Politics Florida Democrats call on DeSantis to accept federal help to expand COVID-19 testing
GOP Texas governor asks for federal assistance to help with COVID-19 testing, treatment
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced on Friday that the state has requested federal assistance to help with COVID-19 testing and treatment amid a surge in cases.The Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) asked for federal resources to support testing centers, medical personnel and more monoclonal antibody treatments.Abbott, who has been a leading opponent of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, said in a statement that Texas is "urging the federal government to step up in this fight and provide the resources necessary to help protect Texans.
Ten Democratic members of Congress from Florida wrote to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday calling for him to utilize federal assistance to expand COVID-19 testing in the state.
"We urge you to, once again, vocally encourage vaccines and boosters, and stop propagating vaccine and booster messages filled with doubt and indifference," , noting that cases in Florida have risen by 948 percent in recent weeks.
The letter also encouraged DeSantis to advocate for widespread testing and to reverse bills that limit local officials and private businesses from policies like mask and vaccine mandates.
Finding it hard to get tested for COVID-19 and wondering who’s to blame? We’ve got answers
The fast-moving omicron variant has exposed the nation’s testing capacity as still insufficient, a situation exacerbated by post-holiday demandBut the fast-moving variant has exposed the nation’s testing capacity as still insufficient, a situation exacerbated by the holidays as companies test returning employees and schools and universities screen students and staff. Confronted with empty store shelves or lengthy lines at testing sites nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, frustrated consumers, doctors and public health workers wonder who's at fault.
"These policies are not based in science and do not protect the health and safety of Floridians," the letter added.
Democratic Florida Reps. Val Demings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Kathy Castor, Ted Deutch, Frederica Wilson, Lois Frankel, Charlie Crist, Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto signed the letter.
"As a federal elected official, Rep. Demings should be using her platform to urge the Biden Administration to speed up the delivery not only of tests, but of life-saving monoclonal antibody therapies, such as Evusheld and Sotrovimab," a spokesperson from DeSantis's office said in an email to The Hill when asked about the letter.
"Governor DeSantis has prioritized early treatment and therapies, which have saved thousands of lives in Florida, but unfortunately the federal government controls the entire supply," the spokesperson added.
Old Florida Keys bridge reopens to pedestrians, bicyclists
MARATHON, Fla. (AP) — A segment of a 110-year-old Florida Keys bridge is reopening to pedestrians and bicyclists on Wednesday following a $44 million restoration project. Rehabilitation construction on the oft-photographed 2.2-mile (3.5-km) span of the Old Seven Mile Bridge began in late 2017. “What made the project challenging was that it is a historic bridge, and we had to restore the bridge to the same aesthetic fabric as the original,” said project manager Tony Sabbag, a Florida Department of Transportation contractor. © Provided by Associated Press In this Monday, Jan.
"Florida governors of both parties have never hesitated to seek the appropriate federal assistance following natural disasters. Our governor should put his partisan battles aside and use all resources at our disposal to save lives and keep Floridians safe," Demings said in a statement.
Demings also referenced Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) recent decision to ask for with COVID-19 testing and treatments in his state.
Abbott, who has been a leading opponent of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, said at the time that Texas was "urging the federal government to step up in this fight and provide the resources necessary to help protect Texans."
Last week, DeSantis announced that Florida would to be sent first to long-term care facilities and nursing homes, then to "senior heavy communities."
The governor added at the time that Florida's position on testing is "if you are just young and healthy, you don't need to be running out and getting tested every day."
Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases in Florida have skyrocketed in recent weeks. For the most recent data from Dec. 31- Jan. 6, Florida's 397,114 new COVID-19 cases, an increase from 297,888 cases the week of Dec. 24 and 128,151 the week of Dec. 17.
Seventy-two percent of the state's population ages 5 and older are vaccinated, according to the health department.
Ron DeSantis Submits His Own Congressional Redistricting Map Unprompted by Legislature .
Ryan Newman said in a statement to Wink News that the governor's office had "legal concerns" with current proposals under consideration from the Legislature.Ryan Newman, DeSantis' general counsel, submitted the proposal, draft P 0079, Sunday night, according to Florida Politics. Days before, the Florida Senate Reappointment Committee pushed its congressional redistricting map forward.