TAMPA, FL (July 2, 2020) – Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visited leaders from Tampa General Hospital and the University of South Florida on Thursday and urged Floridians to practice social distancing.
“I want to thank Tampa General and the University of South Florida, not just for your hospitality today but for all you’re doing every day for the health and well-being of the people of Florida,” Pence said in a roundtable discussion.
The vice president and governor learned about the innovative, world-class care COVID-19 patients are receiving at Tampa General as well as USF’s cutting-edge research designed to fight coronavirus.
Other key leaders in the White House’s coronavirus response task force said they were impressed by what they learned from TGH and USF during a roundtable discussion. The roundtable participants included TGH CEO and President John Couris, TGH Associate Epidemiologist Dr. Seetha Lakshmi, USF President Steven C. Currall, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine Dean Dr. Charles J. Lockwood and others.
“The partnership between Tampa General and the University of South Florida gives me great hope,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn. “What I saw was a partnership that developed a care plan that really accelerated and advanced the care of the patients with COVID-19.”
“I learned a lot from the University of South Florida and Tampa General,” HHS secretary Alex Azar said. “I’ve got a long list of actions coming out of this really tremendous session.”
White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said, “it was exciting to be here today, to talk to the University of South Florida and your brilliant scientists and physicians here to really start to implement pooled testing.” Pooled testing is a technique designed to dramatically increase the number of people who can be tested for COVID-19.
Birx also urged every Floridian to do their part by wearing a mask and not gathering in crowds.
The roundtable discussion and a news conference were both part of the visit, which was held at USF’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) in Downtown Tampa.
“Tampa General, in partnership with USF, was honored to host our national and state leaders for a roundtable on COVID-19 and how the global pandemic is impacting our region,” said Couris. “We discussed our methods to provide the highest quality care for our patients and focused on solutions that would enable us to continue our efforts to combat the coronavirus. Most importantly, we need the cooperation of Florida residents. Wear a mask and practice social distancing to keep yourself and others safe.”
Pence said during the news conference he was reassured to hear from the governor that hospital capacity in Florida and supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) are strong. He urged Floridians to practice the principles of social distancing.
“We can slow the spread, we can flatten the curve, but it will take all of us to do it,” Pence said.
Tampa General was proud to host the event with its partner, USF.
Tampa General Hospital photos by Daniel Wallace