A reader analyzed the COVID-19 deaths using the state’s case line report and found that the Florida Department of Health’s daily reports for county lags days, and maybe weeks, behind when the deaths actually happened.
The delay in reporting deaths has given Escambia County Commissioners and the public a false picture what was really happening in the community. The false sense of security may have impacted the commissioners’ decisions about how to combat the spread of the virus throughout the county.
When the Board of County Commissioner voted to reopen Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key beaches on April 28, FDOH reported Escambia County only had 11. Actually the county had 24 deaths.
When Governor Ron DeSantis reopened bars and restaurants to 50% capacity on June 5, FDOH’s county report showed Escambia had 36. The true number was 46.
On July 2, the Escambia County approved its “Mask Up” marketing campaign, rather than making face mask mandatory. FDOH reported 46 deaths. The county had 74 deaths.
On August 6, Commissioner Lumon May’s motion for a mask mandate died without a second. FDOH listed the county’s death toll at 115. The actual total was 137.
Inweekly will continue to report the deaths as FDOH does daily, but with the understanding the daily number represents what the agency has entered into the system that day and not the actual deaths that occurred on that date.