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Florida Senate To Contract With Tampa General Hospital For COVID-19 Safety Plan

Man smiling in suit standing in front of a woman dressed in black
Aileen Perilla/AP
FRE171748 AP
Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Spring Hill, who will lead the senate in the next session, during session at the Capitol on Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla)

The Florida Senate is enlisting help to keep its members and staff safe from coronavirus.

Before the Senate returns to Tallahassee for an organizational session in November, it aims to have a plan in place. Incoming senate president, Republican Wilton Simpson, sent a memo out Tuesday saying the legislative body will contract with Tampa General Hospital to draw up that plan.

Simpson’s memo says Tampa General “will help us develop educational information for Senators and staff on practical, actionable infection prevention steps.”

As of Tuesday evening, a spokesperson for the Senate president’s office had not responded to WFSU’s inquiry as to whether a price tag has been determined. Simpson’s letter says he’s asked outgoing Senate President Bill Galvano to authorize the contract.

The team at Tampa General has worked with professional hockey team the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Aquarium among other groups.

Simpson describes the TGH program as “a strike-team-like program that connects members of their in-house infection prevention team with infectious disease experts at USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and with private practice physicians in the TGH network who specialize in infectious disease.”

Senate leadership says it is collaborating with its House counterparts on coordinating safety efforts.

The Florida legislature’s organizational session will begin November 17.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.