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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