On Tuesday, June 23, the Florida Department of Health reported Escambia County had 42 new COVID-19 cases with 8.3% positivity rate and Santa Rosa had 8 new cases and 6.8% rate.
DOH Santa Rosa issued an announcement encouraging residents and visitors to wear face masks.
DOH Escambia sent out nothing on masks. The Escambia County Daily Update #129 didn’t mention masks and instead promoted Commissioner Bender’s video – “Bender Briefing,” Commissioner Jeff Bergosh’s virtual coffee with Baptist ministers and the library’s virtual story time – “Rhinos Who Rescue.”
On Wednesday, June 24, the Florida Department of Health reported Escambia County had 59 new COVID-19 cases with 16.9% positivity rate– New Records.
DOH Escambia again sent out nothing on masks. The Escambia County Daily Update #130 didn’t mention masks but told citizens to watch Bergosh’s virtual coffee if they missed it.
On Thursday, June 25, the Florida Department of Health reported Escambia County had 81 new COVID-19 cases with 3.7% positivity rate– New daily record for new cases.
DOH Escambia sent out nothing on masks. The Escambia County Daily Update #131 didn’t mention masks.
Thursday morning I criticized Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley for not releasing more info on the pandemic and not mentioning the importance of wearing face masks. Read more.
Then at 5:55 p.m. yesterday, the county sent out an email – “Escambia County Continues to Encourage Residents to Take Preventative Action Against COVID-19.”
Gilley assured the public: “Escambia County continues to stay in daily contact with health officials at the Florida Department of Health and local hospitals in regard to public health concerns related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).”
Then why isn’t the county providing more detailed information on the spread of the virus in Escambia?
The email had a long quote from the county’s emergency director, Eric Gilmore, that probably took all day for the Gilley and her leadership team to craft. It’s definitely the most that Gilmore has ever said in one sitting:
“We want to remind the public that it is extremely important to continue to social distance, avoid close contact with people, and it is recommended to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible as there has been a rise in cases in Escambia County as well as younger people testing positive.”–Manager Eric Gilmore.
“Through conversations with the Florida Department of Health, we have learned that COVID-19 is likely to spread from an infected individual when in close contact with someone, like riding in vehicles together. While our hospital systems are in good shape right now in terms of available beds and ventilators, we need to ensure we are all social distancing to keep it this way. Please continue to wash your hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, social distance, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as well as it is recommended to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible.”
No info on where the new cases – 182 over three days – are popping up. Is Pensacola Beach safe? Downtown Pensacola? Cordova Mall? Why are so many people under the age of 30 getting tested?
The public has no info on how to make safe decisions about their lives.
It’s typical of Gilley to cover up her lack of transparency with a half-hearted announcement sent after the end of the business day.
SDS – Sh$t Doug Said
District 2 Commissioner Doug Underhill sent out a mass email to county voters at the end of March. He wrote, “Our environment is not as conducive to COVID-19 as the northern tier states like NY and WA. ”
County Administrator Gilley never corrected the commissioner.
Now, summer has arrived, and Escambia County is setting new daily records for COVID cases.
He also stated: “The government owes you the rigor and discipline of fact-based, not fear-based, decision making.”
It’s impossible for the public and elected officials to make fact-based information when the facts aren’t shared. Broad explanations of the recent outbreak – like blaming car pools — are useless and frankly bullsh$t.
On April 20, Underhill set out another email headed with this George Orwell quote: “In A Time of Universal Deceit Telling The Truth Is A Revolutionary Act.” He argued that positivity rate was the same before and after social distancing and the “lockdown.”
The new cases have shot up two weeks after a lockdown-free Memorial Day weekend – experts say the incubation period for the virus is two weeks – setting new records statewide and locally.
Yet, the county administration isn’t sharing the “truth” about the steep “uptick.” Only an idiot would be believe the 182 cases since Monday are due to people riding in a car together.
The “Universal Deceit” is to feed the public cow manure and tell them it’s a brownie.
Since April 20, the county has had only one press conference – on May 1 about beach reopening.
The DOH Escambia didn’t give Underhill and his fellow commissioners an update until June 18 – an agenda add-on 60 days after his April 20 email. Hardly a sign of anyone in the county administration seeking the “truth.”
Inweekly isn’t advocating for closing the beaches or businesses. However, the county needs to share all the information it has from its “daily contact with health officials at the Florida Department of Health and local hospitals.”
The administrator and her staff need to hold a press conference and answer questions. Gilley can pick the restaurant, bar or any location that she believes it’s safe for the public to go.