By LOIS KINDLE
South Bay Hospital hosted its final free, rapid COVID-19 antigen testing event of the year Dec. 18 and had its largest response to date. Nearly 1,100 people turned out and were assisted by approximately 50 volunteers, including hospital employees, West Florida Division of HCA Healthcare laboratory personnel, members of the Sun City Center Emergency Squad, Sun City Center C.E.R.T., United Methodist Church, Hillsborough Community College and other local organizations.
“Unfortunately, we saw an increase in the positivity rate from our previous events,” said Lesley Lykins, director of public relations and marketing. “It went from 3.6 % on Dec. 8 to 4.5% just 10 days later. We’re planning to offer these tests again in early January.”
In other news, South Bay Hospital received its first shipment of Moderna vaccines (those that can be stored under regular refrigeration). As a result, it began vaccinating caregivers who work directly with COVID-19 patients and other nurses throughout the hospital Christmas Eve day. Next in line to receive the vaccine will be hospital leaders and critical care members, like physical therapists and lab personnel, as well as operations staff. As of Sunday afternoon, 120 caregivers had received their injections.
“We’re moving rapidly through our team and will continue to do so as long as the supply of Moderna vaccine lasts,” Lykins said. “We’re looking forward to the day when every employee is vaccinated and our community also has access to the immunizations.”
South Bay Hospital offers a wide array of health care services, including general and vascular surgery, urology, gastroenterology, cardiology, orthopedic surgery and digital mammography. It’s the only hospital in Hillsborough County to be recognized five years in a row as a Top Performer in Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest standards-setting body in health care. The independent, nonprofit organization accredits and certifies more than 22,000 hospitals and health care organizations around the country.
South Bay Hospital also has also received certifications from The Joint Commission in Total Hip and Total Knee and as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. More than 200 independent physicians are part of the hospital’s medical staff.
To find a doctor near you or to talk to a registered nurse about your healthcare issues or concerns, call South Bay Hospital’s free physician referral line at 888-685-1595.
For more information on the hospital, its services or involvement in the community, call 813-634-0496 or 634-0172.