News

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

On a recent weekday, the Pensacola News Journal published 19 death notices. When people die, final arrangements must be made, but things are different now because of COVID-19.

Dave Dunwoody

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson is asking residents for a little more time, to help put the brakes on the local coronavirus outbreak.

Robinson, Escambia County Commissioner Lumon May, and other leaders this week met with officials from Baptist, Sacred Heard and West Florida, along with Northwest Florida Community Health and the Florida Department of Health. One topic dealt with the number of patients being checked for coronavirus as of Thursday.

Lynn Friedman / Flickr

With the COVID-19 crisis in full force, the City of Destin is calling on local grocery stores and pharmacies to support senior citizens.

Last week, the city released a letter from City Manager Lance Johnson asking all grocery stores and pharmacies to allow seniors to shop for one hour before opening to the public. 

“The health and safety of our residents is top priority, especially our seniors,” the letter said. 

UWF

With schools across the state closing because of the coronavirus, students of all ages are continuing the spring semester at home.

“As we’ve moved to remote instruction, we’ve had to move to remote advising and remote student services, and we’ve done it in a way that continues the important support that our students need," said University of West Florida President Martha Saunders in a video talking about the transition to online learning and student life at UWF.

Tom Ninestine / WUWF

The federal emergency funding being considered in Congress on Thursday could give help to workers and business owners in Northwest Florida struggling through  COVID-19.

Tony Giberson / PNJ

In the nearly two weeks Ascension-Sacred Heart Hospital has been conducting its drive-through testing for coronavirus, the numbers have been increasing daily. And the program could live beyond the current crisis.

The idea was based on the volume of patients coming through Sacred Heart’s emergency room. Chief operating officer Justin Labrato says they wanted to make sure they could keep all patients and health care workers safe.

Given 72 hours to draw up a plan, the team looked at similar drive-throughs in the western states, and made some tweaks.

Florida Division of Emergency Management

Florida’s battle against coronavirus is getting a new supply headquarters downstate, for distribution of needed equipment to help grassroots health care efforts.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and senior administration officials were at the state logistics center in Orlando on Wednesday, to illustrate Florida’s preparation for what’s expected to be an increase in the number of patients with COVID-19.

Jennie McKeon / WUWF

If you’re thinking of heading to Navarre Beach despite its closure — don’t. 

Since Santa Rosa County Commissioners made the decision to close Navarre Beach last Friday, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office has been monitoring the area, including a checkpoint where all vehicles on Gulf Boulevard must provide a valid reason for driving through. 

“We have four deputies out there 24/7 until we’re relieved,” explained Sgt. Rich Aloy. “Our goal is to make it clear that the beaches are closed.” 

City of Milton

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise locally and across Florida, one Panhandle city is taking action.

Milton Mayor Heather Lindsey says a state of emergency has existed there since Monday, following declarations by Gulf Breeze and Santa Rosa County. Under the city code, the mayor of Milton has the authority to make such a declaration for 72 hrs. Beyond that require City Council approval. Lindsey and the council met in emergency session Monday night, with the council agreeing to extend it to April 30.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

It’s been a few days since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all restaurants and food establishments in the state to suspend all dine-in service and offer only delivery and take-out.

Locally, restaurants are making the required adjustments, so they can stay open.

At University Town Center, just a mile or so from the WUWF studios, cars in the Chick Fil A drive-through are wrapped around the building, as they usually are in the lunch hour. On this Tuesday, Panda Express and Panera’s also have some drive-through activity.

Make My Day PAC

Walton County attorney Daniel Uhlfelder is a strong proponent for sharing beaches. But as the world faces the coronavirus pandemic, he thinks beaches across the state should be closed.

And he’s making sure Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gets the message.

On Friday, March 20, Uhlfelder filed a lawsuit in the Second Judicial Circuit suing the governor to close all state beaches saying DeSantis has the responsibility to “initiate immediate action to cope with emerging health problems and try to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.” 

wgcu.org

If he had his druthers, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would avoid imposing a statewide lock down because of the coronavirus. In his daily update on the disease, he outlined the thinking behind his position on Tuesday.

While several other governors have called for a statewide shutdown and stay-at-home orders because of the virus, DeSantis is shifting the onus to residents from elsewhere, especially from New York City.

Florida Attorney General

Fraud schemes related to COVID-19 are on the rise in Florida, as scammers look to take advantage of people in various ways during the coronavirus pandemic.

This is not the time to let down your guard.

As of Monday night, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office had received more than 600 complaints regarding products such as cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and face masks. 

‘Walk the Hill’ Warms The Heart

Mar 24, 2020
Courtesy of Abigail Walker

Sunday evening, Abigail Walker stepped outside her East Hill home with her bassoon in hand and played music for passersby.

It was a way for her to connect with her neighbors while still maintaining a safe distance. It was a way to share her music when so many performances have been canceled. As each little group walked or biked past, she felt more connected to the world after two weeks of being self-quarantined with her husband, three boys and the family dog. 

At first, it was just a trickling of people. One of her students drove by in a golf cart. And then more followed. 

For this Gulf Stories Moment, we're joined by Dr. Athena du Pre, Distinguished University Professor from the Communications Department at UWF, who tells about effective ways to communicate with your health care provider.

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