HILLSBOROUGH, Co., Fla. (WFLA) — One state representative partnered with community organizations to equip people in the Tampa Bay community with PPE Saturday, as many still await their COVID-19 vaccine.
State Representative Dianne Hart, other community leaders and organizations in Hillsborough County made sure families had what they need to stay protected. They gave out 500 bags filled with personal protective equipment, face masks, hand sanitizer, face shields and disinfectant sprays at no cost.
Hart said lots of people are dropping the ball when it comes to following CDC guidelines and wearing a mask. She said what better way to get people to put them on than by giving them away.
“We must do our part as a community and I need my community to step up with all the deaths occurring,” Hart said. “This thing is real and we’ve got to act like we realize it’s real.
Anthony and Maria Knight know how real COVID-19 is. They have family members who either had or have the virus. They were in the drive-through line Saturday morning.
“It’s very concerning,” Knight said. “Our family members are in the hospital, they’re not doing so good but they’re making it. We just have to keep praying for one another.”
Nearly a year since Florida leaders announced the first cases of coronavirus in the state, numbers continue to rise.
The Florida Department of Health reported more than 16,000 new cases in the state Friday afternoon.
Hillsborough County has seen more 90,000 cases overall, and more than 1,100 deaths.
This past week, more than 14,000 people created an online account to register for a COVID- 19 vaccination appointment in Hillsborough County, however, the county only had 9,000 doses available.
Hart understands the struggle, which is why she plans to set up more of these drive throughs in the coming weeks.
“I need you all to get it as soon as it becomes available.”
Representative Hart pointed out that African American communities are dropping the ball, as well as young people.
“They’re taking it home to the seniors and we’re getting sick,” Hart said. “I’m begging young people to put the mask on.”
Hart said she’s gathering the names of churches that have the space and are able to act as a distribution site, so when the county gets more doses of the vaccine, those locations are ready to go.