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Gov Praises Local Zika Efforts While Chiding Congress, President

James Gathany

State and federal officials are scrambling to respond after the confirmation of homegrown Zika cases in South Florida. 

The number of Zika cases has been creeping upward for months, with state health officials dutifully releasing the count of new travel related infections every day.  But last Friday, Governor Rick Scott confirmed what health officials had been fearing: four locally contracted cases of the Zika virus.  By Monday the number swelled to 14—twelve cases in Miami Dade County and two others in Broward.  Speaking after Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, Governor Scott applauded the joint efforts of local health workers and a centers for disease control emergency response team. 

“Look they’re doing backpack spraying, they’re getting rid of standing water, and again, look at where we are,” Scott said, “we’ve tested I think 20,000 mosquitoes, we still don’t have a mosquito that has the Zika. 

“So we’re making—I feel like we’re doing everything we should be doing right now,” he said, “but until we make sure that there’s no more locally transmitted cases we’re not going to stop.” 

“We’re going to keep everybody safe,” he went on, “we’re going to work hard to make sure everybody that needs a test gets a test.  If you need a protection kit we’ll do everything we can.”

But Scott had sharper words for Congress and the president.

“Whatever they do, they’ve got to start working together,” Scott complained.  “To the extent that the president can allocate more dollars, he ought to allocate more dollars down here.  To the extent that Congress should come back and do their job, yeah, they ought to do their job.  But the truth is they’ve got to work together.”

In recent days, Republican Senator Marco Rubio has joined many others in Florida’s congressional delegation calling to cut short a summer recess—in the midst of a contentious campaign season—to allocate more funding to fight the virus.  The CDC Monday advised pregnant women not to travel through Miami’s Wynwood Arts District.  It also urged any pregnant women who frequent or live in the area get tested before their third trimester.

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.