The State of New York will be providing support to a new Covid-19 testing site sponsored by the City of St. Petersburg, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday. The governor also praised Mayor Rick Kriseman for his leadership during the pandemic.
“You were right early on,” Cuomo said during a call with Kriseman and the media. “You were right on the stay-at-home order, you were right on intelligence of wearing masks. If we had followed your advice, this nation would be in a different place.”
Cuomo recently sent a team down to St. Pete to help set up the testing site at the Pinellas Community Church, which opened Wednesday morning. New York also sent down supplies including 7,500 test kits, 7,500 gowns, 11,000 pairs of gloves, 75,00o N-95 masks, 124,000 surgical masks and 1,250 gallons of New York’s “clean and special” hand sanitizer.
“You try that hand sanitizer, Mayor, your hands will never be the same, I promise you that,” Cuomo joked. “It’ll kill the Covid virus and give you a special tingling sensation.”
On a more sober note, Cuomo said it’s New York’s pleasure to give back to communities that have helped the state that was hit the hardest by Covid-19.
“I asked for doctors and nurses to come and help New York, and 30,000 people volunteered,” he said. “It was one of the really powerful experiences of my life. I said at the time ‘I can’t express the gratitude and I said we will be there for you.’ It was really America at its best.”
Kriseman returned Cuomo’s compliments and praised his clear and accurate communication along with his follow-through on his promise to provide assistance to other states.
“You did exactly what you said you were going to do,” Kriseman said. ”That’s not something that a lot of politicians do.”
Kriseman went on to point out that St. Pete was among the first cities in Florida to follow New York’s cue and issue safer-at-home orders and mask mandates. He attributes Pinellas County’s falling positivity rate to the measures enacted to stop the spread of Covid-19, and said that the supplies New York is sending are “really critical.”
The testing site at Pinellas Community Church is located in the 33712 ZIP code, one of the hardest hit areas in the county that also has a large minority population. Kriseman said that being able to do testing and gather data there will help the city address and target the steps it needs to take to reduce positivity in that area.
The site will operate Wednesday (today) through Saturday, Aug. 1 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling (833) 697-4352. Tests are free and no symptoms or referrals are required. The church’s address is 5501 31st St. South, 33712.
Pinellas County recorded another 259 cases of Covid-19 Wednesday, along with five more deaths. The county’s total number of infections now stands at 15,800.