Safe-at-Home arrives as numbers rise

Thursday, April 2 as of 6 p.m., there were 9,008 total Florida cases of COVID-19 and 63 deaths. The statewide percentage of cases testing positive is climbing. A week ago, the state only had 2,484 cases and 29 deaths.

DOH: “While Florida’s testing has increased over the past week, the percent of those testing positive for COVID-19 overall is 11 percent. Of the 9,198 tests performed on April 1, there were 1,199 positive results, or 13 percent.”

From 6 p.m. Wednesday to Thursday afternoon, 43 people died who tested positive for COVID-19 in Broward, Collier, Dade, Duval, Flagler, Hillsborough, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, St. Lucie and Sumter counties.

Over the same period, Escambia had 5 more cases, increasing total to 101. Last Thursday, the county only had 20 cases. Santa Rosa had one more cases from 6 p.m. April 1 to April 2, total 15; Okaloosa up 7 new cases, total 51.

Mayor Grover Robinson reported that on Wednesday that Ascension Sacred Heart had received results on 2,291 of the sample collected – of which 121 were positive, 5.3%.

Escambia County provide this helpful report at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Escambia County 
Specimen Collection Data
Baptist Report April 2
*Note: 1 samples each in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties were not run by a lab.

Collection Info April 2
*Note: Inpatient numbers only include those patients who were admitted. Samples collected in the Emergency Department for patients NOT admitted are included in the outpatient/ambulatory counts.   

At yesterday’s EOC presser, Dr. John Lanza, director of the Department of Health in Escambia County, said we should expect testing to be expanded.

Inweekly asked: “Dr. Lanza, we’ve only tested about 1% of our population. Is there any talk about expanding testing beyond that 1% testing?”

“Yes, as the supplies are available–as more testing sites potentially will open up, there will be more testing available,” said Lanza. “Yes, there’s 3000 plus tests that have been done, and there is talk of in-office testing but that’s not available right now. But yes, my understanding is that a lot more testing supplies will be available in the near future.”


The Charts

The rise on cases in south Florida pushed Escambia County out of the Top 12 for Positive Cases:

Rank County Population Cases Per 30K
1 Dade     2,715,516 2886           31.88
2 Broward        924,229 1481           48.07
3 Palm Beach     1,446,277 737           15.29
4 Orange     1,321,194 541           12.28
5 Hillsborough     1,378,883 404             8.79
6 Duval        924,229 286             9.28
7 Lee        718,679 275           11.48
8 Pinellas        957,875 273             8.55
9 Collier        363,922 178           14.67
10 Osceola        338,619 170           15.06
11 Seminole        455,086 145             9.56
12 Sarasota        412,144 110             8.01
13 Polk        668,671 103             4.62
14 St. Johns        235,503 102           12.99
15 Volusia        527,634 102             5.80
16 Escambia        311,522 101             9.73
17 Alachua        263,148 95           10.83
18 Manatee        373,853 89             7.14
19 Lake        335,362 82             7.34
20 Sumter        120,999 66           16.36


Pensacola is ranked #15 in per capita cases

Rank City, County Population Cases Per 10K
1 Naples, Collier             21,564 145 67
2 Miami, Dade           451,214 1677 37
3 Miami Beach, Dade             91,826 294 32
4 Hollywood, Broward           151,056 474 31
5 Fort Lauderdale, Broward           178,783 355 20
6 Kissimmee, Osceola             69,833 128 18
7 Boynton Beach, Palm Bch             75,720 117 15
8 Fort Myers, Lee             76,591 114 15
9 Delray Beach, Palm Bch             67,353 100 15
10 Orlando, Orange           275,690 390 14
11 Boca Raton, Palm Beach             95,745 135 14
12 Pensacola, Escambia             52,562 70 13
13 Homestead, Dade             68,424 84 12
14 Hialeah, Dade           237,285 243 10
15 W. Palm Beach, Palm Bch           108,855 109 10

Spread over Escambia and Santa Rosa counties

Area Cases
Pensacola 70
Cantonment 15
Navarre 14
Gulf Breeze 11
Milton 14
Bellview 5
Pace 4
Perdido Key 1
Unknown 1

Safer-at-Home Now in Effect

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-91 went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, April 3 and expires on Monday, April 30, 2020, unless extended by subsequent order.

The order requires all persons in Florida to limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.

Individuals within the county are expected to follow the Governor’s Executive Order 20-91. The Executive Order allows for essential activities, including going to the store to buy food, medicine and cleaning supplies, accessing health care and banking.

Executive Order 20-91 includes the following directives and information:

Safer At Home

  • Senior citizens and individuals with a significant underlying medical condition (such as chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised status, cancer, diabetes, severe obesity, renal failure and liver disease) shall stay at home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  • All persons in Florida shall limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.

