COVID LATEST NUMBERS
The number of confirmed COVID 19 cases are rising as more and more testing is being done. The Florida Department of Health confirms 67-hundred-41 cases, with 85 deaths. The percentage of positive cases among those being tested is 10.3 percent. Escambia County has had 94 confirmed cases, and Santa Rosa County has had 44 confirmed cases.
TEST NUMBERS FROM HOSPITALS
Over 3,000 people have now been tested for COVID-19 in Escambia County. North Escambia dot com says as of last night, Community Health, West Florida Hospital, Baptist Hospital and Sacred Heart Hospital had tested 3,038 people. Of those, 327 tests were done in hospitals, and 2,711 were tested at drive-thru locations. There were 39 tests performed Tuesday at the a new drive-thru testing site in Cantonment. There is big difference in the numbers provided by the hospitals and numbers from the Florida Department of Health. As of last night, the FDOH reported only 919 tests have been performed in Escambia County.
SAFETY GOGGLES TO SACRED HEART
Safety goggles going unused in school science departments across the county are now going to help medical workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight. Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital contacted him over the weekend because their clinical leaders were looking for safety goggles they could use when interacting with both potential and confirmed COVID-19 patients. Teachers at Tate and four Escambia County high schools had located 763 pairs of safety goggles to be donated to Sacred Heart. The goggles will be put to use immediately and can be cleaned and used repeatedly.
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE DOWN
A University of Florida survey shows the pandemic is causing a drop in consumer confidence. The UF Survey Research Center’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research says the March decline is the largest in the history of the poll. Consumer confidence among Floridians plummeted 13.5 points in March to 88.8 from a revised figure of 102.3 in February.
One local elected official is calling for loosening of social distancing measures. In an email this week to registered voters in Escambia County, Commissioner Doug Underhill says he believes the facts about COVID-29 “support caution, but not fear and frenzy.” Underhill said he wants to reopen the county’s beaches, which are currently closed through tomorrow, and called on the governor to allow restaurants to return to on-site dining at 50% capacity. Another commissioner, Jeff Bergosh, has also said he will have a hard time voting to keep the beaches closed when the commission discusses the issue tomorrow.
HOSPITAL VISIT LIMITS
The Santa Rosa Medical Center and Pace ER are restricting all non-essential visitors to limit patients’ and staff exposure to COVID-19. Patients’ loved ones are encouraged to communicate with them by cellphone, FaceTime, Skype or other digital means. Patients admitted can be reached directly by calling 626-5, plus their room number. Visitors who accompany emergency room patients will be asked to wait in their vehicles until the hospital staff notifies the visitor that the patient is discharged. Outpatient surgery patients can choose to also wait in their vehicle or at home, depending on the length of the patient’s procedure.
ST ENGINEERING SHUTS DOWN
ST Engineering Aerospace is expected to reopen it’s facility today after shutting down on Tuesday. The closing came after the company learned one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. The individual had not been at the facility since March 18th. The down time was used to clean and disinfect the facility.
Beaches will remain closed for now in Okaloosa County. On Tuesday, the county commission extended a state of emergency and say they will review the restrictions weekly through April but they voted unanimously to keep the beach restrictions in place.Okaloosa County also decided to close the fishing pier over concerns about people not following social distancing guidelines.
The state continues to get hit with an avalanche of new unemployment claims. The agency in charge of handling unemployment says improvements to speed applications are being made daily and a new mobile app will soon launch as the Governor continues to waive requirements. The state had 74,313 people apply for unemployment the week of March 21. Last week they tripled to just over 222,000.