New York team sets up free COVID-19 testing in south St. Pete

The no-cost testing site at Pinellas Community Church, 5501 31st S, is available now through Saturday, Aug. 1 from 9-5 p.m.  Photo courtesy of the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

ST. PETERSBURG — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced a joint effort to fight against the rising cases of COVID-19 in Tampa Bay.

Gov. Cuomo sent a team to St. Pete to help set up a site at the Pinellas Community Church, 5501 31st S. He was inspired by the outpouring of love last spring when 30,000 doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers from across the country volunteered to stop the virus from ravishing his state.

“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,” said. Gov. Cuomo.

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

“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,” said Dr. Ramon Tallaj, Founder and Chairman of SOMOS Community Care. “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.”

Mayor Kriseman and Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin meeting with SOMOS Community Care representatives on July 29. Photo courtesy of the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Mayor Kriseman said Pinellas County and St. Petersburg are on the right track and have led the way in Florida, but widespread testing and the subsequent protocols remain critical to getting on the other side of this health crisis.

“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,” stated Kriseman.

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. On July 10, Governor Cuomo announced New York State would send the COVID-19 medication Remdesivir to Florida as the state struggles with a resurgence of cases.

The no-cost testing site is available now through Saturday, Aug. 1 from 9-5 p.m. The Pinellas Community Church site will provide up to 500 tests per day. Residents can schedule tests by appointment by calling (833) NYS-4-FLA.

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