U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor on Wednesday renewed her demand that Gov. Ron DeSantis release his administration’s COVID-19 testing and tracing plan for 2020, filing a broad public records request with the state.
Castor, a Tampa Democrat, asked the governor's office for “any and all documents” relating to the report. The federal Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which became law in April, required states to submit reports to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by May 25, according to Castor’s letter.
"The testing plan that was required by federal statute includes the state’s testing goals for the remainder of 2020, the number of tests needed, month-by-month estimates of laboratory and testing capacity --- including workforce, equipment, supplies and available tests --- and a description of how the state will use its resources for testing,” Castor wrote in the public records request submitted Wednesday. “This is important information that Floridians, local officials and public health experts need to make informed decisions and save lives."
In a press release, Castor said Wednesday that she asked the Republican governor to release the information three weeks ago, but has received no response. The News Service of Florida also has requested the state report but state officials have not provided the information.
The plan is “more important than ever” as the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida soar, Castor said.
The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday reported 5,508 new COVID-19 cases. Nearly 16 percent of all tests were positive, a jump from Tuesday’s rate of less than 11 percent.
Castor’s public records request comes as the DeSantis’ administration is under increased scrutiny for the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases and for reporting on the number of hospital beds and intensive-care unit beds available in the state.