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St. Pete eyes drive-thru testing site at Mahaffey Theater

May 7, 2020 - City of St. Petersburg Emergency Manager Amber Boulding told St. Petersburg City Council Thursday that the city is looking to implement a drive-thru testing site at the Mahaffey Theater parking garage in downtown St. Petersburg within the next few weeks.  The Mahaffey Theater may be the ideal location, Boulding said, because it would allow for traffic in and out, and cover for staff from rain and sun. The city is currently looking to finalize the arrangements for use of the site. 

One of the biggest challenges to adequate testing has been a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to conduct testing, rather than a shortage of tests themselves. According to Boulding, the city has adequate PPE supplies and has set aside PPE supplies for the future testing site.

While the stability of the supply chain of PPE is improving, it's still not where Boulding would like to see it, and won't be, she says, until cities, states and hospitals can order without delays. There remain long wait times to receive PPE, and N-95 masks and gowns are particularly difficult to find. Boulding said gloves and surgical masks are getting easier to source, and that the city should soon be receiving a state shipment of PPE. 

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