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COVID Live Blog: Week Of Aug. 16

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Wednesday, Aug. 18

Hospitalizations in Pensacola
Baptist Health Care released statistics Wednesday that shows how the rise of COVID cases has been affecting the health care organization. From July 1 to Aug. 17, Baptist has had 395 hospitalizations — 321 of patients were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Of those hospitalizations, 106 were in ICU where a majority were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, and 24 patients were on ventilators. Of those 24 on ventilators, only one patient was fully vaccinated.

The City of Pensacola's daily hospitalizations report shows 385 patients as of the morning of Aug. 18 across the three local hospitals.

Vaccine Drive This Friday
A vaccine drive will be hosted this Friday, Aug. 20 at Artel Gallery as part of Gallery Night going virtual.

The vaccine drive will be hosted by Community Health Northwest Florida and will be open to ages 18 and up. The first 100 eligible people to make an appointment for the drive will receive a $25 gift card. To make an appointment, call 850-439-3358.

COVID Testing Available At Santa Rosa Medical Clinic
Santa Rosa Medical Group is offering COVID testing at two locations:

  • Avalon Walk-In Clinic: 4264 Avalon Blvd., Milton. 850-981-4000
  • Navarre Walk-In Clinic, 7456 Navarre Parkway. 850-981-4015

Testing is available from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; an appointment is not necessary. Sites offer rapid antigen tests allowing results to be available in approximately 20 minutes. Insurance information will be collected. For non-insured patients, the cost is $70.
Tuesday, Aug. 17
Updates from Florida Hospital Association
In a release Tuesday afternoon, the Florida Hospital Association shared their latest COVID-19 data:

  • Current Confirmed COVID-19 Hospitalizations: 16,521
  • Percent of Previous Peak (7/23/20): 162%
  • Total New COVID-19 Cases: 21,669
  • Inpatient Bed Availability (all patients): 14.2%
  • Inpatient ICU Bed Availability (adults): 8.2%
  • Percent of Inpatients with Confirmed COVID-19 (all patients): 36.1%

In a survey from hospitals representing 83% of Florida’s acute care hospital beds, FHA found that 22.5% of patients are in ICU and 15.1% are on ventilators. About 75.6% of hospitals are expecting critical staffing shortages in the next seven days. See more information, here.

Changes to CHNWF Testing
Community Health Northwest Florida has discontinued its drive-through testing operation at Brownsville Community Center to allow for the Escambia County DOH to move in and begin its 5 days a week drive-through testing at that location.

CHNWF will be conducting drive-through testing at Cantonment Pediatrics this Wednesday 8/18 and Friday 8/20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., rapid tests (by appointment) and PCR send-out tests (no appointment needed). Rapid test appointments can be made by calling 850.390.4276.

Monday, Aug. 16

FDOH Pensacola COVID Testing Schedule
The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County (FDOH-Escambia) is coordinating with Statlab to expand testing offerings within the community, and is announcing a change in location and hours of operation for specimen collection for COVID-19 offered to all persons with or without symptoms beginning this Tuesday, August 17.

When: Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. CT at Brownsville Community Center, 3200 West De Soto St.

Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. CT at FDOH-Escambia Fairfield, 1295 West Fairfield Drive, Pensacola, FL

Who: All persons (ages 2 and up) with or without symptoms.

How: Drive-thru, no appointment needed. Bring a valid form of identification. PCR testing with results available within 24 hours. Questions can be directed to FDOH-Escambia’s COVID-19 phone line at 850-595-6500 option 6.

GCVHCS Mobile Medical Unit to Provide COVID-19 Vaccinations in Defuniak Springs, Crestview and Milton

The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System’s newly acquired Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) is scheduled to provide COVID-19 vaccinations at three areas in Florida over the next two weeks, an effort designed to ensure Veterans, caregivers and other eligible beneficiaries have the opportunity to receive an immunization against the disease.

The MMU is scheduled at Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 4437 in Defuniak Springs, Florida, Sept. 1 and at VFW Post 5450 in Crestview, Florida, Aug. 25 Each walk-in vaccination event – no appointment is necessary – is scheduled from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m.

New Testing Site in Santa Rosa County
Beginning 8 a.m. Thurs., Aug. 19, NOMI Health will expand COVID-19 testing through two new testing sites in Santa Rosa County.

These will be located at the following locations operating from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily, Monday through Sunday.

Testing will be offered on a first come, first served basis, with no pre-screening or appointment required. Sites will offer walk-up testing with both PCR (24-48 hour results) or rapid antigen testing (20-minute results) available. Testing is available to insured and uninsured citizens. Insurance information will be collected.

