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July 23 EPG Summary: COVID-19 Trends for Youngest Residents Must be Closely Monitored

COVID-19 Coronavirus Update No. 189

Hillsborough County, Fla. (July 23, 2020) - Local emergency officials must continue to carefully watch trends regarding COVID-19 coronavirus cases in children and young adults, and prepare to adapt policies and actions in response, members of the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group heard today.

Pediatrics expert Dr. John Curran, University of South Florida Professor Emeritus and chairman of the County's Health Care Advisory Board, presented a detailed report to the EPG on local pandemic data by age breakdown. The 5-19 school-age group on average attributes to 10% of the positive cases that occurred in Hillsborough County within the last 30 days, he noted. The age group that appears to have the largest impact of COVID-19 cases appears to be in the 20-24 college-age range.

But while the majority of younger children are not impacted by the virus in the same way as adults - Dr. Curran said that data kept by the state indicates that 96% of hospitalizations are of people older than 25 - there is still much uncertainty over how the virus is transmitted between children and adults. Also, current positivity rates for school-age and college-age groups have occurred within the past 30 days, when nearly all schools and universities have not held classes. Therefore emergency leaders must continue to closely monitor the trends and respond accordingly, particularly as students return to school next month, Dr. Curran advised.

In other news from today's meeting, EPG members extended a state of local emergency enacted in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. A state of local emergency can be in effect for only seven days, unless rescinded.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, July 27 at 1:30 p.m.

Other Hillsborough County News

Questions about child care during the pandemic? Go online to County's Facebook page Friday. Hillsborough County is hosting a Facebook Live event with Dr. Patricia Emmanuel, Chair of Pediatrics for the University of South Florida's Morsani College of Medicine, on Friday, July 24, at 3 p.m. to discuss and answer questions about child care concerns amid COVID-19. The discussion will be held on the County's Facebook page at Facebook.com/HillsboroughFL.

Get Connected. Stay Alert.
For more information on COVID-19, and any other potential emergency in the county 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.