Escambia County relents, releases COVID-19 report…but

After pressure from, News Journal, Inweekly and the public, Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley agreed to release the more detailed SITREP –which she had declared exempt earlier this week.

The SITREP is what revealed a local long-term care facility was highly infected with the COVID-19 virus. The report became an issue for county management after Inweekly asked Gilley to name the facility at Commissioner Jeff Bergosh’s “Coffee with the Commissioner” last Wednesday.

As has been the case with Gilley and her team, the announcement of the report release was verbose and filled with empty words to explain the turnaround without admitting any error. We got separate statements from Gilley, County Attorney Alison Rogers and Emergency Manager Eric Gilmore in the press release.

Gilley could have simply  said the county agrees with the media that the incident reports provide the community more detailed updates.

Sigh, CYA never works simply.

Here it is:

In support of board direction from April 2 and extensive legal review, we will be providing the COVID-19 Escambia SitRep document in addition to the twice-daily Joint Information Center updates, State of Florida Situation Reports and daily Escambia County specimen collection totals. Please see below comments provided by Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley, Escambia County Attorney Alison Rogers and Escambia County Emergency Manager Eric Gilmore.

“In keeping with Board’s direction on April 2, staff and legal counsel have reviewed the COVID-19 Escambia SitRep to ensure we have the opportunity to continue the mission of protecting the public without jeopardizing the confidentiality of any health related data that is protected by state and federal laws. We believe the information in this incident report will provide the community with more detailed updates during this extraordinary time.” — Janice Gilley

“This information is being released in furtherance of Escambia County’s official duties and responsibilities to serve the county’s citizens, businesses and agencies during a public health emergency.  Information appearing in this document was compiled from multiple sources and community partners and thus Escambia County does not assure the accuracy of the reported information.” — Alison Rogers

“It is not the intent of Emergency Management to withhold information. This has been an unprecedented event in which the county is not the lead agency, but serves as the resource manager during the incident. Emergency Management’s intent is to put out accurate information in a timely manner while making sure our community partners’ information does not violate any state or federal regulations. Emergency Management will continue to obtain up-to-date information and to communicate that to the citizens of Escambia County.” — Eric Gilmore

We also got this nifty graphic that shows a third of the specimen collections are pending. The graph however understates the percentage of positive and negative test results – because it includes the pending tests in the calculation.  The correct way to calculate percentage of positive test results is:   206 positives divided by ( negative test 3413+ positives 206 = 3,619) = 5.692%.

In other words,  of the 3,619 test results that the county has received, 5.692% have come back positive and 94.31% have been negative.  These percentages are about half the state percentages – which is good news.

The County did not release the SITREP reports for April 8, 9 and 10. The SITREP report released with the press announcement was for this morning and appears to have been edited to omit information that was in earlier reports

The report makes no mention of the highly infected long-term care facility – the one Gilmore said on Wednesday that DOH Level 3 was coming to help. The facility was reported, unnamed, in the SITREPs for April 7 and 8, but apparently has been dropped as even a minor issue.

We heard the facility, on Wednesday, had 10 positive cases and another 30 under investigation. It would seem the situation warranted an update in the SITREP.

However, it does state that EMS will be making site visits to the facilities to ensure they are following CDC recommended protocol—which begs the question why has the county waited so long to do this. The inspections should have happened three or four weeks ago.

4.10.2020 Hospital Information Totals as of 1630​
Bed Capacity 1334 ​
Bed Occupancy 710​
Beds Available 624 ​

4.10.2020 Ventilator Information as of 1630 ​
Total ventilators 222 ​
Available ventilators 177​

­*Sacred Heart Hospital ventilators and beds not updated as of 4.11.2020 at 1000.​

4.11.2020 Hospital Information Totals as of 1000​
Bed Capacity 1334 ​
Bed Occupancy 729​
Beds Available 610​

4.11.2020 Ventilator Information as of 1000​
Total ventilators 222 ​
Available ventilators 179

Read COVID-19 Escambia SitRep 041120

The media won a hallow victory because the county administrator has released a report that has been edited to provide few important details. The citizens, once again, are the losers in Gilley’s hide-and-seek communication strategy.

BTW: The report is for 10:55 a.m. The county didn’t release it until 3:53 p.m.