COVID-19: Escambia County now has 9 cases, more than double since Sunday

As Ascension Sacred Heart president Dawn Rudolph predicted last week at Mayor Grover Robinson’s presser, Escambia County is tracking at about 10 percent positive on its testing, which matches the state’s percentage.

“We had a total of 674 swabs or collections,” said Rudolph on last Thursday afternoon. “We’re waiting for those test results, so even if you do the math at 10%, that’s 67 people. The good news is, those persons have been at home hopefully self isolating waiting for those test results, so all of this proactive work is in support of keeping it from becoming community spread.”

As of 6 p.m. Monday, Escambia County went from four positive cases on Sunday, March 22 to 9. If the percentages hold, we should expect the numbers to continue to climb to over 60 by end of the week as more test results come back.

Total Cases
: 9
Residents: 9
Residents Not in Florida: 0
Non-Residents: 0

Demographics of Cases
Age Range: 25 to 76
Average Age: 48
Men: 6
Women: 2

Conditions and Care
Deaths: 0
Hospitalizations: 0

Case Designations
Travel-Related: 1
Not Travel-Related: 3
Travel Unknown: 5

Santa Rosa County has four; Okaloosa County 14 cases.

Florida has a total 1,227 positive cases, up 56 from 11 a.m. Monday, March 23. Deaths have climbed to 17. DOH reports: “Three people have died who tested positive for COVID-19 in Clay, Duval and Palm Beach counties.”

Positive Florida Residents: 1,147
Positive Non-Florida Residents: 80

Florida Deaths: 17

Buzz: The Next Shortage

Inweekly has been told the next shortage –after masks–are the swabs used to take samples for the testing. We hope the Escambia Operations Center is working to coordinate supplies and orders for area hospitals and the COVID-19 testing sites.

Last Friday, the county commissioners asked for daily reports from the county administrator. Inweekly has no indication that is happening. The COVID-19 updates are primarily reiterations of other organization’s press announcements.

Meanwhile, a local Facebook group has been created to help make masks for local health care workers, Pensacola Mask Sewers.  It’s sewers as in sewing machine, not ECUA pipes.

Two weeks ago, the local hospitality industry wanted the county to allow Visit Pensacola to spend $200K to attract vacationers blocked from traveling aboard. Yesterday, the governor placed his first restriction on travelers from other states to Florida.

However, he has rejected a “stay in place” order so far.

By Christine Sexton

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday said he is taking measures to prevent people from fleeing coronavirus “hotspots” and coming to Florida, where they could contribute to further spread of the virus.

DeSantis said he will issue an executive order directing the Florida Department of Health to require travelers from New York and New Jersey to self-isolate for 14 days after flying into Florida airports. Violators, DeSantis said, could be charged criminally.

“There’s over 190 direct flights from the New York City area to the state of Florida, and I would reckon given the outbreak there, that every single flight has somebody on it who is positive for COVID-19,” DeSantis said. “And so as we are working to stop it in the state of Florida, you’re consistently having people come in from one of the top hotspots in the entire world. We don’t have people coming from Wuhan (China), we don’t have people coming from Milan (Italy), yet you have a flood of people still coming from New York City.”

DeSantis said he had spoken to President Donald Trump about his plans to issue the quarantine requirements for the out-of-state travelers.

It was not clear Monday evening if the executive order would affect travelers coming from all states where “shelter in place” requirements have been issued or just New York and New Jersey. It would not apply to people who drive into Florida.

“It’s not clear to me that doing a massive shutdown of the entire state would even work.” – DeSantis

DeSantis’ announcement came as criticism about Florida’s response to COVID-19 mounts, along with the numbers of infected residents and deaths.

Florida has “community spread” of the highly contagious disease, with people not sure how or where they were infected. But DeSantis has not followed other states, including New York, New Jersey and California, in issuing a shelter-in-place mandate, which generally would require people to stay home except for essential activities.

DeSantis said such requirements can cause more harm than good.

