COVID-19 Cases Down In Pensacola
Could there be some light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel in Pensacola? That appears to be the belief of Mayor Grover Robinson, who shared the latest numbers Monday.
“Cases – the positivity rate is 3.85% from March 20 in Escambia County; that’s down significantly from before, although we’ve been at 2.52 – 2.52 and 1.33 on the 19th,” said Robinson.
Speaking at a now-reopened City Hall, the mayor added that hospitalizations at the three major hospitals – Baptist, West Florida and Ascension-Sacred Heart – are continuing to remain under 30.
“We had 30 on [March] 18, 25 on the 19th and 25 on the 20th; I believe we had 25 also on the 21,” said Robinson. “We haven’t been under 30 since May of last year; it shows, I think, the impact of what’s happening now with what we thought we’d see at some point when the vaccines began to kick in.”
That said, Robinson added that people should not let down their guard.
“I don’t think this virus is going anywhere, so we need to continue to think about what you’re doing and how you act and what you do,” Robinson said. “And look to avoid those places where you could contact COVID. And if not, if you’re in those settings, you need to think about wearing a mask, washing your hands, [and] social distancing as you can.”
The mayor has a request in to Gov. Ron DeSantis for additional vaccine. In the meantime, Ascension-Sacred Heart and Baptist hospitals told him Monday afternoon that Pfizer vaccine shipments are being doubled this week. Although good news, it remains 1,400 doses short of Robinson’s request for 9,000.
“I told ya’ll back in December – we’re going to start seeing the impact in March; what’s happened with the numbers since March 1?” the mayor asked. “Certainly we were coming down through February and the end of January, but we didn’t go this low in September. I think it is somehow, the vaccines are what are creating that.”
On another front, Mayor Robinson addressed last week’s shootings at three Atlanta-area spas, which left eight people dead – including six Asian-American women. There’s no doubt, said Robinson, that Asian-Americans have had played a significant role in the city of Pensacola.
“Some came after Korea; a large number came after Vietnam, we had a large number of Vietnam refugees here, [and] still a very solid part of our community,” said Robinson. “They have a great Japan-America Society, we have a great relationship with our sister city in Japan [Gero]. And certainly Asian-Americans have made a tremendous on this city and what we’ve done.”
Saying Pensacola has yet to recognize Asian-Americans and their local achievements, the mayor also announced that, along those lines, he would be making a presentation at a city council meeting – perhaps as early as this week.
“We don’t have anything here that recognizes Asian-Americans in any name, fashion, or whatever; There’s an opportunity for us to name the council chambers for former councilman P.C. Wu,” said Robinson. “He has been our only Asian-American council member. He was president of the Florida League of Cities, and I think in some ways it’s probably time we recognized our Asian-American history as well.”
Robinson was asked if there are plans for extra police protection for the Asian-American community in Pensacola. He said it’s something they can look into.
“I’ll talk to [Interim Police Chief Kevin Christman] and see what his thoughts are as far as what’s going on; but clearly at least we have not seen that kind of violence or concern against our Asian-American citizens,” said Robinson.
Besides the positives from the local Asian-American community – P.C. Wu and the Japan-America Society -- the mayor also pointed to several visits from Japan’s Consul General from Miami. Add to that Pensacola's Buddhist community -- largely made up of Vietnamese-Americans.