After a week of more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day in Florida, Senators Lori Berman (D-Delray Beach), Janet Cruz (D-Tampa), and Victor M. Torres, Jr. (D-Orlando) sent a joint letter to Governor DeSantis highlighting the need for a statewide task force to effectively suppress the disease as outbreaks occur.
“The uptick in new coronavirus cases last week demonstrates that we do not have this pandemic under control,” said Senator Berman. “In the absence of federal leadership, Florida desperately needs a task force to support communication across the state and create a strong supply chain for PPE and testing.”
According to Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics, in order for our country’s economy to fully and safely reopen, an estimated 20 million Americans would need to be tested every day. This requires business activity and complex supply and delivery chains not seen since World War II. Without a clear national strategy, the Democratic lawmakers noted, Florida must build a planning and implementation structure that supports cross-silo coordination to address supply chain issues for PPE and testing, build a sufficient contact tracing regime, and implement supported isolation programs.
Establishing a robust statewide task force incorporating the principles of identification and mitigation, or “TTSI,” with the goal of suppressing the coronavirus, to operate in tandem with the reopening would accomplish those goals, they wrote. TTSI programs use diagnostic testing (T), contact tracing (T), and supported isolation (SI) to effectively mitigate or suppress dangerous diseases with long incubation periods and short disease courses.
“COVID-19 continues to rage throughout our state,” said Senator Cruz. “If we are going to continue on this path of re-opening, it is critical that we have an exhaustive plan in place now. The formation of this TTSI Task Force would directly address the areas of deficiency that currently exist and provide specific measures for mitigation.”
Senator Torres agreed: “To help ensure the health and safety of all Floridians, it is important that the State have a comprehensive plan to address the COVID-19 virus as we move forward. I am hopeful that Governor DeSantis will take the steps necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 in its tracks.”