Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson has tested negative for the coronavirus, after exposure within his family.
In a letter to his constituents and to city government, Robinson said he was tested at Ascension-Sacred Heart Hospital, and received the results on Friday evening.
“After knowing there were so many people I had contacted with, I was ecstatic to know that I didn’t cause exposure -- certainly at City Hall or to other individuals,” said Robinson.
The mayor’s son, Grover Robinson V, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is recovering at home. He’s expected to make a full recovery. His illness is why the mayor opted for testing.
“Ninety-five percent of [the tests] coming back negative, I was shocked when we hear positive,” said the mayor. “But I felt like, in my position, as many people as I had talked to, I had to be sure that I was OK and I was not exposing other people. So, I was very happy to find that out but we still have a lot of things ahead of us as a community.”
Another statement from City Hall says the mayor has not shown any symptoms, and will continue to perform his job duties as he is able while quarantined.
“Obviously, I want to get back to doing things for the city, but I’m able to do a lot of that with Internet, email, phone and text,” Robinson said. “My job is a very public one, and if I’m not out there doing what I need publically, at some point I’ve got to get back to doing that. But right now, we will continue to be here quarantined until I can pass a second negative.”
The message from the city about residents’ self-protection from the coronavirus – such as frequent hand-washing, social distancing and self-quarantine remains the same, as the number of cases rise both in Florida and locally.
“It’s not like the flu where you can think, ‘oh, this person’s not doing anything, they’re totally fine,’” said the mayor. “Well, they could have the virus and contagious; that’s what makes it such an unpredictable virus. I think it’s definitely made me a little bit more aware of just how challenging with some of the things that are being called for [such as] self-isolation – have a lot of merit, and we all probably need to be moving in that direction.”
While there’s still work to be done, says Robinson, it is not business as usual. State guidelines call for only 50 percent occupation at city hall, with the remainder of employees working remotely from home.
“We’re running in all of our departments about 52-53 percent, so we’re almost at that point,” the mayor said. “We still need police out there, we still need firefighters, sanitation workers, [and] public works. We are still carrying out vital missions, and we will continue those vital missions.”
City employees, says the mayor, are being platooned to make sure the chance of exposure is as low as possible. If there is an exposure, another worker would be able to fill in. As for his constituents, the mayor urges them to heed all advice they’re hearing from local and state governments – along with his.
Please, do not worry about what we’re going to get to; we’re going to get to a point where we’re ready to get focused on recovery, but that moment is not now,” Robinson said. “Now we need to take care of ourselves and protecting from the virus. And as soon as we’re out of that, we will start on recovery and we will work. We’re learning more and more about [COVID-19], and one way or another I’m confident we’re going to get through this.”
Meanwhile, back at City Hall, the facility was deep cleaned and sanitized over the weekend, in addition to the enhanced daily cleaning measures already in place due to the virus.