HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY (CW44 News At 10) - Hillsborough County's Emergency Policy Group met on Thursday for the first time since approving a controversial mandate to wear a mask. The racially-charged reaction to the mandate became the hot topic of meeting.
Chairman Les Miller, former member of both the Florida Senate and Florida House of representatives and current Hillsborough County Commissioner opened the meeting referencing threatening emails containing racial slurs. This is not the first time since COVID-19 that Chairman Miller was the subject of racist and threatening emails.
"Regardless of what they've called me and what they say, I'm gonna work on [their] behalf to even protect them." Related Mr. Miller, visibly moved by emotion.
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After receiving support from fellow members of the EPG, the meeting continued as planned to discuss the spike in positive COVID-19 cases in Hillsborough County and the implications. Hillsborough County surpassed 7,000 cases, more than 400 of them confirmed in the previous 24 hours. One such unintended issue came from the county's Communications Director who explained unprecedented call volume for COVID-19 testing and technical capacity issues have taxed the communications systems, resulting in a switch to an 888 service line managed by an external resource along with an online scheduling resource.
Hillsborough County residents can now make appointments online for free COVID-19 coronavirus testing.
Online appointments can be made at hcflgov.net/covidtesting. Residents can pick a day and time convenient to them at one of seven locations throughout the county. The online reservation system will allow residents to avoid waiting on the phone for a call center agent and should reduce the time on hold for those making reservations by phone.
A phone option is still available. To make reservations by phone, call (888) 513-6321.
Though the tests are free, appointments are required. No doctor's referral is needed, and insurance is not required. The appointment availability window
will typically be about two weeks.
Testing sites include the following:
Lee Davis Community Resource Center, 3402 N. 22nd St., Tampa
Plant City Community Resource Center, 307 N. Michigan Ave., Plant City
SouthShore Community Resource Center, 201 14th Ave. SE, Ruskin
Suncoast Community Health Centers, 313 S. Lakewood Drive, Brandon
Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa
Redeemer Lutheran Church, 701 Valley Forge Blvd., Sun City Center
Wimauma Opportunity Center, 5128 SR 674
Residents are reminded to follow the process to undergo a test: 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.
For further information including where you can obtain a face covering, please visit Hillsborough County's website.
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