New York to Send PPE, Test Kits to St. Pete, Open New COVID Test Site

July 29, 2020

By: Tiffany Razzano

ST. PETERSBURGH, Fla.- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced a new partnership to fight the surge of COVID-19 cases in the city at a press conference this afternoon. 

Florida is currently a hotspot for the virus. The Empire State will establish a coronavirus testing site in South St. Petersburg at Pinellas Community Church, 5501 31st St. S.

Photo Courtesy Of Governor Cuomo

The site will offer up to 500 tests daily. Pinellas County residents can schedule an appointment by calling 833-NYS-4-FLA.

In addition to sending 7,500 test kits, New York will also provide St. Petersburg with thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment, including 7,500 gowns, 11,000 pairs of gloves, 7,500 N95 masks, 124,000 surgical masks, 7,500 face shields and 1,250 gallons of hand sanitizer.

Though the spread of COVID-19 has slowed in New York, the state was a hotspot for months. Cuomo recognized the help New Yorkers received in working to contain the virus. This was “America at its best,” he said, and now he wants to assist in other areas.

“I asked Americans to volunteer to come help us,” he said. “We were overwhelmed in the hospitals, and I asked for doctors and nurses who could come help New York. And 30,000 people volunteered, 30,000 doctors and nurses. And I’ll tell you, it was one of the really powerful experiences of my life, actually.”

Photo Courtesy Of Governor Cuomo

He added, “I was so shocked at just the generosity, the courage, the love that people showed. I said at that time, I can’t express the gratitude, I said and, we will be there for you.”

Kriseman thanked Cuomo for the help as well as his “follow through.” This partnership is important at a time when “we’re not getting good, clear concise, factually based communications from Washington, a lot of state capitols it’s not coming from, but we’ve gotten it from you,” he added. “Your residents have, really the entire country, I think has really benefitted from how clear and concise and just accurate you’ve been in everything that you said.”

Throughout the pandemic, he’s strived for St. Petersburg to serve as a leader in Florida, he said. “We were…among one of the first to take actions related to a safer-at-home initiative, mask mandates, and I think it’s really helped get our numbers on track to really start reducing the positivity rate.”

As one of Florida’s most densely populated counties, Pinellas County has had one of the state’s lowest positivity rates – 6.8% – for the past week, Kriseman added.

The new testing site at Pinellas Community Church “is in a neighborhood where we have disproportionately impacted zip codes, a couple of zip codes where we are seeing our highest levels of positive testing, and they are the neighborhoods of our largest minority population,” Kriseman said. “So for us to be able to do testing there and be able to get the data related to that test really will help us in trying to address and target what steps we need to take to try and reduce the positivity in those zip codes too.”

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