U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.. announced on Thursday that he has decided to go into self-quarantine following a meeting with the Brazilian president earlier in the week, whose press secretary tested positive for coronavirus.
“My office was alerted today by the Brazilian embassy that a member of President Bolsonaro’s delegation tested positive for coronavirus,” Scott said. “On Monday, I met with the president in Miami, and while I do not believe I interacted with the infected person, that individual was in the same room as me. The embassy said the person had no symptoms leading up to or the day of the conference.
“After consulting with the Senate’s attending physician and my personal doctor, I have been told that my risk is low, and I don’t need to take a test or quarantine. However, the health and safety of the American people is my focus and I have made the decision to self-quarantine in an abundance of caution. I am feeling healthy and not experiencing any symptoms at this time. I will still be working on my plan to combat coronavirus and protect American families, and my offices in D.C. and throughout the state will still be fully operational to help Floridians,” Scott added.
Scott had to cancel his media event to showcase his proposal to expand access to coronavirus testing. Scott’s legislation would direct the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to reimburse states for the costs incurred to setup and run as many mobile testing sites as possible.
Scott’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Today, I am announcing legislation to expand access to coronavirus testing.
My legislation would direct the CDC to reimburse states for the costs incurred to setup and run as many mobile testing sites as possible.
Access to testing is the number one issue right now.
People who need and want to be tested are being turned away.
In the nation with the best and most developed health care system in the world, that is absolutely ridiculous.
We need to look at what has worked and failed in other countries to address the emerging threat posed by the coronavirus.
Mobile testing is one of the successful ideas we are seeing. It has been used in South Korea and Australia. Some states like Colorado, Connecticut, and Washington are starting to use this method.
At these mobile testing sites, people can drive up and get tested at a window. Just like a fast food restaurant.
Not only can more people get tested, it keeps health care workers safer.
People need to have access to tests so they can make better decisions about isolating themselves.
And, we have to keep our health care workers healthy. We must reduce exposure of health care workers NOW.
Testing for the virus is happening in the most haphazard way.
And what happens if a large population of our health care workers get exposed? Who will care for the ill? This is something we cannot waste another day not fixing.
If you look at reports, South Korea has been able to fight this virus by expanding testing. It has been reported that 15,000 people a day are getting tested and 210,000 South Koreans have been tested since Jan. 3, compared to about 6,500 tests completed in the US as of this week.
Reports show the fatality rate in South Korea is 0.7%, globally it is 3.4%. We can learn from these successes and mirror this approach right here in the United States. We need to get ahead of this crisis.
This is why I am filing this legislation. We need to start following the model in South Korea and get more people tested, safely, NOW.
In addition to enhancing the testing process, I have released steps that the US Government needs to take right now:
- Temporarily shut down all U.S. borders to foreign tourism. If Americans choose to go on an international trip, they must submit to a health screening and a 14-day quarantine upon their return to the U.S.
- Close all schools for 14 days in areas where we are seeing local transmission and community spread.
- All hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and senior centers need to severely limit visits and all people, especially employees, must be screened when entering these facilities. This is to keep both patients and health care workers safe.
- When there is a new case that is linked to travel, the CDC must release locations the individual visited before returning home, the airports they traveled through, relevant flight or train numbers and if there were any underlying conditions.
- Government buildings need to be shut down to visitors and only open for officials and their staff. Government must function at all times, especially during a public health crisis. But this will not happen if government workers are not safe.
- All hospitals need to prepare to halt elective procedures to ensure there are enough beds available for the sick.
- Make sure researchers have the time and resources necessary to get a vaccine done quickly.
- States must immediately start implementing containment zones. During the Zika crisis, we released maps with zones of where Zika transmission was happening. The CDC needs to immediately release this so people can see if people in their neighborhood have it.
The discussion in Washington has turned to an economic stimulus package.
Let’s be very clear about this: the markets are not reacting to fundamental weaknesses in our economy. The markets are reacting to fear, uncertainty and the disruption of global supply chains.
The best economic stimulus package is to stop the spread of coronavirus.
We need to cancel recess so we can deal with this public health crisis.
The health and safety of American families is my focus here. As I saw dealing with hurricanes, a terrorist attack and the Zika outbreak as governor, a public health and safety crisis is not a partisan issue.
Americans expect all of us to come together to find solutions to protect every family in our country.
Here are some things you need to do. And, while the news has done a great job repeating it, people are still not taking this seriously.
We learned today that someone with SYMPTOMS got on a flight from New York to Palm Beach and they have been tested positive for Coronavirus.
DON’T DO THAT. STOP NOW. YOU ARE BEING SELFISH BY PUTTING PEOPLE AT RISK.
• Clean your hands often!
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
• Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Clean all surfaces.
The CDC Coronavirus Call Center is available 24/7 at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) for urgent issues related to coronavirus.
If you feel sick, take extra precautions and stay home.
We must always hope for the best but prepare for the worst. We are all in this together. We need to take care of each other.
We are going to get through this, but we all have to our own part. And, if you know someone who may need help, call them. Check on them. Let’s watch out for each other.