COVID-19 surge reignites debate over masks in Hillsborough Co.


HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) – Hillsborough County Commissioners received an update about the increase in COVID-19 cases.

“It turns out this is much more contagious,” said Dr. Douglas Holt, Director of Health Department in Hillsborough County, talking about the Delta variant.

Health experts that spoke to the commissioners said they are seeing a dramatic increase in cases and hospitalizations.

“It’s dangerous when we let community spread stay high because it increases the likely hood we could see other variants emerge,” said USF Health Epidemiologist Dr. Jason Salemi.

County leaders asked what they can do to help mitigate the increase, Dr. Salemi encourages people to continue wearing masks.

However, protestors outside of the meeting argue that is not the answer.

“We don’t want businesses to shut down, we don’t want lockdowns, we don’t want the mask mandates to come back,” said Jason Kimbell, resident opposing any mask mandate.

County Commissioners did not take any additional measures today, however, the county is opening two temporary COVID testing locations this weekend to help meet the demand for testing.

The sites at Palm River Park Community Center at 725 South 58th Street in Tampa and at 1101 East 139th Avenue in Tampa will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A total of 500 tests will be available per day at each site and will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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