing supplies be sent to the region. The state must surge contact tracing personnel into South Florida to identify other potential spreaders of this disease, and we stand ready to collaborate in this effort. The state must also work with us to determine local hotels where positive and presumed positive cases can comfortably quarantine, reducing the risk of transmission to close contacts.”