Florida Department of Health

The Geo Group

With four inmate deaths due to coronavirus and more than confirmed 50 cases, Blackwater River Correctional Facility in Santa Rosa County has been the epicenter of the outbreak in the Florida prison system. The privately-operated prison is now second to Tomoka Correctional Institution, which 54 COVID-19 cases.


OneBlood, a not-for-profit blood center that serves Florida, has announced plans to begin collecting plasma to be used as a potential treatment option for people with “life-threatening” coronavirus infection.

When the program ramps up, OneBlood will be looking for donations of plasma specifically from individuals who have recovered from the coronavirus, so that it can be transfused to people who are very sick due to the disease.

The beginning of the new school year means parents need to check and see if their young scholars are up to date with their immunizations. In all 50 states children entering kindergarten must have certain vaccines. Some states require as few as four, while one, Connecticut, says they must have nine. Here in Florida, the number is five.

Tobacco Free Florida

Tobacco Free Florida Week is taking place through this Sunday, April 8.

The 2018 observance marks the tenth anniversary of the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida Week.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is held annually on Feb. 7.  The theme for 2017 is “I am my Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV in the United States. That’s also the case in Florida and Escambia County.

In 2015, smoking among adults in Florida dropped to 15.8 percent, the lowest it has ever been. State health officials are celebrating the decline and giving much of the credit to passage of a constitutional amendment ten years ago.

In the late 1990's, Florida was one of just four states to craft its own multi-billion dollar settlement with the nation’s big tobacco companies. About a decade later, Florida voters approved a ballot measure mandating that the state use part of that money to provide a dedicated funding source for smoking prevention education.

Carol Myers

  Researchers at the University of West Florida are out with a first-of-its-kind study, assessing the health effects of the major flood that hit the Pensacola area in 2014. 

The Health Impact Assessment (HIA)  also involved the Florida Department of Health, and was funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 


Escambia County Health Director Dr. John Lanza spoke to the Pensacola Rotary Club Tuesday on the Zika virus and the fight against it. 

Lanza began his midday remarks at New World Landing downtown with a confession.

“This is a standard, Department of Health community Power Point that I have given many times before,” Lanza said. “So if you think there’s going to be some big scoop or something or other – there isn’t.”

Florida Department of Health

  As Florida goes through its typical humid, bug-filled summer, Florida is recording its first home-grown cases of Zika. 

Governor Rick Scott says all four people live in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. One of the cases involves a woman and the other three involve men, none of whom have needed to be hospitalized.

“The Florida Department of Health believes that active transmissions of this virus could be occurring in one small area in Miami-Dade County, just north of downtown,” said Scott. “


On Monday, Aug. 1, one of the nation's largest blood suppliers will begin testing its donations for the Zika virus.


OneBlood’s announcement on Thursday comes the same day that Florida health officials reported that a woman in Miami-Dade could be the state’s first Zika case who contracted the virus without traveling outside the continental United States. Later, a spokeswoman corrected the statement, saying that sexual transmission related to travel has not been ruled out.  

The Okaloosa County Farmers’ Market is growing, with plans to provide more space for residents, visitors, and vendors just in time for summer. WUWF’s Danielle Freeman attended the groundbreaking, and the market’s re-naming. 


Ceremonial gold shovels in hand, several local and community officials lined up in front of the only existing structure at the Farmers Market to turn the first dirt.

“Now we’re going to throw some dirt…dirt/shovels/talking & laughter…”

Photo via Flickr// Ivy Dawned / https://flic.kr/p/5EFnAk

Florida’s Department of Agriculture is reminding Christmas chefs to follow some basic but effective steps to avoid food-borne illnesses.

About one in six Americans, roughly 48 million, gets a food-borne illness each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common illnesses are norovirus and the Salmonella bacteria. 

There’s a new potential for “red tide” off the western Panhandle, according to the Florida Department of Health, just over a month after the first such reports.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting red tide concentrations will increase the next few days along portions of northwest Florida. That leading to an elevated potential for respiratory irritation in Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties.

Photo via Flickr// Mike Mozart / https://flic.kr/p/uhaGZN

   A new survey by the Florida Department of Health shows teens aren’t smoking as much as they used to, but they are still finding a way to get nicotine.

Just under seven percent of high school students in Florida smoked cigarettes last year, according to the state Department of Health’s 18th annual Youth Tobacco Survey. That represents a 1.7% drop from 2013.

Danielle Freeman

Throughout the spring and summer, the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County keeps a close watch on the quality of saltwater beaches. That includes weekly testing at more than a dozen locations, as part of the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program.  

I’m holding a bailer, attached with a role pack that will contain the water that I’m sampling I’m going to dip it into the water about 18 inches below the surface to avoid the contaminants like gas, oils, debris, stuff like that.”