For further information regarding these COVID testing sites contact NOMI Health Call Center at 904-295-0562.


Clyde L. Gracey Community Center
5629 Byrom Street Milton, Florida

Midway Flea Market
5760 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, Florida.

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Aug. 18 At VFW 4833 in Milton
The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System's (GCVHCS) Mobile Medical Unit will be at the Veterans Of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 4833, located at 5918 Carroll Road in Milton, for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic Aug. 18 from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. for Veterans, caregivers and other eligible beneficiaries.

Friday, Aug. 13
Florida Weekly COVID Data
In the FDOH report published Friday, the state reported 151,415 cases added last week. New case positivity is 19.3%. An additional 286 deaths were reported bringing the total to 40,766.

65% of the population is vaccinated although doses administered have decreased by nearly 50,000 comparing the last two weeks.

Thursday, Aug. 12
Escambia County Enhances COVID-19 Dashboard

Escambia County announced today an enhancement of the COVID-19 dashboard will include a breakdown of adult and pediatric hospitalizations data provided by local hospitals.

It now also displays the percentage of partially and fully vaccinated Escambia County residents with data sourced from the CDC. The dashboard is updated Monday through Friday. 

The latest data shows that 38% of the county has been fully vaccinated.

Wednesday, Aug. 11
COVID-19 Report From Okaloosa County Department of Health
Dr. Karen Chapman, director of FDOH in Escambia, resumed her weekly COVID reports. In her latest released today, she reported that the three Okaloosa County hospitals have a total of 181 patients with COVID. "The highest we've ever seen," she wrote. Of the patients, 93.9% were unvaccinated. 12% of people are 18-44 years old and 40% are people 45-64 years old.

Other takeaways from the report:

  • Okaloosa County saw an increase of 392 COVID cases in the past week with a 28.4% positivity rate. The community risk level is rated high.
  • An additional 6 deaths were also reported.
  • A majority of the cases are people 25-44 years old
  • Vaccinations are on the rise in Okaloosa County. As of last week, 48% of the population over the age of 12 is vaccinated.

Latest Report From Pensacola Hospitals
Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson shared the latest data on COVID-19 hospitalizations, which has reached 343 among the three local hospitals.

"I cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting vaccinated, and I encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are able," he said.

Tuesday, Aug 10
Florida Tops 15,000 New Cases
From the News Service of Florida:
Florida reported 15,322 new COVID-19 cases and 16 COVID-19 deaths on Monday, according to data posted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Monday, Aug. 9

Escambia County School District COVID-19 Information
On Friday, the Escambia County School District their COVID-19 information. Protocols for students experiencing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or have received a positive diagnostic test should not attend school or any school-sponsored activities until the student receives a negative COVID-19 test and is asymptomatic, 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms or positive test, or student receives written permission to return to school from a medical doctor, osteopathic physician or advanced registered nurse practitioner.

Read the entire guidelines sheet here.
Thursday, Aug. 5

Okaloosa County COVID-19 Test Locations
Need a COVID-19 test in Okaloosa County? Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County has a list of testing sites. Click here for more info.

Ascension Changes Visitor Policies

Effective today, Ascension Sacred Heart has changed its visitation policies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The policy changes are as follows:

  • One designated visitor per patient is allowed in the main hospital. All visitors to the main hospital must be over age 12.
  • One designated visitor is allowed to accompany or visit a patient in the emergency department or procedural areas.
  • Two designated visitors per day are allowed to visit patients in Studer Family Children's Hospital and the Maternity Center.
  • One designated support person wearing adequate personal protective equipment is allowed to visit a patient with COVID-19. However, visitors are not allowed in a patient room where an aerosol generating procedure is being performed and may cause the release of airborne particles. Procedures include certain respiratory treatments, suctioning, and intubation.
  • The hospital has reduced visiting hours in its Intensive Care Units.
  • Visitors continue to be required to wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose, especially in patient’s rooms, regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status.
  • All visitors should wash their hands before entering or exiting patient rooms.

Wednesday, Aug. 4

Okaloosa DOH Director Reports Local Surge
Okaloosa Department of Health Director Dr. Karen Chapman sent a report Wednesday about the local surge and high transmission in the county.

"The Okaloosa COVID-19 surge in new cases continues," she wrote. "Community transmission is very high. In fact our new cases per 100,000 is as high as it was during the winter surge of Dec 2020-Jan 2021."

The case rate is 65% higher than this time last year, she added. Percent positivity is at 25.3%.

