Governor says Florida continues to wait for federal funding in fight against Zika virus

Posted at 6:49 PM, Oct 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-21 18:49:31-04

The Florida Department of Health announced three more people in Miami-Dade County contracted the Zika virus in Florida.

Friday, Governor Rick Scott visited the state’s latest hot zone: the Little River neighborhood in Miami. He met with local leaders to discuss the state’s approach to keeping the mosquito-borne virus from spreading.

“I want to stop the spread of Zika,” the governor said bluntly, adding his focus is on protecting pregnant women and their children. Zika has been linked to birth defects.

This week NewsChannel 5 confirmed a donation made to One Blood in August tested positive for Zika.


The department of health said it counted that case like any other case, making no differentiation in its daily report.

Governor Scott explained it’s because experts treat the cases the same way.

“They do the same thing with that case that they would do with another case where they find it,” he said. “The health department will review it, and then they’ll focus on whether they should do more spraying around where that person is.”

With the added expectation of keeping tainted donations from entering the blood supply, we asked the governor about the two month time period before publicly sharing information about the infected blood donation.

“I believe we should be as transparent as we can, that is part of being sure we beat this,” Scott said.

The health department released a statement with additional information:

“Zika blood screening is serving its purpose to protect the state and national blood supply by identifying persons potentially infected with Zika virus. In Florida, people who are positive reactors on the blood screening tests are investigated similar to any other suspected Zika infections. Those who meet case criteria are then included in our daily case counts.”

In a video statement, One Blood said it’s taking every precaution to keep infected blood from entering the blood supply.

“The safety is inherent in the blood supply right now that it is at its peak. It's higher than it’s ever been and we want to maintain that safety."

Last month, Congress agreed to spend more than $1 billion to fight Zika. Scott said none of that money has made it to Florida yet. He hopes it will be used to develop a vaccine and a better test for the virus.

He said the state has spent $61 million on Zika so far.

Experts said the best way to prevent Zika from spreading is to prevent a mosquito from biting you. That means wearing long sleeves and applying bug spray. You should also empty standing water around your property. Mosquitos that transmit the virus breed in shallow water.