Hillsborough County makes pandemic plans for hurricane shelters


HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Larry Loomis lives in a manufactured home community in Tampa and is keeping a close eye on the tropics this year.

“This hurricane season, I’m concerned about my house blowing away,” said Loomis.

This year, as he does every year Loomis is preparing for hurricane season, however this year some of his storm preps have been different.

“We have all of our masks. We’ve been buying masks, we know about social distancing,” said Loomis.

If a hurricane does hit, Loomis plans to stay with family. Gary Shibley also lives in a manufactured home and if a hurricane hits, he doesn’t plan on going to an emergency evacuation shelter.

“Because of the COVID exposure, there is more and more deaths still going on in the state of Florida, especially with a high level of COVID still happening. I think it’s better to stay out of the shelter,” said Shibley.

Hillsborough County has been making plans for months about what to do if a hurricane hits during the pandemic.

Iñaki Rezola with Hillsborough County says more shelters will be opened this year to give people more space, but those who come to emergency shelters this year will also have to go through health screening.

“They may be directed to the general area of the shelter or they may be directed to an isolation portion of the shelter or if conditions warrant they may be directed or transported to a hospital for a higher level of care,” said Rezola.

Each shelter will also have space set up to process people who have symptoms of the virus.

“We are setting aside a portion of every single shelter to have an isolation area for those individuals that may be showing symptoms of the virus or maybe running a high temp that day,” said Rezola.


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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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