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Florida Senators Seek to Form COVID-19 Testing Task Force

Three Florida lawmakers are asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to form a statewide task force in order to support COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, as well as supported isolation.

“After a week of more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day, it’s abundantly clear Florida needs a centralized planning and implementation structure to suppress further outbreaks,” says Democratic Sen. Lori Berman, of Boynton Beach.

Berman, along with Sen. Janet Cruz and Victor Torres, sent the letter requesting a task force earlier this week.

“We created a task force to re-open our state – let’s create one to keep it open,” Berman explains.

The Governor’s office has not yet responded to the request.

According to the letter, members of the task force would potentially include the State Surgeon General, Emergency Management Director, County Health Department officials, business leaders with manufacturing capacity, and other political appointees.

Health experts in the state say the key to identifying and containing coronavirus outbreaks is to expand testing and contact tracing.

Florida’s number of contact tracers is currently below national guidelines.

Sen. Berman applauded the efforts to test in Palm Beach County, but says there needs to be a more cohesive, coordinated, statewide response to the virus going forward.

“Not every county has the robust testing we have,” she adds, “and it should be all coordinated. It shouldn’t be as much of a patch work as it is right now.”