We have so much to share:
Santa Rosa County had its fifth COVID-19 fatality yesterday.
County Administrator Janice Gilley has told commissioners that she plans to fire the head of union for ECAT workers, Mike Lowery. Lowery, who is the head of ATU Local has called out Gilley for misstating facts about the safety for county workers.
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Health reports that three of the county’s four COVID-19 deaths were tied to local nursing homes. As of last night, Escambia County has 52 positive cases in long-term care facilities. Yet, the EOC SitRep for April 16 made no mention of the problem.
Also, county administration reported its first COVID-19 case: An Escambia County public works employee has tested positive for COVID-19. This position does not interact with the community and is located at a small building without public access on Pensacola Beach, 25 Via De Luna Drive. The office area has been sanitized and the employee’s office door has been closed. At this time, no other employees in that building show symptoms, and one employee is in self-quarantine out of precaution. Employees who work in that building have been notified.
The employee is symptomatic and is at home. This case is not travel related. The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County is performing its due diligence to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 by tracing all contacts.
“We are concerned for this employee and pray for a quick recovery,” said County Administrator Janice Gilley.
However, the county didn’t release the location of the “small building” until Inweekly pressed for the information.
Gilley also has begun discussing “reopening” Escambia County. She told her staff and commissioner that her “experts” have told her the virus will peak next Monday or Tuesday.
Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan D. Boyles last week asked the boards of Santa Rosa and Escambia to join him in opening all the beaches in the three-county area for “a few hours each morning and a few hours each evening and limiting the use to active exercise purposes such as walking, jogging, swimming, paddling and perhaps fishing.”
The county administration hasn’t shared this with the public, but Inweekly obtained through a record request.
From: Nathan Boyles <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: April 1, 2020 at 10:19:36 AM CDT
To: “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “County-Admin@santarosa.fl.gov” <County-Admin@santarosa.fl.gov>, Admin <Admin@myescambia.com>, District1 <District1@co.escambia.fl.us>, District2 <District2@co.escambia.fl.us>, District3 <District3@co.escambia.fl.us>, District4 <District4@co.escambia.fl.us>, District5 <District5@co.escambia.fl.us>
Cc: John Hofstad <email@example.com>
Subject: [EXTERNAL]Commissioner to Commissioner: Local use of Beaches
I hope this email finds each of you staying healthy in this difficult time. I write as a fellow Northwest Florida Commissioner grappling with the sticky issue of beach closures. Okaloosa County has closed our beaches to all members of the public just as all of you have. I would anticipate that you, like me, are getting many requests to allow locals to make use of the beaches. Based on constituent feedback, I have proposed opening the beaches for a few hours each morning and a few hours each evening and limiting the use to active exercise purposes such as walking, jogging, swimming, paddling and perhaps fishing. In my view chairs, umbrellas or otherwise setting up on the beach would be prohibited. I would likewise expect that bathroom facilities would remain closed.
It seems that this would allow us to grant some relief to our local population to get fresh air and exercise while maintaining proper social distancing and without encouraging any visitor traffic to our communities.
A major point of opposition to this idea was that we would attract visitors from adjacent communities whose beaches are closed. However, if we all implemented these rules consistently and simultaneously, I believe we could largely overcome these concerns.
My fear is that we are in this for the long haul and while our citizens may endure the beach closure for a few weeks, a few months may become very unpalatable.
So the question is: Are there any among you who would be willing to sponsor a consistent resolution in your county provided that all the counties from Bay to Escambia adopted consistent and simultaneous action? I am not seeking to poll your boards, just looking to determine if their are sponsors in every jurisdiction. Please reply if you are interested in being a sponsor with your thoughts on how the action should be shaped.
PLEASE DO NOT REPLY ALL.
Stay safe and please let me know if Okaloosa County can do anything to support you and your County in this difficult time.
My direct number is 582-2211 should you prefer a phone conversation.
Nathan D. Boyles
Commissioner, District 3
|6 p.m.||6 p.m.||Increase|
|Esc LTC cases||49||52||3||6.12%|
TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Health released updated numbers Thursday evening about the coronavirus in the state. Here are some takeaways:
— 23,340: Total number of cases.
— 443: Increase in cases from a Thursday morning count.
— 668: Deaths of Florida residents.
— 35: Increase in deaths from a Thursday morning count.
— 1,454: Cases involving residents or staff members of long-term care facilities.
— 60: Increase in cases involving long-term care facilities from a Thursday morning count.
— 136: Deaths involving residents or staff members of long-term care facilities.
— 10: Increase in deaths involving long-term care facilities from a Thursday morning count.
— 83: Total cases in Suwannee County.
— 73: Suwannee County cases involving residents or staff members of long-term care facilities.
— 23: Total cases in Jefferson County.
— 18: Jefferson County cases involving residents or staff members of long-term care facilities.
Source: Florida Department of Health