State has spent $1.9M of $26M promised for Zika emergency
Back in June, when it appeared unlikely the federal government would spend much in Florida to fight Zika, Gov. Rick Scott announced $26.2 million in emergency spending.
With mosquitoes in Miami's Wynwood district spreading the virus locally, the state has spent just $1.9 million on the effort, most of it outside Miami-Dade County, according to Department of Health documents obtained by the Times/Herald.
As of this week, Miami-Dade received $316,800 of the emergency money. The county is slated to recieve another $739,200 in monthly installments between now and December, DOH spokeswoman Sarah Revell said. She said state Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip has met with county officials to discuss their funding needs.
In all, 26 counties and the city of Gainesville have received money to fight Zika. Here's where the public dollars are going:
Palm Beach: $175,211
Other counties have been given less than $100,000, including Monroe and Pasco, which both received $26,581.
DOH is releasing money to counties on a monthly basis, Revell said.
The money is primarily intended to be used for mosquito control and to purchase "Zika prevention kits" from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC website, the kits include a bed net, insect repellant, standing water treatment tabs and condoms.
Though Zika funds have gone throughout the state, the epicenter of the virus's spread has been in South Florida. Fifteen confirmed cases have been spread by mosquitoes, mostly in Wynwood, just north of Miami's downtown.
"The majority of the funding dispersed to date has been based on preparedness requests," Revel said in an emai. "Once a county is in response mode (meaning active transmission is occurring in their area), the department understands their needs will increase and we are prepared to support counties by providing additional resources and funding."
Emergency money is being divvied up to counties by level of priority using a formula taking into account the geographic risk of the mosquitoes that can carry Zika being in the county, total number of confirmed or suspected Zika cases, population and the county's history with mosquito-borne diseases, Revell explained. DOH and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services created the priority list together.
The counties of highest priority on that list are Miami, Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, St. Luci, Orange, Osceola, Collier, Lee, Pinellas and Seminole.
Scott has repeatedly called out the federal government for inaction on Zika. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have pledged $7.7 million to curb the virus in Florida.