On August 8, Florida Governor Rick Scott hosted a meeting with representatives from hospitals in St. John’s County about the Zika virus. Less than an hour before this meeting he announced Florida’s latest non-travel related case of the virus.
Florida in particular has the chance to be a hotbed of Zika activity. Tropical weather combined with an influx of tourists from all over the world spells danger for Florida residents and tourists.
With children going back to school this month, and 429 cases of the Zika virus already confirmed, 17 from local mosquitoes, now is definitely the time to take action.
Taking this into account, it’s interesting to note that Scott once tried to eliminate the very same mosquito control boards he’s now relying on to control Zika. In 2012, he called the mosquito boards a tax burden. Now, they are:
“…really quality people, all over the state.”
So far, all 17 local cases of the Zika virus have been linked to Miami-Dade County. The purpose of Scott’s meeting in St. John’s County is to put preventative measures in place to keep the virus from moving further north.
Schools are a major concern and Scott addressed several measures to prevent the spread of Zika once school starts. Mosquito repellent will be distributed to schools across the state and added to the list of acceptable medications for students to carry. Education materials about preventing the spread of the virus will be given to teachers all across the state.
Zika’s impact on tourism is another huge concern for the state of Florida, as tourism is one of the greatest sources of revenue for the state. So far, local cases of the virus have only occurred in about a one-square-mile area in Miami-Dade County.
However, with other tourism hotspots like Orlando and St. Augustine relatively nearby, the danger is real for tourists and locals alike. As of the August 8 meeting, $26.2 million from the state budget is going towards the Department of Health to control the mosquito population.
Video from July 29, 2016.