- By New York State Governor's Office
New York State will establish a testing site in St. Petersburg, Florida. The site, at Pinellas Community Church, will provide up to 500 tests per day.
"In our time of need, I asked on one dark day when I was doing a briefing for volunteers to come help us. I asked for doctors and nurses to come to New York, and 30,000 people from across the country rolled up their sleeves to help," Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said Wednesday. "I know I speak for all New Yorkers when I say we will always be grateful for that help that came to us, and we are paying back the favor today by sending PPE to St. Petersburg, where we've worked together to establish a community testing site. We will continue to return the favor and lend help to whoever needs it."
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said, "Throughout this public health crisis I have admired Governor Andrew Cuomo's leadership and ability to clearly communicate to both New Yorkers and our nation. As Florida continues to confront the worst of COVID-19, I am grateful for the State of New York's technical assistance and guidance, along with donations of test kits and vital supplies, and am proud to partner with them to ensure residents in our hardest hit neighborhoods have access to additional testing. Pinellas County and the City of St. Petersburg are on the right track. We have led the way in Florida every step of the way, but widespread testing and the subsequent protocols remain key to getting on the other side of this health crisis. We are pleased to provide a no-cost testing site at Pinellas Community Church to serve both neighboring residents and those throughout the Sunshine City."
The church testing site was created with expertise and resources from SOMOS Community Care. New York State will also provide the following supplies:
- 124,000 Surgical Masks (50 cases)
- 7,500 VTM Test Kits
- 7,500 Gowns
- 11,500 Gloves
- 7,500 N95 Masks
- 7,500 Face Shields
- 1,250 Gallons of Hand Sanitizer
- 1,200 Sanitizing Wipes
- 120 Goggles
- 10 Closed Circuit Ventilators
- 10 iPads to assist with tele-health needs
Dr. Ramon Tallaj, Founder and Chairman of SOMOS Community Care, said, "We go where we are needed - SOMOS doctors were on the frontlines as the virus spiked early in New York City this past spring and hit the communities where we live and work first and hardest. So, our diverse community doctors, many whom are immigrants themselves, understand just how vulnerable low-income, immigrant, and minority communities are to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Tampa-St. Petersburg. As cases surge in Florida and across the Sun Belt, we're proud of our ongoing partnership with Governor Cuomo to increase testing in more communities by bringing New York's experience to the areas that need it most. We look forward to sharing expertise with local health experts and community leaders to help stop the spread of the virus."
The St. Petersburg testing site adds to New York State's commitment to helping other cities and states fight COVID-19 across the country. In addition to the items being donated to St. Petersburg today, New York has donated nearly 250,000 items of PPE and testing materials to other states as they combat the recent spike of COVID in their state. Last Monday, Cuomo announced that New York State has established two church testing sites in COVID-19 hotspots in Savannah, Georgia. Prior to that, the Governor announced that New York State has established two church testing sites in COVID-19 hotspots in Houston, Texas. On July 13, Cuomo announced New York State will send testing and contract tracing teams to Atlanta, Georgia. On July 10, Cuomo announced New York State would send the COVID-19 medication Remdesivir to Florida as the state struggles with a resurgence of cases.