Despite news reports that a Live Oak official named the COVID-19 long-term care facility infected in his community and received help from the state, County Administrator Janice Gilley has refused to relent and let families know if the nursing home that is taking care of their loved ones is having issues with the virus.
Gilley won’t give the public any information on the steps taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the facility. Her indifference to the plight of the elderly and their families is disturbing.
Here is gobbledygook she released today:
Escambia County Emergency Management’s role in the COVID-19 public health incident is to manage and provide resources to our health care partners. They communicate their needs to us, and we compile the information and submit resource requests to the State. We accept shipments and donations of supplies and then manage disbursements based on the requests.
“Escambia County Emergency Management’s mission is to work with our partners and protect the public without compromising the confidentiality of any health-related data that is protected by state and federal laws. This has been an unprecedented event in which the county is not the lead agency but serves as the resource manager during the incident.” — Eric Gilmore, Emergency Manager
The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is the lead agency for this event. Please contact the FDOH in Escambia County for health-related information. Their public information office can be reached at email@example.com or call 850-595-6500 x 6000, www.EscambiaHealth.com.
The State Surgeon General is the responsible party for long-term care and nursing home facilities information disclosure related to COVID-19. For related inquiries, please contact the FDOH State Communications Office in Tallahassee at NewsMedia@flhealth.gov.
The Department of Health updates Florida’s COVID-19 information page daily. Please visit www.floridahealthcovid19.gov for the latest information.
Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley provided this quote on Thursday, April 9, “We empathize with the families and friends who have loved ones in our nursing home facilities within the county and have concerns about their health and exposure. At this time, we have been advised by the Florida Department of Health that disclosure to the public regarding long-term care and nursing home facilities affected by COVID-19 remains in the hands of the state surgeon general.
The county continues to work alongside the Florida Department of Health, the lead agency for a public health incident. Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have communicated with them to release whatever information they can, but we also understand there are privacy laws in which they must follow. We strongly encourage nursing homes to work with the state surgeon general to publicly disclose if there have been positive COVID-19 cases in their facility in the Escambia county community. We believe it is in the public’s best interest for the facilities be as transparent as possible within the extent of the state and federal laws.”
How would you feel reading this statement if your parent or grandparent was in nursing home? People have to come before politics.
Gilley should have to face the public and media at a press briefing. She needs to talk directly to the families. Hiding by emails is not how she should communicate during a crisis.