In a letter Friday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Florida State Surgeon General and Health Secretary, Dr. John H. Armstrong shared his concerns and asked very specific questions from the heads of the two federal departments.

Dr. Armstrong began the letter discussing some “unconfirmed” reports about the federal government bringing dozens of unaccompanied minors from the border to Florida.  He then referenced an ABC News report concerning the lack of medical screening performed on these children.

Concerned for the health and well-being for the residents of Florida, Armstrong requested answers from the HHS and FEMA heads concerning this matter:

  1. Will you notify the Florida Department of Health immediately of any current or future unaccompanied minors coming to, or placed in, Florida, including their current location?
  2. Are you conducting health screenings both at the border and again at the time the children are placed in shelters?
  3. What medical services, if any, were provided to any children placed in Florida?
  4. Do you have any records of infectious diseases associated with the children currently in federal care in Florida?
  5. Have any of the children been hospitalized in Florida with fevers accompanying their illnesses? If so, where are they being treated?

A WUSF report yesterday via the AP noted:

The federal health department on Friday acknowledged a recent outbreak of pneumonia and the flu among youngsters at a temporary shelter at a Naval base in California’s Ventura County but said the general public was not at risk.

In a written statement, federal health department spokesman Kenneth J. Wolfe said the agency does provide medical exams to the children, as well as vaccines, and that if children do have communicable diseases, they are quarantined.

“This week, HHS took additional measures to ensure that children previously screened, vaccinated and medically cleared while in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody had not fallen ill while pending transport to Unaccompanied Alien Children program facilities,” Wolfe said.

Hillsborough County, Florida Image/David Benbennick
Hillsborough County, Florida
Image/David Benbennick