Hillsborough Shuts Down Last County-Run COVID Vaccination, Testing Sites
As coronavirus cases decline, Hillsborough County officials say the need and demand for the services has dropped.
With COVID-19 cases dropping and the demand for vaccines slowing, Hillsborough County shuttered its last vaccination site on Friday and will close its last testing site Wednesday.
The county also shut down its 24-hour COVID-19 testing and information hotline on Monday.
The county’s emergency operations center and the Department of Health in Hillsborough County based the decisions on the significant drop in positive cases and that fewer people were requesting the COVID-19 vaccination.
Residents who need to get tested should visit private physicians and those needing vaccines can go to one of many pharmacies that offer them, said Iñaki Rezola, deputy director of emergency management for Hillsborough.
“If you’re feeling sick, call your local provider, your doctor, find out if that's something that they're offering at their office, or your local pharmacy or supermarket may offer one or both of those services” Rezola said.
Hillsborough County and the health department opened 13 testing locations in the months following the discovery of the first COVID-19 case in the area in early 2020. The health department administered over 300,000 tests and distributed over 1 million pieces of personal protection equipment.
Though the county is no longer offering those services, Rezola said it is still taking the necessary steps to make sure residents are safe.
“COVID-19 hasn't gone away, we're taking it seriously, or monitoring its current status,” he said. “If there's any additional steps we need to take, we'll take them at that time. Let's say the demand is there, providers in the community will certainly come in and say, 'OK, maybe we need to provide support.' ”
The county has been slowly shutting down testing and vaccination sites over the past couple of months but hasn’t heard concerns from residents, Rezola said.
“We've done a really good job of getting the information out to the public,” Rezola said. “If there is some sort of a concern from the citizens, we would be hearing about it, they'd be contacting their local officials and they would be sharing that information with us.”
Copyright 2021 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7