News

State to Join Hillsborough's Public Testing Partnership; More Appointments Will be Available

Hillsborough County, Fla. (June 25, 2020) - The state of Florida will assist with operations at the Raymond James Stadium COVID-19 coronavirus public testing site, allowing local emergency officials to significantly increase the number of available testing appointments, it was announced at the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group meeting today.

Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Tim Dudley told EPG members that the state will supply the medical personnel for the stadium testing operation starting Tuesday, June 30. Hillsborough County will continue to manage and supply resources for the site in partnership with the City of Tampa. The state's support will mean that the site can be open five days a week, offering 1,000 appointments each day.

Demand for testing at the County's seven public sites has increased dramatically in the past two weeks. An online testing reservation form, hcflgov.net/covidtesting, was launched this morning and was clicked on more than 6,000 times. A new testing request telephone number, (888) 513-6321, was implemented this week after unprecedented call volume outstripped the technical capacity of the original line. Eighty to 100 call-takers are answering the new line.

Although more appointments will be available, residents are reminded to follow the process: Make an appointment, and if a test result comes back positive, do not make a follow-up appointment for at least two weeks. Additionally, residents should wait for the results of a test before coming back for another test.

In other action, EPG members:

  • Heard that Gov. Ron DeSantis extended an executive order that allows local governments to conduct public meetings virtually.
  • Discussed the creation of an online dashboard to show the County COVID-19 statistics and trends upon which decisions are being made to respond to the pandemic.
  • Asked to discuss at their next meeting some adjustments to the order require the wearing of face coverings, with certain exceptions, inside businesses that are open to the public.
  • Extended a state of local emergency enacted in response to the pandemic. By Florida statute, a state of local emergency can be in effect for only seven days, unless rescinded. The 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.

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 Monday, June 29 at 1:30 p.m.

Other Hillsborough County News

Take One Step Today to Conserve Water. As the weather heats up, residents are using more water at home. Make every drop count by avoiding water waste. Here are five ways to start conserving water and saving money today:

  1. Turn your automatic irrigation controller to OFF. Year-round conservation measures limit lawn watering to a maximum of twice per week. Depending on weather conditions, your yard may need less water than you think.
  2. Check your irrigation system for water waste. Most irrigation systems run in the middle of the night when no one is watching. Perform a monthly visual inspection of your system in operation to look for leaks, broken sprinkler heads, and misdirected spray patterns.
  3. Stop money from going down the drain. Worn or poorly-fitting toilet flappers can silently waste up to 200 gallons a day. It only takes 15 minutes and a few drops of food coloring to check for leaky flappers.
  4. Go low to slow the flow. Low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and toilets save water without sacrificing performance. Look for the EPA WaterSense label when shopping for replacements. If your toilet was installed before 1995, you may qualify for a rebate to upgrade to a more efficient model.
  5. Seek the leak. Finding and fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills. Your water meter can be used as a simple initial leak detection tool.

Find more water conservation tips and information on customer resources and programs at HCFLGov.net/WaterConservation.

COVID-19 recovery assistance available for small businesses
. Hillsborough County is launching more than $100 million in financial assistance programs to help reopened local small businesses that were economically damaged by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Business owners across Hillsborough County (including Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Plant City) will be able to apply for one of three programs. Find out if your business qualifies at HCFLGov.net/R3Biz.

Get Connected. Stay Alert.
For more information on COVID-19, and any other potential emergency in the region, visit HCFLGov.net/StaySafe and sign up for the HCFL Alert system. Additionally, you can follow Hillsborough County on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor for updates. For general County information, call (813) 272-5900, the County's main information line.