July 20 EPG Summary: Emergency Officials Extend Face Coverings Order
COVID-19 Coronavirus Update No. 185

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(July 20, 2020) – With community transmission of COVID-19 coronavirus widespread in Hillsborough County, a majority of the members of the Emergency Policy Group today voted to extend their face
coverings executive order for at least another seven days.

The order 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 follow the mandate. The order allows several exceptions, such as for people who have health conditions, or whose jobs can’t be performed while wearing a face covering, 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.

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Data presented today to EPG members included the following observations:
The rolling 14-day average of cases is 670, an increase of 5.9%.
The positivity rate is approximately 15%, based on the daily test results.
The current trend in data reported by the Florida Department of Health shows a higher aggregate amount of hospitalizations for individuals above 50 years of age.
Just over 13% of Hillsborough’s population have been tested for COVID-19.

In other news, Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Tim Dudley thanked volunteers from the University of South Florida College of Nursing who have been staffing the public testing sites at County community resource centers in east Tampa, Plant City, and SouthShore. With the summer semester coming to an end, the volunteers will be departing the sites next week. The County will transition medical staffing at those three sites to a contracted provider, with the state funding the initial 14-day period.

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 23 at 1:30 p.m.

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Other Hillsborough County News
Thermometer giveaway has ended. The Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management has closed out an initiative to provide non-contact infrared forehead thermometers to operators of small businesses. The thermometers were available as long as the supply of 1,250 lasted. All of the devices were spoken for in approximately three days. Business operators can find other resources related to COVID-19 at HCFLGov.net/BizHelp.