Politico by Alexandra Glorioso
February 27, 2020
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis and top health officials on Thursday said Florida is preparing for the possible arrival of coronavirus, emphasizing that the state has no confirmed cases so far.
DeSantis, speaking to reporters, wouldn’t say whether anyone in Florida has been tested for the virus, citing a state law that protects the identity of people under epidemiological investigation.
“I actually wanted to give all the numbers,” DeSantis said. “But they actually pointed me to the regulation in the statute that says you can’t.”
DeSantis said he is taking his cues on the reading of the law from Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, Florida’s health secretary, who said the coronavirus hasn’t risen yet to a public health crisis.
“At the present time, we don’t have community spread in Florida, we don’t have coronavirus in Florida. So, the law dictates that we protect the confidentiality of individuals,” Rivkees said Thursday. “If those circumstances change, then we absolutely will make the public informed.”
The state’s patient-protection law has three exemptions for when the public’s health is at risk — when a disease is highly infectious, when there’s a potential for further outbreaks, or when the state has been unable to locate or identify people involved in the case.[Read More]