Scott says door-to-door Zika outreach, testing planned for Palm Beach County

Gov. Scott met earlier this month in Delray Beach with school officials on the Zika virus

Gov. Scott met earlier this month in Delray Beach with school officials on the Zika virus

A new case in Palm Beach County is Florida’s forty-third incident of locally transmitted Zika virus, but Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday that health officials still think only two sections of Miami-Dade County are hot spots for the outbreak.

Scott held a conference call with Palm Beach County officials to assure them that steps are underway to gauge whether residents are at risk. The announcement Wednesday was the county’s second case of locally-transmitted Zika.

“We’ll be going door-to-door to do outreach in the Palm Beach area; we’ll be doing strategic testing to identify if any other people may have contracted the Zika virus,” Scott said.

Health officials also will be working to wipe out mosquitoes in the area near where the latest victim lives. State officials won’t identify what part of the county is being targeted.

Scott said Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood and parts of Miami Beach are the only areas where active transmission of the virus is possibly still going on, according to investigators.

The first local case was identified Tuesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast — in Pinellas County — but state officials are still researching to determine whether mosquitoes carrying the illness have been found there.

Scott said that no new cases of Zika virus have been discovered in Wynwood over the past two weeks. Although four cases were announced there Tuesday by state officials, those individuals had contracted the virus earlier this month, the governor said.

“We’re doing aggressive testing, and we’re doing aggressive mosquito abatement,” Scott said during Wednesday’s call.

It was not clear which Palm Beach County officials were on the call, nor did the governor or state Surgeon General Celeste Philip take questions publicly from those participating.

Instead, Scott again aimed his fire at the federal government, saying that, “Congress and the White House have not been good partners.”

The governor said the state has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for an additional 5,000 Zika anti-body test kits, and 1,200 have been delivered, while requested lab support also hasn’t come.

Scott said Florida officials sought 10,000 Zika prevention kits for pregnant women, but the order hasn’t been filled by the CDC. The state has been shouldering much of the burden, he said.

“We’re going to continue to fund at the state level, if we need to do more, we will do that,” Scott said.

Federal officials have steered about $35 million in Zika-related funding to Florida, while Scott has tapped $26.2 million in state dollars for the fight.


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