PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (CW44 News At 10) – Pinellas County is facing supply shortages related to COVID-19, leading to a boiling point on Thursday’s Board of Commissioners call. “We have been talking about some of these things for months. For crying out loud, the rest of the world has figured this out,” said Janet Long, Pinellas County Commissioner.
Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long pleads for answers on long drawn out issues the state has been facing during the pandemic. During the board meeting Thursday morning, she cited previous conversations board members had about supply shortages in some healthcare facilities across the county.
“This is something that’s being asked for from almost every community in the state of Florida! We are in crisis in this state. And I’ve heard over and over in our Policy [Group Meeting] calls how many times our folks have been asking for this stuff and we still don’t have enough of it. I am over it,” said Long.
But Doctor Angus Jameson says this isn’t the only issue in Pinellas County hospitals.
“If I were to give you an honest assessment, I was in the hospital ‘til fairly late last evening in the E.R. and I can tell you that the E.R.’s are an interesting place right now,” said Dr. Angus Jameson, Medical Director at Pinellas County EMS.
He points to the strain on the healthcare system.
“Stressed at this point from a physical standpoint, but also frankly from a human standpoint. Your healthcare workers are exhausted. They’ve been at this for months,” said Dr. Jameson. “Imagine what it is to put on your full PPE and be out in the heat that we’ve had over the last week or so. It’s not easy.”
And, although the Board of Commissioners doesn’t have authority over school district decisions Dr. Ulyee Choe is researching rapid testing for students.
“In terms of what we’re planning to do and having early discussions is, with the limited supply of those rapid tests, how can we leverage it for the schools, so we have started engaging that conversation to see what we can have if we do identify a case within the schools for example,” said Dr. Ulyee Choe, Director of the Florida Dept of Health in Pinellas County.
But one thing that has gone over successfully, according to officials, is compliance with face covering mandates.
“Probably less than ten a day, as far as complaints about it. Most of the complaints we’re getting are because people are misunderstanding what the ordinance requires. So we do go out and we respond to these, but overall, there’s not a need for enforcement or citations around the county because by-and-large, people are doing the right thing,” said Bob Gualtieri, Pinellas County Sheriff.