WUWF Coronavirus Live Blog

Credit Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Here is the information you need to know about COVID-19 in Northwest Florida. We will keep this post updated with the latest information from local, and statewide agencies. 

For inforamtion from Centers for Disease Control and prevention: cdc.gov/coronavirus

For updates on Florida cases of coronavirus, visit the FDOH dashboard.

The COVID-19 call center is available at 24/7 at 1-866-779-6121

Coronavirus Live Blog: Week Of April 5

Apr 8, 2021
Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Thursday, April 8

State Adds 7,939 Cases, 86 Deaths

The state reported an additional 7,939 infections Thursday, according to the FDOH report. An additional 86 deaths were also reported, including one from Okaloosa County. No additional deaths were reported in Escambia, Santa Rosa or Walton counties. 

Local numbers:

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Friday, April 2

State Adds 6,490 Cases, 96 Deaths

The state adding 6,490 infections according to Friday's FDOH report. An additional 96 deaths were also reported, four of which from local areas: two in Escambia County and two in Okaloosa County. 

Local numbers:

Community Health NWFL

Work continues on getting the COVID vaccine in the arms of the western Panhandle’s communities of color, through a team effort of clergy, officials, and the Community Health Northwest Florida on Jordan Street in Pensacola and Stewart Street in Milton.

“Originally, we did experience some pushback; there were some questions about the vaccine – you know, is it safe?” said Sandra Donaldson, the clinic’s Chief Advocacy Officer.

She says historically, communities of color have faced uncertainties when it comes to having faith in the healthcare system.

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Friday, March 26

Uptick In Deaths Statewide, Locally

After a lower average of daily deaths reported, the state reported 167 deaths Friday, up from earlier in the week. The state also added 5,750 infections. Locally, nine deaths were reported. Five in Escambia County, one in Santa Rosa, one in Okaloosa and two in Walton. 

Local numners:

Phil Roeder/Flickr

Vaccination rates for African Americans in Northwest Florida do not come close to the number of Black people living there. That according to numbers from the Florida Department of Health.

About 2.5 million Floridians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to DOH. But Pensacola’s communities of color appear to lag behind.

“I think that we’ve made very, very good progress,” said Rev. Marcel Davis, head pastor of Adoration for a New Beginning in Brownsville.

City of Pensacola

Gov. Ron DeSantis brought his COVID-19 vaccination update to Pensacola Tuesday morning, reminding the Panhandle that the shots are now available to everyone over the age of 50.

“Most of the Panhandle counties are about two-thirds of the seniors – some of them more – that have gotten shots,” said DeSantis. “Obviously this is open to 50-plus, but we hope there will be more remaining seniors come here.”

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.

Phil Roeder/Flickr

Beginning today, COVID-19 vaccinations are available to more Floridians, after the state drops the minimum age from 65. 

And more age reductions are on the horizon.

“I’m going to sign the executive order this morning lowering the age to 50 effective Monday; we’ll see how it goes next week,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis in making the announcement on Friday, after a reduction to age 60 last week.

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Friday, March 18

Vaccine Eligibility Age Lowerd To 50

In a press conference Friday morning, Gov. DeSantis announced he's lowered the age of eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to 50. Watch the press conference here:

Florida Capitol Doors Won't Swing Open Soon

Mar 15, 2021
News Service of Florida

The Florida Capitol is expected to remain largely closed to the public for the rest of the legislative session because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as lawmakers get more comfortable meeting face to face.

Despite new COVID-19 cases trending down from late fall and early winter and the federal government increasing vaccine supplies to the state, Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, doesn’t anticipate lifting health precautions before the scheduled April 30 end of the session.



At the Statehouse, major legislation intended to shield businesses and health care providers from lawsuits related to COVID-19 is headed to the full Senate after its Rules Committee this week merged two bills into one lengthy proposal.

One bill dealt with liability of health-care providers; the other initially deals only with liability of non-health care businesses. Sponsor Jeff Brandes (BRAND - iss) describes the decision to roll the bills into one measure as a strategic move, as negotiations move forward with House leaders.

Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

Local governments in Florida and their ability to strictly enforce measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus are being targeted by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis’ executive order issued late Wednesday requires local governments to cancel fines issued for violating local COVID-19 orders between March 1, 2020 and this past Wednesday.

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Thursday, March 11

Daily COVID Update

The state added 5,065 cases and 96 deaths according to Thursday's FDOH report. Of those 96 deaths, five were from local areas: one in Escambia, three in Santa Rosa and one in Okaloosa.

  • Escambia added 24 cases and has a 2.19% positivity rate
  • Santa Rosa added 22 cases and has a 5.60% positivity rate
  • Okaloosa added 29 cases and has a 6.54% positivity rate
  • Walton added 12 cases and has a 5.29 positivity rate

Coronavirus Pandemic: One Year Later

Florida Lowers Age For COVID Vaccine Eligibility To 60

Mar 8, 2021
Office of the Secretary of Defense

After focusing for more than two months on vaccinating seniors against COVID-19, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday the state will authorize giving shots to people ages 60 and older.

The change will take effect March 15 and was announced after more than 2.64 million people ages 65 and older have been vaccinated.

“As the demand has softened a little bit, as fortunately more than 50 percent of seniors in almost all of our major counties have received at least one shot, we will open it up to 60 to 64 as well,” DeSantis said during a news conference Monday at the Capitol.

Coronavirus Live Blog: Week Of March 1

Mar 7, 2021
Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Sunday, March 7

State Reports Lowest Death Increase In Months

After averaging around 130 additional deaths per day, the state reported 66 deaths in Sunday's FDOH report. No additional deaths from local areas. The state also added 4,098 infections.