It is clear that numerous individuals and numerous companies are sympathetic to protecting public health, and likewise understand the risks they face attempting to carry out business as usual throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of compliance by some of our businesses and residents is now driving the rise of cases in Florida, and we must ask why this is happening.
The easy answer is that bad compliance with COVID-19 precautions in restaurants, retailers, bars, and other locations of transmission in our neighborhood takes place because businesses and patrons think they can get away with not following the guidelines and guidance from our authorities.
In addition to the wrong messages from some of our leaders, and disrespect by some for the rules, our agencies are partially to blame for non-compliance. Provided that there is little transparency with state agencies in Tallahassee, there appears to be a lack of coordination between the firms that technically have the capability to hold organisations accountable to follow the accepted assistance and rules.
Absence of political support for the Florida Department of Health, and poor leadership at the firm over lots of years, has silenced what need to be the most effective firm with the methods of managing COVID-19 in Florida’s neighborhoods. Those duties have been divided between the Florida Department of Service and Professional Guideline- FLDBPR, The Florida Department of Farming and Consumer Services-FLDACS, and the Agency for Health Care Administration-AHCA There is poor coordination in between these companies in relates to COVID-19 control, and no discernable main command, so to speak. Presently, Florida has a detached patchwork of guidelines and firms, with the impressive result that ACHA and DBPR are now tasked with safeguarding public health throughout a fatal pandemic!
The problem is, neither AHCA nor DBPR are public health firms. While they do have the capacity to take action versus a certified facility, the problem is with the agencies themselves. DBPR suffers from needing to maintain the political support of the Florida Restaurant and Accommodations Association lobby, for one thing. Another is that some field staff in these companies do not have science backgrounds, and even college degrees, and yet they make often complicated public health decisions, i.e., identifying and managing a break out, or who stays open and who gets closed.
I am not familiar with an official mechanism for DBPR, AHCA and DOH to collaborate to examine COVID-19 compliance problems. When a cluster of cases is suspected in a center, our agencies must be collaborating together to investigate the cluster, apply their respective competence and take the restorative actions as required to secure the public. The DOH has limited jurisdictional powers and can not even go into an assisted living home without being welcomed in by the licensing company, much less impose a guideline. That is a lot more unpleasant, thinking about the horrible loss of life in Florida’s assisted living home.
Another observation is that there is little visible proof of efficient public health promo at the DOH, even though the disciplines of Public Health Promo and Education can be effective functions when communication channels are effectively utilized. In order to alter unfavorable public opinion, messages need to reach the neighborhood explaining to them the “why’s” of social distancing, and face coverings.
Enforcement of COVID-19 rules is now a policing concern in a growing variety of Florida municipalities. Sending a policeman to deliver a citation, or levy a fine might discourage some violations, however this technique of dealing with COVID compliance is a scattershot method, and might not be sustainable.
The root-cause of the present dysfunction in enforcement is the politicizing of the existing companies entrusted with securing public health and safety. Bit by bit, DOH’s jurisdiction has actually been taken apart, piece by piece by Florida’s lawmakers.
Now that we have a crisis, where is the strong and reliable public health firm, the one company whose mission it is to secure public health? It sits on the sidelines. We barely hear anything from DOH outside of informing us about the gruesome statistics.
It seems paradoxical, but it is the public that must support public health. The public must comprehend that damaging health defenses for political functions has put them at threat.
Citizens need to send out a strong message: Public Health, Safety and Welfare are the Overriding Goals of ALL Regulatory Agencies! We require emergency legislation to amend the Florida statutes and administrative codes, and provide back to the Florida DOH its rightful jurisdictional power, permitting them to do the expert public health work they have the duty for.
While Florida’s guv has actually just recently come out in favor of enforcement, there must be other efforts. Alone, procedures such as closing down bars and pulling a few alcohol licenses do not deal with the long-lasting compliance and transmission issues we are definitely facing.
The hesitation of organisations to enforce the needed COVID 19 controls is now backfiring, and injured persons are submitting suits and seeking damages. The public’s disrespect for social distancing and face coverings is likewise backfiring, with the state of Florida now thought about an across the country COVID-19 transmission hot spot.
It is certainly in the best interest of everybody to adhere to best practices. Education, the application of science, and enforcement, when necessary, will get us out of this issue- but we require to get on with it.
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