LEADER: Health officials say more than 30,000 Florida residents have died from COVID-19, but hospitalizations and cases continue to decline – including in northwest Florida, according to Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson.
During his weekly virtual news conference Monday morning, Robinson praised the decline in overall cases and admissions over the past few days. During this time, cases have dropped below the seven percent threshold.
“We were at 5.21% on February 20, which goes from 5.67; 2.89, [and] 5.2, ”said the mayor. “So it’s very good to be 5%; anything under seven, under six, really brings us back to where we need to be. ”
COVID-19 admissions to the three major hospitals – Baptist, West Florida and Sacred Heart – are also in decline.
“[Sunday] they were at 104; they have hovered at that level – 107, 108, 113 and now 104, ”said Robinson. “We hope to get two digits soon. And if we get these things, we start looking at what we can do – masks ordinance and other measures – to alleviate them. But we must continue to see what is going on. “
If the downward trend continues, the mayor says there may be some changes in the city’s response to the virus.
“We can work with the citizens; be less restrictive [but] if things go up, we have to get back to our good habits and keep doing it, ”the mayor said. “So we keep working through it; we stay on top of everything that happens with COVID. ”
Right now, the key – as is the case nationwide – is the vaccines and their availability. The weather last week delayed shipments to the Florida Department of Health. The agency expects to receive 2,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week.
Locally, work is underway to reschedule last week’s appointments for this week as shipments roll in.
The Holy Heart wants 400 [doses]”Baptist wants 400,” Robinson said. “Community health will have 800; DOH-Escambia 500, West Florida 200 and Woodland Specialists 200. ”
More information is available at escambiahealth.com.
“Do not contact providers directly for these agreements,” Robinson said. “They will work with you.”
Concerns about the difference between whites and minorities in the distribution continue to be expressed across the nation. In the Florida Panhandle, Robinson says the issue at this point is delivery, rather than distribution.
“When I look at distribution, I think we have a pretty good cross-section of Escambia County,” the mayor said. “I think some of it has also been, ‘What are we doing to reassure all members of society that there is a possibility and that it is safe to get the vaccine. And it will be necessary. ”
It’s crucial, says the mayor, that health officials and the city work with the black community to ensure that a vaccine – be it Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson or anything else – is available to everyone.
“I think we need to work with partners like the Alliance of Black Priests who are really working to make sure everyone understands the importance of getting the vaccine,” Robinson said. “And even though vaccines have had some stigmas in some of our communities, we need to look past that and really work together on this one.”
Later on Monday, DOH-Escambia County announced more vaccine is on its way to the Pensacola area. One thousand doses to the health department; 900 each to Sacred Heart and Baptist, Community Health Center 1,600, West Florida Hospital 400 doses and Woodlands 200.