With the reports of five additional locally transmitted Zika virus infections in the state of Florida, including the first case in Pinellas County, US Representative for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, David Jolly had some things to say about calling on Congress to return to Washington, D.C. to pass a long-term Zika funding package.
“Florida is at risk and Washington is tone deaf,” Jolly said Tuesday. “Today’s news of a locally transmitted case of Zika in Pinellas County is another alarm that should prompt leadership to call members back to DC to address this public health issue. As a representative of a frontline state dealing with the Zika outbreak, I fully understand the serious public health risk this virus presents. But we must address this issue now, responsibly and without playing politics. This is a public health issue, not a political issue,” Jolly noted.
In June, Jolly sent a letter to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan expressing the urgency of this issue for states like Florida. However, Congress failed to pass a Zika funding package before breaking for the district work period.
With Congress not scheduled to return to Washington, D.C. for two more weeks, Jolly supports an emergency session to address this health issue and quickly reach a bicameral, bipartisan consensus package that can be enacted into law immediately.
“The good news is nearly $100 million dollars per month is currently flowing to combat Zika as a result of reprogramming Ebola funds. But we must pass a comprehensive funding package that will give health officials what they need to protect Floridians and others from the spread of Zika before this threat becomes a crisis,” Jolly added.
The number of non-travel associated Zika virus cases in Florida now stands at 42.
In addition, the Florida Department of Health reported an additional 15 new travel related cases today, including five in Orange, four in Miami-Dade, three in Osceola, one in Collier, one in Pinellas and one involving a pregnant woman. This puts the travel-associated Zika case tally in Florida over the 500 mark.