Escambia sets new COVID record

The Florida Department of Health reports Escambia County had 268 new COVID cases on Thursday, Dec. 17 and three deaths. The positivity rate was 13.41%.

For the period of Sunday, Dec. 13 through Thursday, Dec 17, the county has recorded 915 new cases – the most for the first five days of the week ever. The closest was Sunday, July 19-Thursday, July 23 with 847 cases.

December’s statistics (mtd: 2,545 cases) will surpass August (3,299) and may come close to the July numbers (5,387).

Statewide per News Service of Florida

— 1,181,483: Total number of cases since the pandemic started.

— 13,000: Increase in cases from a Thursday count.

— 20,401: Deaths of Florida residents.

— 96: Increase in Florida resident deaths from a Thursday count.

— 7,859: Deaths of residents and staff members of long-term care facilities.

— 23: Increase in long-term care deaths from a Thursday count.

— 24: Counties with at least 100 long-term care deaths (Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Broward, Hillsborough, Polk, Brevard, Lee, Duval, Sarasota, Orange, Volusia, St. Lucie, Marion, Seminole, Escambia, Manatee, Collier, Pasco, Martin, Hernando, Lake, Okaloosa and Osceola).

Did Gov. Ron DeSantis jinx Florida?

On Tuesday, DeSantis bragged, “A lot of these experts were saying that the United States, because of Thanksgiving, was going to have this massive surge, there was going to be all this problem because people had the gall to go see their family. Well, OK, look at the national indicators since Thanksgiving. It’s actually gone down.”

Statewide, since Thanksgiving, new cases per day and hospitalizations have both increased by about a third.

DeSantis hid White House Task Force reports

Due to the lawsuit filed by the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun Sentinel, DeSantis has released four weekly White House Coronavirus Task Force reports.

The Nov. 22 report – the week of Thanksgiving – the task force placed Florida in the red zone for cases, indicating 101 or more new cases per 100,000 population. Florida was in the orange zone for test positivity, indicating a rate between 8.0% and 10.0%, with the 37th highest rate in the country.

The reported stated, “Florida has seen an increase in new cases, elevated test positivity, and now week over week increasing hospitalizations. Florida must increase its mitigation as hospitalizations rise and LTCF are again under full threat.”

Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties were in the red zone, Escambia and Bay in orange zone – The county commissioners, public and media weren’t notified.


3 thoughts on “Escambia sets new COVID record

  1. Mr. Lewis,

    The latest surge of mayoral politicking aside, and on a distinct topic, the insinuations against Keith Wilkins’s administration mixed in above make me wonder if you are aware that he is one of the only–it not *the* only– elected or appointed public official in this area to enact every single measure he is capable of enacting in his own right to keep his staff and the citizens of our community safe from covid.

    When you railed against Keith for not living in the City, I thought it odd given that he only moved out of the City three years ago, and probably spends more time in his office downtown than he does at home; I’m also willing to bet that the greater majority of the hours he has been at home this year have been on his computer working, because, whether a person agrees with his policies and their results, you don’t achieve the kind of output and impact he does during a pandemic and a hurricane without working like a dog. Again, all other subjects aside, Keith’s covid policies have had concrete, significant results in keeping his staff as safe as possible in this climate of lunatic obstructionism, in comparison with his covid denying compatriots in leadership roles at the City, the County, among our delegation, and at a State level.

    Perhaps if you would like to feel better about how things are going with covid in the City, you should take a gander at how County staff, and the County in general, is faring under Janice Gilley, who is a covid denier extraordinaire.

    Even more dangerous than her singular, reckless, and ignorant autocracy is the commission that has fallen down over the course of months and months to stop the bleeding, as her increased executive power during the double states of Sally and covid emergencies has developed into a scenario that is–quite literally–deadly for County staff and every single citizen who has entered a County building or had physical proximity to an agent of the County during this pandemic.

    You’ve “heard that a lot of city employees have been out with the virus or had to quarantine because of exposure”? What a luxurious world you have over in the City with an administration that takes quarantine seriously.

    At the County, Gilley, our own special homegrown Sidney Powell, has followed active policies of aggressively spreading covid.

    Again, let me repeat: she hasn’t just denied the seriousness of covid, but she and her “leadership” have implemented policies that she apparently thinks will bring her staff and our community more quickly to herd immunity.

    As a result:

    –We have NO idea how many staff have been or are infected with covid at the County, as she hides the active cases from fellow coworkers, the commission, and anybody else who may have come into contact with them.

    –There are currently three more ECAT drivers with covid, two of them hospitalized, and people aren’t sure what the exact all-told count of covid cases is in that division, but it’s at least ten and maybe more than a dozen. We’ve already had one driver who was newly retired die after being ventilated.

    –Two Fridays ago, a relatively young and healthy County staff member was finally removed from his ventilator after a long battle with covid and passed that day. You won’t see him memorialized publicly, nobody in Administration will dare whisper his name (unless Janice, who is so paranoid about my advocacy it resulted in her listening device stunt, sees this column and directs Laura Coale to react to it), nor has there been any ability for Staff to come together in support of the family, as they don’t hear about it except through the telephone game and sometimes days later.

