Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.NIAID

Pinellas County Commission Extends State of Local Emergency Through Dec. 25

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. – The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday extended its State of Local Emergency for COVID-19 through Dec. 25.

Pinellas County’s rolling 7-day average for new COVID-19 cases stood at 404 on Tuesday, which is one of the county’s highest marks since summer. The county had 537 new cases on Dec. 9, its second highest total since case tracking began. The 7-day average for positive tests has climbed to 7.3 percent.

Dr. Ulyee Choe, director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, reported that the county has seen an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations and that some hospital leaders are concerned about their ability to maintain adequate staffing if hospitalizations increase, which could impact their ability to care for both COVID and non-COVID patients.

Dr. Choe also updated the Board on Pinellas County’s selection as one of two Florida counties to participate in a COVID-19 vaccination pilot program. The Department of Health in Pinellas County will work with paramedics and the Florida National Guard beginning Wednesday to administer vaccinations to nursing home patients and staff who give their consent.

Later during Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioner Dave Eggers, who will become Chair in 2021, thanked current Chair Pat Gerard for her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic response. “We have a wonderful group of dedicated people.

It’s been a pleasure.” Chair Gerard said in reply.

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