County COVID-19 update

Dr. John Lanza, from the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County, will be at the Board of County Commissioners Agenda Review Session at 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 2 to provide an update on COVID-19.

Community Health Northwest Florida will open tomorrow its weekly COVID-19 test site from 9 a.m. to noon at its office at 2315 W. Jackson Street. Drive-up testing along the side of the building. No pre-screening required, open to Escambia County residents of all ages. Bring photo ID and insurance card (if insured). Testing until supplies last, weather permitting.

Note: Community Health Northwest Florida conducts the least invasive test – only swabbing the nostrils. Painless.

FDOH-Escambia’s walk-in testing site is free to all Florida residents with or without symptoms. Pre-screening is not required. Open to Thursday, July 2 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1300 West Gregory Street. Dates are subject to change due to inclement weather or shortage of supplies.

Other Test Sites:

UWF –  The drive-through only test site is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, unless there is inclement weather. It is located at the SP2 parking lot, which is on the east side of campus, near the East Sports Complex. Individuals are asked to remain in their vehicles, which must have a window. Pre-screening is not required. Must be 18 or older to be tested.

Pre-screening required:

Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m, Monday through Friday. You must first call 850-746-268 for a phone screening. The call center will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday. People from all states can be tested if they meet the screening criteria.

Baptist Health Care : Call the screening center at 850-434-4080 to determine if you need an appointment. Online assessment screenings are also available via their website or text “Screen” to 850-318-3080. The online assessment screening is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The testing site is a secret.


1 thought on “County COVID-19 update

  1. It would be helpful if Dr. Lanza could tell us city residents exactly how many cases to date have been reported “in” the City of Pensacola. Today’s PNJ (July 1) reported a total of 1,420 cases to date in “Pensacola.” Does that mean every place in Escambia County where the U.S. Postal service delivers mail to a “Pensacola” address? That seems most likely.

    The two county Pensacola Bay Area has five municipalities – Century, Pensacola, Jay, Milton and Gulf Breeze. It should be possible to break out the cases by county and then separately by municipality. The News Journal should report the numbers by political jurisdiction. Saying, as example, that there are 264 cases to date in “Milton” means little because many people with a Milton mailing address do not live in the city of Milton.

    A specific “City of Pensacola” number might give us a better sense if the situation really is so bad that last night the Pensacola City Council adopted a new law that would impose jail time for persons who fail to use a mask a fourth time. Most council members have never read the City Code let alone Section 1-1-8. They have told me so when I have asked. The new ordinance references Section 1-1-8 but goes out of its way to not describe it.

    For the record, this is what is written in Section 1-1-8 of the Pensacola City Code:

    Sec. 1-1-8. – Penalty for violations.
    Whenever in this Code or in any ordinances of the city any act is prohibited or is made or declared to be unlawful or an offense or whenever in such Code or any ordinances the doing of any act is required or the failure to do any act is declared to be unlawful, where no specific penalty is provided therefor, the violation of any provision of this Code or any ordinance shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding sixty (60) days, or by both the fine and imprisonment. Each day any violation of any provision of this Code shall continue shall constitute a separate offense.

    Two oddities of yesterday’s city council action are: 1) just last week City Attorney Susan Woolf wrote to Councilwoman Myers that the city council has no authority with respect to the wearing of masks, presumably because Mayor Robinson has claimed to exercise absolute power during any emergency; and 2) District 6 Councilwoman Rice voted last night after only a few months ago saying during a council meeting that she did not feel she was qualified to make decisions during an emergency.

    It will be interesting to see if any ten voters opt to exercise their constitutional power of referendum to challenge the new mask law with its criminal penalty. Threatening to put people in jail seems a very provocative step. Citizens have 60 days from today to file the paperwork with the Office of the City Clerk to begin the referendum. In the meantime, once the paperwork is submitted, the new law will be held in abeyance until a second sixty day period ends. City voters gave themselves this power in 2009.

    What is “really” needed is for the two sets of county commissioners to meet and agree to encourage everyone to wear a mask. There is no self-contained “city” economy so a city solution will not work. There is a “metro” (two-county) economy. Any solution has to be done by both counties together. Threatening to send people to jail as done last night by the Pensacola City Council is the wrong approach. On the upside, the Pensacola Police Department opts to not enforce many city laws so perhaps they will not enforce this one.

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