Brandon COVID-19 Testing Site Increasing Number of Available Appointments COVID-19 coronavirus Update No. 177

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Hillsborough County, Fla. (July 13, 2020) – Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Tim Dudley reported to the Emergency Policy Group today that 10,448 people were tested for COVID-19 coronavirus through Hillsborough’s public testing initiative during the week of July 6.

Starting this week, he announced, the Brandon testing site is increasing the number of available appointments at that site to 800 per week, up from 300. Also, Emergency Management staff is working to order large quantities of face coverings, disinfecting wipes, and hand sanitizer from the state of Florida so that the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections can ensure the safety of precinct workers and voters in upcoming elections.

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Hillsborough COVID-19 data presented during the meeting brought mixed news. For instance, while the number of confirmed cases in the 15 to 24 and 25 to 34 age groups indicated a slight downward trend in the positivity rate since July 5, there was an upward trend in all other age brackets. Overall, the seven-day average positivity rate remains at about 20% per day. COVID-19 hospital admittances are trending upward, with a seven-day moving average of nearly 70 admittances a day. Concerned about the numbers they say are still far too high, EPG members agreed to continue meeting twice weekly for the foreseeable future.

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In other news from the meeting, a majority of the EPG members voted to extend, for at least another seven days, an executive order that requires the wearing of face coverings inside businesses that are open to the public and where employees and customers aren’t able to maintain social distancing.

“Business” means any business entity that provides goods or services directly to the public. Non-profit organizations that supply goods and services in inside areas accessible by the public must also require employees and customers to wear face coverings. The order allows several exceptions, such as for people who have health conditions, or whose jobs can’t be performed while wearing a mask, or during exercise, among others.

Under the conditions by which they originally approved the order, EPG members revisit the decision weekly. Residents and business operators can read the order and a list of frequently-asked questions by going to HCFLGov.net.

The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group is comprised of three County Commissioners, the mayors from the cities of Plant City, Tampa, and Temple Terrace, the Sheriff, and Chairman of the School Board. Authority is granted by Article 8 of the Florida Constitution, Section 125.66 and Chapter 252, Florida Statutes. Hillsborough County enacted Hillsborough County Code of Ordinances and Laws Chapter 22, Article II, Sections 22-23 in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the County’s residents during  declared emergencies.

The next EPG meeting is scheduled Thursday, July 16 at 1:30 p.m.

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