Sept. 10 County Commission COVID-19 Special Meeting Summary
Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 10, 2020) - Local medical offices are open, safe, and welcoming patients to return, the president of the Hillsborough County Medical Association told Hillsborough County Commissioners today during their weekly meeting to address emergency response related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Association president Dr. Michael Cromer, a longtime Carrollwood family medicine physician, offered his perspective on the impact of the pandemic on community physicians and their patients. Cromer noted that corporate-connected practices have been able to weather the loss of business as elective procedures were temporarily halted and patients generally avoided in-office visits. The impact, including the expense of purchasing additional personal protective equipment, has been much harder on smaller, private practices and self-employed physicians.
Thanks to a dramatic increase in telehealth use, most local practices are at "about 80 percent" of their pre-pandemic levels, Cromer estimated. In the meantime, hospitals, ancillary services, and physicians' offices have implemented additional protocols for cleaning and staff/visitor screening. Patients - especially those who have delayed routine procedures such as diagnostic screenings - can be assured these facilities are safe to visit in person, he added.
"They're open. They're ready for business. And they're doing everything they can to keep the community safe," Cromer said.
In other action during today's meeting, Commissioners:
- Heard the 14-day COVID-19 positivity rate, at 6.71 percent, remains flat at a level that still indicates sustained community transmission of the virus.
- Extended the 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 extended. 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 COVID-19 state of local emergency also incorporates an executive order mandating face coverings be worn in indoor locations of businesses, with certain exceptions.
The next meeting of the County Commission to address emergency management issues related to COVID-19 is scheduled Thursday, Sept. 17, at 1:30 p.m.
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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.