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Gov. Scott, Miami-Dade Officials Spar Over Timing Of Zika Information Release

Florida Gov. Rick Scott takes reporters' questions after a roundtable discussion with elected officials, public health officials and business leaders in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood.
Katie Lepri
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has two goals when it comes to releasing information on locally transmitted cases of Zika. Make the information "accurate" and make it "timely."


Scott's reiterated this message, using these exact words, numerous times at press conferences over the past week.


But on Monday, Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County officials confronted the governor, saying he failed to meet the goal of timeliness. They're irked Scott waited until a press conference on Friday afternoon to let them know the Department of Health had confirmed five locally transmitted cases of Zika in Miami Beach.



Philip Levine, mayor of Miami Beach, criticized Scott at a morning press conference at a Miami Beach restaurant. 

"To play politics with people's lives is wrong," he said. "There's no place for that."


"I think it would be more useful in the future to let the elected officials, let the administrations know what's going on so we can take the necessary steps immediately," he added.


On Monday afternoon, Gov. Scott hosted a roundtable on Zika preparedness at the De Hostos Senior Center in Wynwood. He addressed an audience that included Levine and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez, both of whom reiterated their complaint about ineffective communication.


"Everything's not rosy, Governor," Giménez told Scott, according to the Miami Herald. "There are times when communication has broken down a little bit and we want to make sure that doesn't happen."


Levine alluded to the fact that although Scott has made two trips to Miami-Dade County since the confirmation of locally transmitted Zika in Miami Beach on Friday, the governor has not visited Miami Beach. Levine said he personally invites the governor to come visit the area.


At a press conference after the roundtable, Scott did little to reassure critics.


"I said today to the mayors, 'Is there anything, any requests that have not been fulfilled?' And I did not hear of any requests that have not been fulfilled," he said. "My job, the surgeon general's job is to keep everyone informed with accurate, timely information. And that's what we're going to continue to do."


Scott also said Levine did not return his telephone calls following the announcement of the five locally transmitted Miami Beach cases, and that Levine had not participated in mosquito abatement discussions other than Monday's.


So far, 37 locally transmitted cases of Zika have been confirmed in Miami-Dade County. There was widespread agreement at Monday's roundtable that the virus will likely linger in the area for months.

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