“It’s not clear to me that doing a massive shutdown of the entire state would even work. I think you are seeing, in some of the states that have done this, there has really been huge noncompliance,” DeSantis said. “In New York City, it’s like the party never ended. You have got people congregating all over the place. You see images from California, in Orange County. I don’t think the beaches have ever been so crowded, with people going out. Again, these are people who have been ordered to shelter in place, and they are not complying with those orders. The fact of the matter is, a governor is not going to start imprisoning people just because they leave their house. So, you are going to have a lot of noncompliance.”

Baptist Health Shuts Down Visitations

• Effective Tuesday, March 24, at 5 a.m., a No Visitation policy with limited entry doors will be activated at Baptist Hospital, Gulf Breeze Hospital and Jay Hospital. Visitor exceptions will be made for end of life and critical caregivers. Approved visitors will be actively screened prior to entrance with CDC screening questions and temperature checks. We recognize and value the vital role friends and family play in restoring the health of their loved ones, but we believe these measures are necessary for the wellbeing of our patients, team members and the community we serve.

• At Baptist Health Care, our top priority continues to be the safety of our patients, visitors and team members. Following Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Health & Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, elective surgeries and procedures at Baptist Health Care facilities have been postponed. This includes Andrews Institute Ambulatory Surgery Center, Baptist Medical Park – Nine Mile Ambulatory Surgery Center, Baptist Hospital, Gulf Breeze Hospital and Jay Hospital. We are working with all patients to reschedule their care to a future date and ensuring their current needs are being met. Exceptions will be made for time-sensitive and urgent needs on a patient-by-patient basis. This action allows us to redeploy resources including supplies, equipment and staff to meet the current and future needs of our community.

• All screening appointments for imaging, including mammograms, DEXA scans, lung CTs and screening endoscopy, are being rescheduled for late April. Medically urgent imaging appointments will remain unchanged as scheduled.

Employment Help

State Rep. Alex Andrade shared this info with Inweekly:

Reemployment Assistance
If a Floridian’s employment has been negatively impacted as a result of the mitigation efforts in Florida to stop the spread of COVID-19, they may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance. While not of direct benefit to business owners, providing the below information to employees whose hours have been cut or who may have been furloughed during this time will put employers in the best position possible to help keep their employees afloat until business operations can resume in earnest.

Individuals who may be eligible for Reemployment Assistance may include:

• Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency,
• Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns, or
• Those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

Individuals whose employment has been impacted, but are still receiving wages through paid leave are not eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance.

At this time, individuals who apply for Reemployment Assistance whose employment was negatively impacted as a result of COVID-19 will follow the same application, review and payment process as all applicants for Reemployment Assistance in Florida.

Any Floridian whose employment has been negatively impacted as a result of COVID-19 to visit and click on Reemployment Assistance Service Center to learn more about the program and watch a short video on how to apply. Click here<> for a direct link to instructions on how to apply for Reemployment Assistance. Click here<> for a direct link for a FAQ on Reemployment Assistance for individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19.



3 thoughts on “COVID-19: Escambia County now has 9 cases, more than double since Sunday

  1. Thank you for your reporting, Rick.

    I’ve been very disappointed with the lack of transparency/ reporting on the number of pending tests in Escambia. The delay in results is not unique to our area, it is a problem in many parts of the country and given the delayed response, it is expected. But there is no excuse for the county to withhold the most basic testing stats, regardless of their result status.

  2. Steve,
    Good questions. DOH has lagged behind on tracking the pending tests. Rudolph and the commissioner pointed that out at Friday’s meeting.

    I would rely on local statistics as much as possible. Unfortunately, the county administration has drug its feet on creating a local dashboard—though Administrator Gilley has promised a “very robust report” soon.

    Our position is the positive results stat is the only one we can rely upon from the DOH- which why I’m not reporting negatives and pending figures any more.


  3. What is the definitive source for Florida COVID-19 statistics? I thought it was the Florida Department of Health “Dashboard.” (1)

    If so, why is there a disconnect in the numbers between the FDOH dashboard and what is reported in the news?

    As of 11:00/24 March 2020 the dashboard stated Escambia County Test Results as: 
    Negative = 118
    Pending = 6
    Positive = 10

    Dawn Rudolph was quoted (2) that 674 swabs were collected last Thursday afternoon and that results are pending. (Dashboard says six.)

    What source has the true numbers?

    (2) “COVID-19: Escambia County now has 9 cases, more than double since Sunday” (

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