Florida Rep. Lois Frankel (D) announced today that she had joined members of Florida’s congressional delegation in directing a letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), urging the Governor to prioritize the health and safety of Floridians as the state moves forward with reopening its economy.
Specifically, the delegation is asking that more comprehensive testing strategies should be produced.
In a statement regarding the goal of the letter, Rep. Frankel explained that “the number one priority must continue to be saving Floridian’s lives” and their overall safety.
She added, “to do so, the reopening plan for our state needs to include a robust strategy for testing, contact tracing, and supported isolation to prevent new outbreaks that would threaten the health and livelihoods [of] all Floridians.”
Joining her in signing the letter were Reps. Val Demmings (D), Ted Deutch (D), Alcee Hastings (D), Al Lawson (D), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D), Donna Shalala (D), Darren Soto (D), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) and Frederica Wilson (D).
In the letter, the Florida delegation wrote that “Florida is lacking essential tools that public health experts agree are critical to a safe reopening process: widespread testing, a robust contact tracing workforce, and supported isolation are interconnected pieces of the larger puzzle of reopening.”
They go on to explain that “testing is the only way to gain and maintain an accurate understanding of the prevalence of the virus.”
Citing the end of last month when “President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act,” the lawmakers explained that “the law provides $25 billion in additional funding to boost COVID-19. Testing efforts around the country.”
So, “under the law, each state is required to develop a comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan,” which “must include goals for the remainder of the year, including: (1) the number of tests needed, month-by-month, to include diagnostic, serological, and other tests, as appropriate; (2) month-by-month estimates of laboratory and testing capacity, including related to workforce, equipment and supplies, and available tests; and (3) a description of how the state will use its resources for testing, including as it relates to easing any COVID-19 community mitigation policies.”
They asserted that “the state’s plan is due 30 days from enactment of the law, May 24, 2020.”