TAMPA — Police will be on a heightened state of alert during the Republican National Convention.
The Hillsborough County Health Department's epidemiology program is asking health care providers to be "extra vigilant" when reporting diseases to public health officials from Monday to Sept. 6.
This is because of "the nature of this high-profile event," according to a notice sent Wednesday.
In particular, health officials want to hear immediately from health care professionals who see any patients with:
• an unusual rash.
• a food-related illness.
• one case of bloody diarrhea.
• any unexplained severe infectious illness or death in an otherwise healthy person.
• any suspected illnesses from potential bioterrorism, such as anthrax, botulism, brucellosis, glanders, plague, Q fever, tularemia or viral hemorrhagic fevers.
Not surprisingly, health officials also want to know about clusters or patterns of death or illnesses.
That would include two or more patients with unexplained flulike illness, pneumonia, adult respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, or neurologic, gastrointestinal or dermatological disease.
"We are also asking that providers report whether or not a patient is visiting for the RNC or has attended any RNC events," the Health Department's request says. "We understand that this information would not normally be collected, but it would be especially useful for us during this period."
Esquire's Tampa Bay area recommendations
In its September issue, Esquire offers these RNC recommendations: "The Refinery, for the John Denver breakfast. • El Puerto, for the steak sandwich. • For dinner: Remember that it's Cooters, not Hooters. • Mons Venus, if you have a little free time."
Last RNC town hall scheduled tonight
It will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Kate Jackson Community Center, 821 S Rome Ave. Information on road closings, traffic, downtown parking, garbage pickup, security plans, school bus routes and Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority bus and trolley service. Plus Q&A.
Curtis Hixon Park will be closed until Sept. 4
The convention this week took over Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park so a private contractor could build a "popup" nightclub.
The good news: It's an impressive structure, and it's going up fast. For a look from above, check out the Tampa Downtown Partnership's Facebook page.
The bad news: The park — including Curtis Hixon's section of the Riverwalk, its dog park, the playground and the kid's fountain near Ashley Drive — will be closed for nearly three more weeks.
Jamestown Entertainment of Washington, D.C., is partnering with the Butter Group of New York to create a Tampa version of the 1 OAK nightclubs found in Manhattan and at the Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
The private club is expected to have room for 2,000 partygoers in a 30,000-square-foot, air-conditioned temporary facility, complete with its own concert space, plus cigar, scotch and video game lounges.
As part of its agreement with the Tampa Bay Host Committee, the city agreed to make Curtis Hixon and several other parks available for the convention's exclusive use.
Curtis Hixon is expected to reopen to the public on Sept. 4.
And if some lovers of the park grouse in the meantime?
"Just bear with us," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. "As we have said from Day 1, there will be some inconveniences and we all have to understand that, given the magnitude of what we're attempting to do."
Tampa City Hall to set up RNC info call center
City Hall is setting up a call center to provide information about street closures, parking, directions and hospitality information during the Republican National Convention.
The toll-free RNC call center number is (866) 762-8687 .
The call center will start taking calls at 8 a.m. Monday and will stop at noon Aug. 31. It will be staffed 24 hours a day during that time, with someone who speaks Spanish available.
For online information about the convention, road closures, detours and city services, visit tampagov.net/RNC. City officials also encourage residents to sign up for the Alert Tampa messaging service to their email, mobile device or landline telephone. To sign up, go to tampagov.net/AlertTampa or call (813) 231-6184.