    –In that very same division, a man is home quarantining with an active case of covid, while the County allows his wife, who is also a staff member, to come to work.

    **While the City writes people up for breaking covid quarantine to come to work, the County considers it a badge of honor.

    –The Code department has had a good deal of spread, and cases serious enough to send a young staff member to the hospital with grave issues. While all the while the code officers still aren’t masking as they make calls on houses, despite the direct orders of their supervisors, who, as is the case with County management across the board, can’t enforce anything because the policies and retribution of Gilley and her cohort completely disable the ability for managers who would like to enact the proper policies to do so.

    –It is widely reported that Laura Coale, the head of Communications, is not just an active covid denier, but refused to get tested for far too long after she came into prolonged and immediate contact with someone who tested positive, bridling at the suggestion that she do so and telling people “she didn’t need to get tested because she felt fine.” Once she finally claimed to have been tested, nobody knew whether to believe her. On top of it, she and other managers are overtly hostile to any employees who try to take measures to protect themselves by following CDC guidelines.

    –While the head of HR, Jana Still, was herself home quarantining with an active case of covid, she was busy helping to hide other cases and orchestrating the difficulties of County staff to obtain the proper support to be able to quarantine themselves. (The County punishes its workers financially for quarantining.)

    –We have NO idea what in the hell is going on in the jail, other than the numbers they are putting out are quite clearly bogus with a that claim over a hundred inmates have been “cleared” of covid while almost twenty are POOF out of the system and there’s no more issue there. Meanwhile, nothing has been done to move the pregnant inmates out of the system, and there are widespread reports that the Medical Director of the jail, Dr. Edler, isn’t, shall we say, very hands-on over there. What we *do* know is that the BOCC was shocked by the news at the last meeting that there have been multiple civil rights lawsuits brought against the County by inmates with the prison system, and that the County can’t even get anybody to insure them on the jail now (which isn’t much of a surprise, at all). Councilwoman Meyers has repeatedly tried to impact the situation at the jail, to no avail. Nobody at the County seems to care except Lumon May.

    –Gilley has been aware that the commissioners have been in direct proximity of staff who have tested positive, but has kept them in the dark about the diagnosis, with them having to hear it from other avenues.

    –Not only is there no mask mandate to enter County buildings, but higher-ups and division leads at the County flagrantly endanger people by wearing no masks. The degree to which this happened at the last meeting was deplorable, as Laura Coale and other managers literally put their faces in other people’s faces while they were receiving proclamations and encouraged them to take their masks off for photos while doing so. This included parents who travelled here from out of town for their daughter’s award, because apparently if there’s anything more satisfying to them than actively trying to spread covid among Escambia County, it’s trying to spread it outward from here to infect other communities–precisely as happened with jail transfers coming out of Escambia.

    There’s more; that’s just the greatest hits off the top of my head. So if you really are desirous of impacting the covid orange alert in our community, and not just using it to politic (and I’m certainly not assuming the latter), it would help us all if you focused on the correct targets. I certainly don’t agree with everything Grover does, and some of his waffling in and out of denial on what is necessary has driven me nuts, but in the end he has still done far more as an elected official than anyone but Keith Wilkins working within his parameters as an appointee and Lumon May on the County Commission. I didn’t agree with Grover asking the Council to rescind the mask ordinance at all, for example. But at the same time, he’s got walls of willful ignorance and a stunning lack of value on human life on a federal, state, and County level to contend with right now. Maybe if he got some support from the BOCC, rather than Janice’s back of the hand, dishonest games with CARES money and four of the commissioners being more worried about the Republican party than saving people’s lives, we might see some stronger results out of the mayor.

    On that we’ll never know, unless the BOCC shapes up pretty quickly and decides to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, and 2021 pretty quickly sees Janice Gilley out the door, resting content with having blown up our Public Safety close to the point of no repair while a pandemic is raging. Anything short of that, and you’re going to be hearing, and very soon, about a lot worse problems than City workers quarantining unbeknownst to the Council. And shame on anyone quarantining who has not let their community know to keep everybody safe. Anybody who mistakes this virus as something to be hidden out of political brainwashing it putting all of us at risk, and never more so than when they are agents of our government.

  2. CJ, the city mask mandate has not had a positive impact. Infection rates in the city as compared to the unincorporated part of the county are actually slightly higher. Masks don’t make a difference.

  3. On Thursday, I had to go to the Walmart on Creighton Road. Just within the first 2-3 minutes of being in the store, I must have counted a dozen people not wearing masks to include a mother with her infant child. The place is a death trap. I even saw someone working in the store, a vendor putting stock up on the shelf, who was not wearing a mask. On the other hand, Mayor Robinson claims that he is vigorously enforcing the City Council’s mask ordinance even telling a councilmember so. I also heard that a lot of city employees have been out with the virus or had to quarantine because of exposure. It would be nice if someone reported on that story, or even just told the City Council being kept in the dark.

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