Sen. Rick Scott: Americans Need Better Access to Coronavirus Tests; My Legislation Will Help

March 12, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott introduced the Coronavirus Mobile Collection Site Act to expand access to Coronavirus testing by directing HHS to reimburse states for the costs incurred to setup and run as many mobile testing sites as possible.

Senator Scott is calling on the federal government to immediately take the following measures to protect families and healthcare workers with the goal of separating the population of people who may have the virus:

  • Implement a hotline for Americans to call if they believe they are experiencing symptoms and find out if they need to be tested, and if so, where the closest testing site is located;
  • Mobile, drive-up testing sites with workers fully-equipped in appropriate protective gear to collect samples for testing;
    • While waiting for test results, the individual would self-quarantine.
      • If negative for Coronavirus, the individual may continue self-quarantining as a precaution;
      • If positive for Coronavirus, the individual would be under quarantine. If hospital attention is needed, the individual may call 9-1-1 and be escorted to the hospital by workers fully-equipped in appropriate protective gear for medical attention. 

See more in Senator Scott’s remarks as prepared for delivery below:

Today, I am announcing legislation to expand access to Coronavirus testing.

My legislation would direct the HHS to reimburse states for the costs incurred to setup and run as many mobile testing sites as possible.

Access to testing is the number 1 issue right now.

People who need and want to be tested are being turned away.

In the nation with the best and most developed health care system in the world, that is absolutely ridiculous.

We need to look at what has worked and failed in other countries to address the emerging threat posed by the Coronavirus.

Mobile testing is one of the successful ideas we are seeing. It has been used in South Korea and Australia. Some states like Colorado, Connecticut, and Washington are starting to use this method.

At these mobile testing sites, people can drive up and get tested at a window. Just like a fast food restaurant.

Not only can more people get tested, it keeps health care workers safer.

People need to have access to tests so they can make better decisions about isolating themselves.

And, we have to keep our health care workers healthy. We must reduce exposure of health care workers NOW. 

Testing for the virus is happening in the most haphazard way. 

And what happens if a large population of our health care workers get exposed?  Who will care for the ill? This is something we cannot waste another day not fixing.

If you look at reports, South Korea has been able to fight this virus by expanding testing.  It has been reported that 15,000 people a day are getting tested and 210,000 South Koreans have been tested since Jan. 3, compared to about 6,500 tests completed in the US as of this week. 

Reports show the fatality rate in South Korea is 0.7%, globally it is 3.4%.  We can learn from these successes and mirror this approach right here in the United States. We need to get ahead of this crisis.

This is why I am filing this legislation.  We need to start following the model in South Korea and get more people tested, safely, NOW.

In addition to enhancing the testing process, I have released steps that the US Government needs to take right now:

  • Temporarily shut down all U.S. borders to foreign tourism. If Americans choose to go on an international trip, they must submit to a health screening and a 14-day quarantine upon their return to the U.S.
  • Close all schools for 14 days in areas where we are seeing local transmission and community spread.
  • All hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and senior centers need to severely limit visits and all people, especially employees, must be screened when entering these facilities. This is to keep both patients and health care workers safe.
  • When there is a new case that is linked to travel, the CDC must release locations the individual visited before returning home, the airports they traveled through, relevant flight or train numbers and if there were any underlying conditions.
  • Government buildings need to be shut down to visitors and only open for officials and their staff. Government must function at all times, especially during a public health crisis. But this will not happen if government workers are not safe.
  • All hospitals need to prepare to halt elective procedures to ensure there are enough beds available for the sick.
  • Make sure researchers have the time and resources necessary to get a vaccine done quickly.
  • States must immediately start implementing containment zones.

During the Zika crisis, we released maps with zones of where Zika transmission was happening. The CDC needs to immediately release this so people can see if people in their neighborhood have it.

The discussion in Washington has turned to an economic stimulus package.

Let’s be very clear about this: the markets are not reacting to fundamental weaknesses in our economy. The markets are reacting to fear, uncertainty and the disruption of global supply chains.

The best economic stimulus package is to stop the spread of coronavirus.

We need to cancel recess so we can deal with this public health crisis.

The health and safety of American families is my focus here. As I saw dealing with hurricanes, a terrorist attack and the Zika outbreak as governor, a public health and safety crisis is not a partisan issue.

Americans expect all of us to come together to find solutions to protect every family in our country.

Here are some things you need to do.  And, while the news has done a great job repeating it, people are still not taking this seriously. 

We learned today that someone with SYMPTOMS got on a flight from New York to Palm Beach and they have been tested positive for Coronavirus.


  • Clean your hands often!
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean all surfaces.

The CDC Coronavirus Call Center is available 24/7 at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) for urgent issues related to coronavirus.

If you feel sick, take extra precautions and stay home.

We must always hope for the best but prepare for the worst. We are all in this together. We need to take care of each other.

We are going to get through this, but we all have to our own part.  And, if you know someone who may need help, call them. Check on them. Let’s watch out for each other.