TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As of Saturday evening, there is no stay-at-home order in Hillsborough County in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but that could change in the next 48 hours.
“We are anticipating that we will have a stay-at-home order either through the state or in this area,” Mayor Jane Castor said.
If there is no statewide stay-at-home order in the next two days, the mayor said the Hillsborough Emergency Policy Group will discuss one during a meeting Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.
“There has not been a call for an emergency stay home order. There has not been an emergency declaration. That can only be called by the country administrator that is given the authority by the emergency policy group,” Hillsborough County Commissioner Lesley Miller Jr. said Saturday.
Mayor Castor said the purpose of a potential stay-at-home order would be to promote additional social distancing to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We understand that it’s going to be an inconvenience,” said Castor. “But the quicker we take these steps the quicker we’ll be able to get through this.”
The mayor explained to 8 On Your Side that an order to stay home would not be a total shutdown.
“If there is a stay at home, gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, all of that will remain open so there’s no need for anyone to panic,” she said.
Plans are in the works to ramp up COVID-19 testing in Tampa Bay by turning Raymond James Stadium and the Florida State Fairgrounds into collection site.
“The only reason we don’t have a lot of positive cases is we don’t have the ability to test on a large scale,” Castor said.
The state’s emergency manager has promised collection kits are there way to start collecting mouth and nose swabs at the stadium and fairgrounds, Castor said.
The mayor said the drive-thru collection at Raymond James will be up and running by Monday, if not Sunday.
Of the more than 760 confirmed cases as of Saturday at 6 p.m., 135 are in Tampa Bay.
- Hillsborough County: 47
- Pinellas County: 29
- Polk County: 10
- Pasco County: 8
- Hernando County: 6
- Citrus County: 8
- Manatee County: 13
- Sarasota County: 14
8 On Your Side asked Mayor Castor about whether Tampa’s hospitals are prepared for a potential surge in patients.
“They have enough to get up and moving,” she said. “But everyone is very concerned about the lack of supplies, both in collection kits, testing and PPE (personal protective equipment).”
The mayor said if you see a Tampa business that is open and should not be, to give the city a call.
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