U.S. Rep. Val Demings and members of Congress wrote a letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Wednesday urging him to confront the surge in COVID-19 cases in Florida.
“You have defended your position by focusing heavily on the positivity rate of new cases and the increase in testing,” the letter reads. “But as cases have spiked this week, so has the positivity rate. Six out of the last seven days have had a rate above 10 percent.”
Florida Department of Health reports 109,014 total cases as of Wednesday. According to the report, the percent of positive results throughout the state ranged from 4.38% to 15.91% over the past 2 weeks.
In Orange County, the Department of Health’s report list 561 new cases with a 17.3% positivity rate.
In the joint news release, the Representatives asked for DeSantis to convene the first meeting with the state congressional delegation since the crisis began and maintain regular communication throughout the response.
“Many of us are your former colleagues, and we know that you understand the importance of federal and state coordination. But our requests for regular briefings from you and other state officials have gone unanswered,” the Representatives wrote in the letter.
“As cases have increased, you have attempted to make excuses for this grim trend rather than taking action to turn it around and save lives,” the Representatives wrote.
“It is true that Florida faired better than many other states early in the pandemic,” the Representatives wrote. “But it appears that the state did not use the past three months to prepare for this moment.”
The letter was signed by U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch (FL-22), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Darren Soto (FL-09), Donna Shalala (FL-27), Val Demings (FL-10), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), and Charlie Crist (FL-13).
The letter was a follow up to a May 8 letter in which members of Florida’s Congressional delegation wrote to DeSantis to address “grave concerns” with his plan to reopen the state.
“Florida is lacking essential tools that public health experts agree are critical to a safe reopening process: widespread testing, a robust contact tracing workforce, and supported isolation are interconnected pieces of the larger puzzle of reopening,” the letter from May reads.