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Covid update: Regional meeting on face masks, Pinellas CARES dollars breakdown

Margie Manning

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The administrators and health department directors of Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties will meet Monday to discuss county ordinances requiring face coverings.

There’s a fundamental disagreement on whether face masks work to control the spread of Covid-19, Barry Burton, Pinellas County administrator, told the Board of County Commissioners.

“From my perspective this is working,” he said, adding “What would be the conditions – and I do say conditions versus numbers – that would cause us to act differently on the requirements we have. We’re continuing to have those discussions and we’ll discuss it as a region.”

Pinellas County’s face mask ordinance remains in effect, after the county extended its state of local emergency through Oct. 9. The extension was issued by Burton by delegated authority from the county commissioners.

Burton and Aubrey Phillips, strategic performance manager for the county’s Office of Management and Budget, also unveiled a new online tool for tracking the $170 million in funds the county received from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act.

Through Oct. 1, the county spent $63 million, including:

$17 million: grant funding for Pinellas-based businesses most affected by the pandemic

$12.6 million: individual and family assistance for overdue rent, mortgage and utility bills for households that lost income due to Covid-19

$11.5 million: awards approved for nonprofit that provide critical services for food, behavioral health and eviction mitigation

$3.5 million: grants to child care organizations whose business was negatively impacted by Covid-19

The full breakdown of costs is here.

A workforce re-employment and training program for residents that suffered economic impact due to Covid-19 will be launched later this month, Phillips said.

From the onset of the pandemic in March through the end of September, Pinellas County has reported a cumulative total of 22,226 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 755 deaths. In September alone, there were 2,240 new cases and 92 deaths.

See a breakdown of cumulative number of cases by ZIP code here.

In St. Petersburg, there’s been a cumulative six-month total of 9,001 cases, including 867 cases in September.

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