MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Hepatitis A outbreak in the state continues to grow and so do the concerns.
While the state’s health department still hasn’t pinpointed a source, state lawmakers are now stepping in to take new measures to stop the spread.
Rep. Toby Overdorf, Sen. Gayle Harrell, and Rep. MaryLynn Magar held a news conference Wednesday about the virus outbreak and their path to safety following a meeting with Lt. Governor Jeannette Nuñez and Surgeon General Scott Rivkees.
“There is no need for anybody else to pass away from this,” said Cindy Collins.
Her husband, Lee Collins, is one of the four people from Palm City who’ve died from the contagious disease since March.
Collins feels the virus and its dangers are finally getting the attention they deserve.
“I’m hoping they can pinpoint it [a source] a little better,” Collins said.
Overdorf said starting now, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office will assign a detective to help health officials investigate a possible source.
They discussed how the virus spreading statewide is the same strain seen in Martin County.
“Lives will be saved and I’m just so grateful, and I speak for my legislative partners, to our governor and for his leadership,” Overdorf said.
The surgeon general is also bringing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in to help Martin County with diagnosis, prevention, and a treatment plan, said Rep. Magar, who represents most of Martin County and some parts of northern Palm Beach County.
For Collins, she hopes all of this will help to reduce the number of cases and, more importantly, find out why Martin County has so many deaths from the virus.
“I’m always hopeful and I will remain hopeful until something is found,” she said. “I hope everybody else does too.”
Sen. Gayle Harrell stressed the importance of education, getting a vaccine and hand washing.
So far, 140,000 people have received the Hepatitis A vaccine statewide.