Hillsborough County’s coronavirus update

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Here’s the COVID-19 update for 16 November 2020 as provided by the  Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center:

Nov. 16 County Commission COVID-19 Summary:

Resolution Advocates for Routine Staff Testing at Senior Care Facilities, Other Congregate Homes

COVID-19 coronavirus Update No. 239

Hillsborough County, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2020) – Hillsborough County Commissioners today unanimously approved a resolution which recommends routine COVID-19 coronavirus testing of staff at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, group homes, and homes for persons with disabilities.

Changes in state and federal guidelines have created some gaps in staff testing in these congregate, close-contact settings, where both workers and residents are vulnerable for contracting and spreading COVID-19. In Hillsborough County, there are nearly 300 nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and approximately 160 group homes. In addition to recommending that these facilities routinely test employees, the resolution recommends that the State of Florida consider instituting statewide rules for such testing.

The action came as the number of local COVID-19 cases has been steadily increasing over the past few weeks. This trend is happening across the country, said Dr. Douglas Holt, director of the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County.

Hillsborough County COVID-19 statistics include:
The rolling 7-day average of cases was 302 on Nov. 14, compared to 253 on Nov. 2.
The rolling 14-day daily positive rate was 8.28% on Nov. 8, compared to 6.08% on Oct. 18.
The highest number of cases continues to be in the 20-29 age group, followed by the 30-39 and 40-49 age groups.

With the holidays coming up, Dr. Holt reminded residents of the importance of continuing to take COVID-19 precautions. Wear face coverings when around others in public. Practice social distancing. Wash hands, use hand sanitizer, and don’t touch your face. Limit gatherings to no more than 10 people. He also recommended that college students be tested for COVID-19 before returning home to spend time with family and friends.

In other action today, Commissioners:
Approved an agreement with Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg, Inc.
to acquire and renovate a 20-unit motel in Ruskin for housing for residents who have been displaced because of COVID-19. The units will be set aside for households at or below 80% of area median income. The agreement is being funded by $1.25 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund program.
Extended the state of local emergency enacted in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The extension is in effect at least through Nov. 26. A state of local emergency can be in effect for only seven days, unless extended. The emergency declaration gives the County Administrator and emergency managers the ability to quickly take certain actions to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community, and provides a path for federal reimbursement of certain expenses.

Commissioners will discuss the state of local emergency and other COVID-19 issues at their next regular meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

Face Coverings Mandate Remains in Effect The mandate that face coverings must be worn in indoor locations of businesses, with certain exceptions, remains in effect. For more information, go to HCFLGov.net/facecoverings.

University of South Florida COVID-19 Testing Site Now Closed The COVID-19 coronavirus public testing site on USF’s main campus in north Tampa has been closed as the university prepares to transition to additional virtual operations for the holidays. Public COVID-19 testing locations remain open in Brandon, at the Lee Davis Community Resource Center in east Tampa, and at Raymond James Stadium. For more information, as well as other testing options, go to HCFLGov.net/COVIDtesting, or call (888) 513-6321.