Essential Services

  • For purposes of this Order and the conduct it limits, “essential services” means and encompasses the list detailed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, v. 2 (March 28, 2020) and any subsequent lists published.
  • Essential services include, but are not limited to:
    • Healthcare/public health
    • Law enforcement, public safety and other first responders
    • Food and agriculture
    • Employees supporting the energy sector, including electricity, petroleum and natural gas industries
    • Water and wastewater
    • Transportation and logistics
    • Public works and infrastructure support services
    • Communications and information technology
    • Other community or government-based operations and essential functions
    • Critical manufacturing
    • Residential/shelter facilities and services
    • Hygiene products and services
    • View the full list of essential services and guidance here.
  • Essential services also include those businesses and activities designated by the governor’s Executive Order 20-89 which includes a list propounded by Miami-Dade County in multiple orders.
  • Other essential services may be added.
  • Nothing in this order prohibits individuals from working from home; indeed, the Order encourages individuals to work from home.
  • All businesses or organizations are encouraged to provide delivery, carry-out or curbside service outside of the business or organization, of orders placed online or via telephone, to the greatest extent practicable.

Essential Activities

  • For purposes of this Order and the conduct it limits, “essential activities” means and encompasses the following:
    • Attending religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship
    • Participating in recreational activities such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming
    • Taking care of pets
    • Caring for or otherwise assisting a loved one or friend
  • Escambia County strongly encourages all essential activities follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Other essential activities may be added to this list.
  • A social gathering in a public space is not an essential activity. Groups of people greater than ten are not permitted to congregate in any public space.

Read the governor’s executive order here.

Bus Fares Suspended

Beginning Monday, April 6, ECAT will temporarily suspend fare collection for passengers of ECAT bus services. In addition, bus passengers will be instructed to enter and exit through the rear doors only and sit behind the accessibility-reserved seating area. Front-door access will be permitted only for passengers needing the boarding ramp or operator assistance to access the bus. ADA accessible seating space near the front of the bus is reserved for individuals in mobility devices, individuals in need of special assistance and families with children in strollers.

The changes will provide some separation between the operator and the passengers—and between passengers. The changes are being implemented in addition to precautions already implemented by ECAT, including the rigorous and increased sanitizing efforts of every bus on a daily basis.

Escambia County Mass Transit Director Tonya Ellis stated, “In continuing service during this state of emergency, our priority remains the safety and health of our employees and passengers. By eliminating close interactions at bus fareboxes, we can better implement social distancing by avoiding interaction in this high contact area.”

The modifications to ECAT operations came after two weeks of lobbying by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1395 for safer work conditions of its drivers and the public.

Jobless Claims Skyrocket

From the News Service of Florida: Florida accounted for 227,000 of the 5.8 million unemployment claims filed across the nation last week, according to information released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor. Nationally, the number of new claims jumped 99.4 percent from the prior week as many businesses across the country have closed or scaled back because of COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus,” a Labor Department news release said. “States continued to identify increases (in claims) related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services. However, state comments indicated a wider impact across industries. Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries.”

When seasonally adjusted, the week-to-week initial claims skyrocketed to 6.65 million, a 98.9 percent jump from the prior week. The 227,000 new claims in Florida are not seasonally adjusted numbers.

Among other large states, California posted 878,727 initial claims, followed by Pennsylvania at 405,880, New York with 366,403, Michigan with 311,086, Texas at 275,597 and Ohio at 272,129. Most of those states issued stay-at-home orders in March, a move Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made on Wednesday. For Florida, the number of claims filed online for the week ending March 28 was up more than 200 percent from the prior week.

The Florida figures include more than 67,850 layoffs from the service, retail trade, manufacturing, wholesale trade, construction and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sectors, according to the Labor Department. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which will release its March jobless estimate on April 16, had earlier in the week estimated the number of new claims last week at 222,054.

Gilley Gets Help

After complaining for months about working 60-hour weeks, County Administrator Janice Gilley last night convinced the Escambia County Commission to approve her hiring two assistant county administrators that will make $136,000 each, plus $4,800 annual car allowance.

Debbie Bowers is a 1979 graduate of Tate High School. She’s currently employed as the managing director of DL Bowers Advisors, a Pensacola consulting partnership. She spent 10 years as chief commercial officer for the City of Los Angeles, five years with Broward County in roles that included interim deputy airport director for administration and an assistant to the county administrator.

Wesley Hall has served the past year as the interim county administrator for Gadsden County, Florida, spent six years at the revenue officer for the City of Tallahassee, operated several McDonald’s restaurants from 2005 to 2001 and was director of sales for the Florida Lottery from 2000 to 2005.

Wonder if Gilley’s furlough program will be last ones hired are the first sent home.

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