AFSCME Florida Calls for Declaration of a Public Health Emergency and Resumed Daily Reporting As COVID-19 Cases Surge

AFSCME Florida Council 79 President Vicki Hall released the following statement today on behalf of the 100,000 public service workers AFSCME represents across the Sunshine State. This includes thousands of medical professionals who continue to serve on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 in cities, counties, school systems and our state’s most critical medical institutions, including UF Health Jacksonville, UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville and Miami-Dade’s Jackson Health System.

“As the delta variant of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations raise sharply and threaten to overwhelm our ICUs, AFSCME health care professionals are reporting short staffing and unmanageable caseloads. With COVID returning to unmanageably high levels, hospital emergency departments are once again looking like war zones. It is on these front lines that dedicated AFSCME members continue to serve, but without the proper tools and resources they need from our state’s elected leadership.  

“We are asking for a declaration of a public health emergency to allow for additional state and federal resources to be accessed to address the current COVID-19 surge. We also call on the state’s leaders to resume daily briefings and daily reporting of new COVID-19 cases to supply our members and members of the general public the information that is needed to make informed decisions for themselves and their families.

“Now is the time for Governor DeSantis to put the very lives of our citizens first and take decisive action to safeguard the health of frontline health professionals and the public.”