HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Local COVID-19 coronavirus data presented to the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group today showed encouraging trends in some measurements for the first time in a few weeks.

Data presented today to EPG members included the following observations:
The rolling 14-day average of cases is 566, a decrease of 15%.
The rolling 14-day daily positive rate is 13.22% based upon the daily test results.
Emergency room visits for COVID-19-like symptoms indicated a downward amount for the week of July 19.

While several of today’s charts illustrated promising trends, community transmission of the virus remains widespread, said Dr. Douglas Holt, director of the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County. The rate of confirmed cases is still high, at 241 per 100,000 residents for the last seven days. Hillsborough would have to be at less than 175 cases per 100,000
residents to not be considered a hot spot, and there’s a long way to go to return to the rate in May of 5 cases per 100,000 residents, Holt said.

“Working together we can achieve this goal,” Holt said in reminding residents to continue to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, avoid large crowds, and wash hands frequently.

In other news from the meeting, a majority of the EPG members voted to extend their face coverings executive order for at least another seven days. The order requires the wearing of face coverings inside businesses that are open to the public and where employees and customers aren’t able to maintain social distancing. Non-profit organizations that supply goods and services in inside areas accessible by the public must also follow the mandate. The order allows several exceptions, such as for people who have health conditions, or whose jobs can’t be performed while wearing a face covering, or during exercise,
among others.

Under the conditions by which they originally approved the order, EPG members revisit the decision weekly. Residents and business operators can read the order and a list of frequently-asked questions by going to HCFLGov.net.

The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group is comprised of three County Commissioners, the mayors from the cities of Plant City, Tampa, and Temple Terrace, the Sheriff, and Chairman of the School Board. Authority is granted by Article 8 of the Florida Constitution, Section 125.66 and Chapter 252, Florida Statutes. Hillsborough County enacted Hillsborough County Code of Ordinances and Laws Chapter 22, Article II, Sections 22-23 in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the County’s residents during declared emergencies.

The next EPG meeting is scheduled Thursday, July 30 at 1:30 p.m.