Earl Crane, a nationally known cybersecurity expert, has joined the board of advisors of Abacode, a Tampa-based managed cybersecurity and compliance services provider. Crane previously worked for the Office of The President and was a member of the White House National Security Council as well as director of cybersecurity strategy for the Department of Homeland Security. Crane is a member of the board at (ISC)², a Clearwater-based nonprofit association of certified cybersecurity professionals, an adjunct faculty member at Carnegie Mellon and a cybersecurity fellow at the University of Texas at Austin Strauss Center. Crane's extensive experience at the highest levels of cybersecurity and federal policy will provide essential guidance to Abacode, CEO Michael Ferris said in a news release.
IBIS Therapeutics in Tampa is one of seven companies chosen to participate in XLerateHealth, a healthcare accelerator headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. IBIS has a unique artificial intelligence engine that can predict absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity to identify the best drug candidates from a quarter-billion small molecules, a news release said. The company's first to market product will focus on Covid-19 and inflammation. XLerateHealth is an enterprise-focused early-stage healthcare accelerator that helps companies build out their commercialization strategies. The accelerator connects selected startups with clinical, academic and business leaders who have the expertise to help the entrepreneurs think through all aspects of commercialization. This year's program is the accelerator's 10th cohort and will be fully virtual to adapt to Covid-19 precautions.
The deadline to apply for the city of St. Petersburg's Fighting Chance fund is Aug. 14, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced during his weekly Facebook Live appearance Tuesday. The fund, which was created to provide emergency grants for small businesses in St. Pete that have been impacted by Covid-19, had distributed more than $5.5 million to brick-and-mortar and home-based businesses. Funds are still available, and business owners can apply by clicking here.
BayCare Health System will resume all non-urgent surgeries and procedures at its six acute care hospitals in Hillsborough County, starting Monday, Aug. 10. BayCare’s acute hospitals in Pinellas, Polk and Pasco counties resumed all non-urgent surgeries and procedures on Aug. 3. In early July, the health system voluntarily curtailed inpatient, non-urgent surgeries to provide more hospital bed capacity in the community for Covid-19 patients. BayCare is now able to resume those services after working to increase its staffing resources and seeing a downward trend in Covid-related hospital stays in recent weeks, a news release said.
The Florida Department of Health reported Tuesday that 18 more people in Pinellas County have died from Covid-19, bringing the total to 460. The county also recorded another 161 confirmed cases of the virus and 26 additional hospitalizations. As of Tuesday, the county now has 17,047 residents who've tested positive. However, the rolling average of the percentage of positive cases has been trending downward over the past two weeks, with a 7.8 percent positive rate Tuesday. The St. Pete Catalyst has a daily update on total cases by ZIP code, which you can find here.
The Pinellas Community Foundation will hold a free virtual event, “Actors, Allies, Accomplices - how to engage in turbulent times," Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event comes in response to the discussion that emerged from the “Equity Amid Crisis” conference, where participants expressed interest in learning how to engage in the conversation around equity, especially if they never have done so before. The interactive workshop will feature panel discussions and breakout sessions aimed at moving the community further along the healing continuum to create organic, sustainable change. To register, click here.
Clean Streak Ventures has bought seven Bay Breeze Car Wash and Lube sites located in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. Bay Breeze is one of Tampa Bay's largest car wash operators, offering express and full-serve washes, detailing and quick lube services. One of its seven sites is at 8201 U.S. Highway 19 in Pinellas Park. Others are in Tampa, New Tampa, Lutz and Lakeland. Clean Streak is an express car wash platform headquartered in Orlando and a portfolio company of MKH Capital Partners, a Miami-based private equity firm. The acquisition expands Clean Streak's current platform to 17 locations across Florida, including in Tampa-St. Pete, Orlando and Naples. Clean Streak's desire to retain the Bay Breeze employees was an important factor in the sale, Keith Feltner, former owner of Bay Breeze, said in a news release.
DAS Health Ventures, a health IT and management company in Tampa, has completed the acquisition of Technology Seed LLC a managed IT and cybersecurity services company based in Salem, New Hampshire. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal is the largest of more than a dozen acquisitions DAS has made over the past several years, a news release said. The acquisition enhances DAS' presence in New England and DAS has added a regional office in New Hampshire, in addition to an existing regional office in Las Vegas, the release said. Kurt Simione, founder and president of Technology Seed, and his team have joined DAS, said David Schlaifer, DAS Health president and CEO.
The Covid-19 testing site sponsored through a partnership between the State of New York and the City of St. Petersburg will be open Tuesday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Wednesday from 12-7 p.m. at Pinellas Community Church, 5501 31st St. South, 33712. Appointments can be made by calling (833) 697-4352. The tests are free and no symptoms or referrals are required. Testing hours will be from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. The 33712 ZIP code is one of the hardest hit in Pinellas County, with nearly 800 confirmed cases as of Monday.
Forward Pinellas is seeking help from the public to create artwork for the Safe Streets Pinellas Action Plan. Artists have until August 31 to submit artwork depicting what safe streets would look like for them. Drawings, paintings, photos, computer graphics and other types of artwork displaying original ideas reflecting the concepts associated with Safe Streets Pinellas and Vision Zero efforts are eligible. The winning art will be featured on the cover of the Safe Streets Pinellas Action Plan, and the winner will receive a prize. All eligible artwork submissions will be featured in the Safe Streets Pinellas Action Plan or on the Safe Streets Pinellas Website, and there are also prizes for the first 20 submissions. Photos or scans of artwork can be submitted by clicking here.
St. Petersburg College has received a $100,000 grant award to support the launch of the SPC’s Diversity in Energy Initiative in partnership with Duke Energy Florida. The program will target and recruit historically underserved lower-income, minority and female populations for careers in the energy field, and connect them to related educational pathways. Duke is awarding $655,000 in grants to 19 workforce development and education programs as the region tackles economic disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic. The grants support education and training programs that address the most pressing skills gaps in communities served by Duke Energy Florida, as well as programs to cultivate the energy sector’s future workforce.
Managed healthcare services provider WellCare has partnered with same-day delivery service Shipt to help some Medicare Advantage members access groceries and everyday essentials throughout 2020. The partnership provides a critical service during the Covid-19 pandemic, the companies said in a news release. WellCare is providing low-income and special needs plan members in select WellCare, WellCare TexanPlus and 'Ohana Medicare Advantage plans with free, monthly Shipt memberships for the rest of the year. Members can have groceries and essentials delivered from a number of retailers directly to their homes through their Shipt account, which helps them obtain the essentials they need while also reducing possible exposure to the virus by eliminating their need to go to the grocery store. The benefit, which is subject to availability, is being offered to more than 200,000 members across 23 states. WellCare, based in Tampa, was acquired earlier this year by Centene Corp. (NYSE: CNC).