Florida sends TB patients to $35-a-night motel

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(GARY CORONADO/Palm Beach Post)

As you may recall, Florida was accused of covering up of the worst TB outbreak in 20 years. Of course, poor black men were most affected, most likely uninsured poor black men.

Here's a refresher course from my earlier post:

According to the Post, the coverup began as early as last February, “when Duval County Health Department officials felt so overwhelmed by the sudden spike in tuberculosis that they asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to become involved. Believing the outbreak affected only their underclass, the health officials made a conscious decision not to not tell the public, repeating a decision they had made in 2008, when the same strain had appeared in an assisted living home for people with schizophrenia.”

That decision now appears to have gone terribly awry, partly because the disease appears to have already spread into the general population but also because just nine days before the CDC warning was issued, Florida Governor Rick Scott had signed a bill downsizing the state’s Department of Health and closing the A.G. Holley State Hospital that had treated the most difficult tuberculosis cases for over 60 years.

The Palm Beach Post:

However, the itinerant homeless, drug-addicted, mentally ill people at the core of the Jacksonville TB cluster are almost impossible to keep on their medications.

The entire state of Florida is in danger from this highly infectious disease, but Gov. Rick Scott was probably too busy suppressing votes with his voter purge-apalooza, covering up this new scandal, and refusing to implement health care laws to concern himself.

Now, today, again from the Post, we have this:

[F]or at least two years, TB patients were routed by Duval County health officials to the Monterey Motel and told to stay put. [...] until they no longer were contagious, state Department of Health spokeswoman Jessica Hammonds said.

The man-and-woman team responsible for cleaning rooms, who spoke only limited English, appeared confused when asked whether they had taken precautions. In fact, Kevin Davis, a former manager with the Duval County Health Department’s TB unit, questioned whether hotel managers had been briefed fully about TB transmission or precautions for staff.

You'd think they would have been informed as to what was going on, wouldn't you? Outrageous enough for you? Angry yet? Worried? Concerned? Stunned?

And why are we not seeing this reported all over the biased corporate news outlets instead of the Obama-bashing that was aired all morning?

Meantime, people in Florida are dying as the homeless are being tested:

On a recent weekday, a line snaked around the Clara White Mission starting before dawn, as homeless men and women lined up to have blood drawn by health department workers. “I know people who died,” said Lawrence Webb, who rode up on his bicycle to get tested. “They would sit under the expressway with their bag lunch, just coughing. That TB is out there.”

There are about 4,000 homeless people in Jacksonville. One unemployed construction worker summed it up perfectly: “They should have stopped this months ago. It’s inexcusable we didn’t know about it.”

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  • rickcain2320

    The TB resurgence is closely linked to the huge rise in the AIDS population among African Americans.  The black community still hasn't owned up to its responsibility to curb its behaviors that help spread the virus.
    The gays cleaned up their act in the 1980s, the medical community cleaned up the blood supply and has implemented extensive testing of blood products.

    The black community has seen fit to ignore the AIDS epidemic and hide behind conservative christianity, while ignoring the closeted gay and bisexual black men, and ignore the high incidence of multiple sex partners and low condom use.
    Of all new AIDS infections 68% are in the black community.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Esha-Smitts/100000628502865 Esha Smitts

    This is so disgusting. He is suppose to protect and govern these people and all he cares about is money and votes, he blatantly disregarded everyone's safety but he STILL has his job ... the story of american politics.

  • kimbutgar

    They will not say anything in the corporate press because if people knew about this outbreak they would not vacation in Florida destroying Florida's tourism industry. Money more important than the people.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DW7LHDQQLRH5RQG2AGEXP35QGM Mr. B

    The entire state of Florida is in danger from this highly infectious
    disease, but Gov. Rick Scott was probably too busy suppressing votes
    with his voter purge-apalooza, covering up this new scandal, and refusing to implement health care laws to concern himself.

    Sounds like grounds for Scott's impeachment to me.

    No, scratch that -- sounds like grounds for criminal charges  . . .