Florida governor holds Zika round table in wake of possible storms

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A governor’s round table discussion was held to discuss how heavy rainfall will impact efforts against Zika in South Florida.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and a number of local mayors and officials met at the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Friday morning. “When you get rain, you gotta get rid of standing water,” said Scott. “If we didn’t have rain, we’d be better, sure. We’re in rainy season. We’re in hurricane season.”

Scott went on to ask residents to eliminate their standing water after storms.

Members of the tourism industry joined the meeting, as well, to voice their concerns about Zika’s effect on hotels.

According to tourism officials, occupancy rates have seen a decrease since the virus has spread to parts of South Florida. Some have been forced to create indoor activities for pregnant women, officials said, to ease their fears when visiting Miami.

Scott spoke about his upcoming trip to Washington D.C., where, he said, he will meet with lawmakers and urge them to pass a Zika bill.

The FDA also announced their next step in Zika prevention is asking blood donor locations to test for the virus. Miami-Dade County blood centers have already begun testing.

So far, a total of 42 locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus have been discovered, according to the CDC.

On Aug. 19, Scott announced a second Zika zone in Miami Beach. It’s a 1.5 square mile area. The first U.S. hot zone for locally transmitted cases of Zika was identified in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami in late July.

The mosquito-borne illness is especially dangerous for pregnant women and has been linked to serious birth defects. The CDC has issued a travel advisory for pregnant women to avoid the Zika hot Zones in Miami-Dade County.

In order to boost business in Wynwood, the City of Miami began offering free two hour parking in the area. The free parking will remain in effect until Aug. 31.

If a mosquito carrying Zika does bite, it can take up to two weeks to cause symptoms like:

  • fever
  • headache
  • skin rash
  • joint pain
  • conjunctivitis, which causes red, irritated eyes

The State Surgeon General has activated a 24-hour Zika hotline in Florida to answer questions and concerns. That number is 855-622-6735.

Pregnant women can receive a free test at the Health District Center, located at 1350 NW 14th St. in Miami. For more information, call (305)-324-2400.

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