With Demand Skyrocketing, Hillsborough Getting Masks For Upcoming Elections
Hillsbough County apparently can't keep enough masks on hand to fill public demand.
Tim Dudley, head of Hillsborough County Emergency Management, told the Emergency Policy Group Monday that in just a few days, they have distributed 93,000 masks to ward off the coronavirus. They originally ordered 30,000 masks, but had to reorder after people scooped them up at the county's public libraries.
Now, Dudley told the group they're focusing on the upcoming elections.
"We're working with the supervisor of elections to submit requests to the state for surgical masks, wipes and hand sanitizers," he told group members. "The acquisition of these supplies will assure that personal protection is in place prior to elections."
Dudley also told the group that the county's testing site in Brandon is increasing the number of available appointments to 800 per week, up from 300.
Another testing site, at 12085 W. Hillsborough Ave. in Town 'n Country, is scheduled to open Friday. It will be open Friday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. until noon. Appointments must be made by calling (888) 513-6321 or by registering online.
Monday marked the fourth straight day the number of new positive coronavirus tests surpassed 10,000 in Florida.
More than 80% of Hillsborough County's intensive care unit beds are occupied by COVID-19 cases. But that has decreased by three percent over the past week. Douglas Holt of the Florida Department of Health gave an update Monday to members of the group.
"The hospitals remain very busy, but they have not approached what I would call critical stage that we have seen in other counties in the state," he said.
Holt said the county has seen an average of 437 hospitalizations in the past seven days. The total bed occupancy has gone down by two percent during the past several days.
Hillsborough County has launched a comprehensive COVID-19 coronavirus dashboard, easily accessible on the County's website at HCFLGov.net/Covid19Dashboard.