Sufficient testing for coronavirus in Florida remains a challenge. In an effort to help with that, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that his state is helping to establish a coronavirus testing site in Pinellas Point on the south side of St. Petersburg, which is a COVID-19 hotspot.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman joined Cuomo on a call with reporters to announce the new testing site.
“It is in a neighborhood where we have a disproportionately impacted Zip Codes, a couple Zip Codes where we are seeing our highest levels of positive testing. And they’re in the neighborhoods of our largest minority population.
“And so for us to build the new testing there and be able to get the data related to that test, really will help us in trying to address and target what steps we need to take to try and reduce the positivity in those Zip Codes, too.
“So again, on behalf of the entire community in the 270,000 residents of this great city, I have to say thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Governor Cuomo praised Mayor Kriseman for his early efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“You were right early on. You were right on the stay-at-home order. You were right on the intelligence of wearing masks. Literally, if we have followed your advice and those calls, this nation would be in a different place.
“I would say, basically, the same thing in New York that you’ve been saying in St Petersburg. The ‘stay-at-home’ order works. The masks work. We should have taken this seriously sooner.
“I also agree with you on the young people. That’s where we’re seeing the increase in the numbers. We’re struggling with it here in New York with bars and restaurants.
“But, I applaud your leadership. I know it’s hard to speak, especially when you’re the first one uttering thoughts. And, these are not popular thoughts. You know, nobody wants to stay home. Nobody wants to have to wear a mask. But, it’s a test of leadership. And, it’s also a period in history where you really see what people are made of. You know, when the pressure is on that’s when the character comes to light.”
The new coronavirus test site is at Pinellas Community Church (5501 31st St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712) and will provide up to 500 tests a day.
Residents can schedule tests by appointment by calling (833) NYS-4-FLA.
According to a press release, New York State will also provide the following supplies:
- 124,000 Surgical Masks (50 cases)
- 7,500 VTM Test Kits
- 7,500 Gowns
- 11,500 Gloves
- 7,500 N95 Masks
- 7,500 Face Shields
- 1,250 Gallons of Hand Sanitizer
- 1,200 Sanitizing Wipes
- 120 Goggles
- 10 Closed Circuit Ventilators
- 10 iPads to assist with tele-health needs
Florida reported 216 new coronavirus deaths Wednesday. That breaks a record set just Tuesday.
The state Health Department’s report today shows Florida continues to be one of the epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak, although hospitalizations for the disease are down slightly. Still, officials say there are more than 9,400 new confirmed cases and more than 6,300 total deaths. The new numbers raised the average number of deaths reported daily to 142. That’s second only to Texas overall, and to Arizona in per-capita deaths.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is continuing his push to reopen schools. He said Wednesday that parents should decide for themselves whether to send their children back into the classroom next month.
Confirmed deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S. have hit 150,000. That’s by far the highest toll in the world.
Meanwhile, three Florida universities are among the top seven in the country with the most confirmed cases of coronavirus. The New York Times “surveyed every public four-year college in the country, as well as every private institution that competes in Division I sports or is a member of an elite group of research universities.” The University of Florida has 217 cases, the University of Central Florida has 438 and the University of South Florida in Tampa has 182.
information from the Associated Press was used in this report
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