NATIONAL, CONFERENCE, AND DISTRICT NEWS
The Latest from the Florida Conference
As we enter this Memorial Day weekend, we continue to pray for those impacted by COVID-19 and for the regular sacrifices being made by those who are on the front lines. We previously released guidelines and continue to ask for no in-person worship through June 15th. We will give another update next week regarding the period after June 15th.
Some of you have asked helpful questions. The task force, in consultation with the Cabinet, has created a Frequently Asked Questions document. This addresses the current time and helps you prepare for the next phase.
Guidance from Hillsborough Parks and Recreation
As Hillsborough County continues to gradually turn the dial toward reopening parks and preserves, the health and well-being of residents and visitors remains the County’s top priority. At this time, the County is reopening all of its community parks, green spaces and trails, dog parks, outdoor tennis courts, pickleball and volleyball courts, and outdoor restrooms at staffed sites beginning Monday, May 18.
Though all Parks & Recreation sites will be open, the recreation center buildings and athletic fields will remain closed, as well as other portions of the parks including playgrounds, picnic areas, splash pads, and skate parks. An up-to-date list of all park openings can be found here.
Residents will be required to follow social distancing guidelines. Large group activities, such as team sports practices, are prohibited at the sites. We urge residents to be mindful and socially responsible to ensure everyone's safety. Residents who do not abide by the social distancing requirements or follow instructions given to them by County staff will be asked to leave the property. Visitors are encouraged to wear face coverings and to bring water to hydrate and provide for pets.
News About COVID-19 Testing
Recently, Hillsborough County significantly expanded its point-in-time testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Now, anyone who wants to be tested can pre-register to get tested for free at community sites.
Anyone can be tested—you do not have to exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Research shows that many people who have the virus may be asymptomatic, that is, showing no symptoms. Asymptomatic persons can unknowingly spread the virus to others. Public health officials say expanded testing is crucial to making decisions about reopening the County and developing policies to protect vulnerable populations and avoid a second wave of cases. Having a better idea of how many people currently have the virus will give Hillsborough County emergency leaders more information to make these important decisions.
The tests at the public testing sites are free. Insurance is NOT required, nor is a doctor’s note or prescription. There is no age limit, however minors must be accompanied by an authorized adult, such as a parent or guardian.
A reservation is necessary to ensure that time slots are available at the testing site, to increase the speed of the actual testing process, and so that you receive important instructions. When your appointment is booked, you will receive a confirmation code that you will be asked to provide upon arrival at the testing site.
The free tests available at the County’s community testing sites are intended to detect whether an individual has the virus at the moment the sample was collected. Test results are not immediate. It usually takes 7 to 10 days, and in some cases longer. In the meantime, persons who were ill at the time they took the test should self-isolate until the diagnosis is known. All residents, including those who are asymptomatic, are reminded to wear face coverings while around other people in public.
The public testing sites are located at Raymond James Stadium, and at Hillsborough County Community Resource Centers in East Tampa, Plant City, and South Shore. At-home testing may be an option for certain residents who cannot travel to a testing location. Bring a photo ID with name and date of birth for all persons being tested; this can be a Florida driver's license, a state-issued ID, or a passport. Although pedestrians can be accommodated at some sites, it is best to arrive in a personal vehicle as the majority of the testing is conducted via “drive thru”. Limit vehicle passengers to those needing a test.