During his weekly virtual news conference, Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson offered a glimmer of hope when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.
While COVID-19 positivity rates have been bouncing around, they remain above the ten percent mark. However, the mayor says hospitalizations are trending down dramatically.
“We’ve gone down 111 hospitalizations in about two and a half weeks,” the mayor said. “So it we can continue to stay on that track, do the things that we’re doing; we’re seeing some relief in our hospitals and we’re excited to see that. We hope we’re beginning to get to the light at the end of the tunnel.”
That light, however, may still be a ways off. Robinson says February is a month where the vaccines taken by recipients aren’t expected to kick in just yet. Meanwhile, the state of Florida is working on vaccine distribution, as more doses become available.
“We had been getting about 8,000 a week; and now we’re back to about 4,000,” said Robinson. “It’s not a case of how we can distribute it; it’s more a case of getting supply. We have more than ample opportunity to distribute.”
The good news, according to the mayor, is that there are a number of new vaccines coming online in the next few weeks including the single-dose protocol from Johnson & Johnson.
“Very easy to store, you don’t have to have negative-70 [degrees]; you don’t even have to have a freezer – you just put it in the refrigerator,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “You jab it one time, then you don’t have to worry about people coming back for the booster shot.”
The governor spoke Monday at The Villages.
“Even if it’s slightly less – quote – efficacious than Pfizer/Moderna,” said DeSantis. “For workforce people, for those who may be younger with comorbidities, to me this is something that we should be very excited about. When you’re looking at preventing severe disease after 28 days, to me that’s the whole name of the game.”
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— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 1, 2021
Earlier, the governor announced the state has received 307,000 first doses, up from 260,000. Mayor Grover Robinson said the city will continue to see what it can do to secure additional vaccine, and he reminds everyone, again, to protect themselves.
“Please be patient as the state works to get more supply; and if you have appointments please follow those appointments and get your vaccine and make sure you get your second shot,” said the mayor. “Also, the mask ordinance remains if effect and the [city] council will vote on an extension on Feb. 27, which requires face masks to be worn while inside businesses within the city limits of Pensacola.”
The White House is suggesting a FEMA infrastructure to distribute the vaccines in all 50 states. But DeSantis contends that what Florida — and the other states — actually need are more doses.
“The infrastructure to do these shots is there; these hospitals could double their output [and] our community sites could probably double their output and I know Publix [could],” said DeSantis. “If the choice is, ‘Hey, we have 50,000 doses for you but you only get it if [the feds] if we administer it,’ I say go ahead and do it.”
Because of the aforementioned shipment of first doses, the Florida Department of Health is moving 28,500 doses to 27 hospitals around the state this week to immunize people under 65 who are considered "extremely vulnerable" to the disease. Ascension Sacred Heart of Pensacola, Bay, and Emerald Coast is among the hospitals on the list.