The age group most impacted by this surge is 25 – 64 years old. Of the 925 cases in Okaloosa residents last week, 613 (66.3% of cases) occurred in this age group.

This age group represented 38.3% of hospitalizations for COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to Dr. Chapman's report.

"As a frame of reference, last year we saw 552 new cases during week 30," she added.

Some good news: first doses of vaccine administered jumped 126% last week over the previous week. This is the first significant new uptake of vaccine in months, said Dr. Chapman.

City of Pensacola Latest Hospitalizations Report
The City of Pensacola reported Wednesday afternoon that hospitalizations have climbed from 242 across all three local hospitals. See the graphic here.

Baptist Health Care Hospitalizations
Baptist Health Care reported Tuesday night that hospitalizations for COVID-19 are rapidly increasing at their facilities. In a press release, the health care system said from July 1, 2021, to Aug. 3, 2021, Baptist Health Care has treated a total of 178 patients who have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

Of those, 150 reported upon admission that they were unvaccinated, which means that they have not received a COVID-19 vaccine or have received only one dose of a two-dose series.

"Baptist Health Care encourages everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their community," the release said.

Monday, Aug. 2

Santa Rosa County COVID Update
Santa Rosa County is seeing a rapid uptick of cases. As of the report released by the Florida Department of Health on Fri., July 30, there were 772 positive cases with a positivity rate of 27.6%. The week prior, the positivity rate was 23.2% with 441 cases. As of July 30, 71,607 Santa Rosa County residents have been vaccinated (this number includes those who have received at least one shot of Moderna or Pfizer).

COVID Testing Resumes Today At Community Health Northwest Florida
Community Health Northwest Florida will resume drive-through community testing operations at Brownsville Community Center. Hours of Operation are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Brownsville Community Center, 3200 W. De Soto Street. Eligibility is for all ages

Important Scheduling Information:

  • Rapid test: For symptomatic individuals only.Appointment is required. Call the CHNWF COVID-19 Testing Call Center at 850-390-4276 to be scheduled.
  • Send out (PCR) test: For individuals with or without symptoms.No appointment is necessary. Individuals may drive through at their convenience during regular hours ofoperation.
  • All adult participants will be required to show photo ID at time of appointment.
  • All adult participants should wear a face covering at time of appointment.
  • Additional information on Community Health Northwest Florida COVID-19 testing is available by calling the Community Health COVID-19 Testing Call Center at 850-390-4276.

Wednesday, July 28

Santa Rosa Schools Revises COVID Guidelines For 21-22 School Year

Santa Rosa County School District officials have revised the COVID guidelines for the 21-22 school year.

The new guidelines handle quarantine protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated students and create pathways for students without symptoms to stay in school, according to a press release from the school district. Vaccinated students who are asymptomatic will not have quarantine, non-vaccinated asymptomatic students can also remain in school under such guidelines as daily screens for symptoms and recommended mask use. Symptomatic students who are unvaccinated should quarantine, under the guidelines. Any symptomatic student, regardless of a positive case, will be sent to the school clinic and parents may be required to pick up the student. The student will be able to return once they are symptom-free without medication for 24 hours. If a student experiences a new loss of taste or smell, they are advised to follow the FDOH guidance for isolation.

For more on the school's COVID guidance, visit santarosa.k12.fl.us/covid19info

Florida Humanities Announces New Emergency Relief Grants for Humanities Organizations Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic

Florida Humanities offers up to $2 million in grant funding for general operating support to humanities organizations that continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Florida Humanities’ American Rescue Plan grants will direct funds to eligible organizations for short-term, general operating support. Funding is intended to meet immediate operational needs in order for organizations to maintain the delivery of public humanities programming and resources in their communities.

Funding is available for general operating support, such as salaries for internal staff and contracted employees, rent/mortgage, utilities, insurance, and technology. Awards will be up to $25,000 for eligible organizations with annual budgets of less than $2 million. Applications will only be accepted from organizations such as museums, archives, historical societies, and cultural centers whose primary mission is humanities-focused or can demonstrate a substantial track record of regularly occurring public humanities work. All applicants must also be able to demonstrate continued financial hardship due to the direct effects of the pandemic.

Applications for the Florida Humanities’ American Rescue Plan grant are due September 1, 2021, at 12 p.m. EDT. There will also be a virtual informational webinar on July 30, 2021, at 9 a.m. EDT that potential applicants are encouraged to attend.

To review the full eligibility requirements and application instructions, as well as register for the virtual informational webinar, please visitwww.FloridaHumanities.org/ARP.

Updated: July 29, 2021 at 12:09 PM CDT