A PSA done by the Ohio Department of Health used mousetraps and ping-pong balls to illustrate the importance of social distancing has gone viral. Wochit Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson is the latest local official to call on the state to release the names of long-term care facilities where positive cases of the coronavirus have been identified. Escambia County had 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19 associated with staff or residents of long-term care facilities, according to Monday evening’s report from the Florida Department of Health. There is also one case in a Santa Rosa County center. During a virtual press conference Monday, Robinson said at least one of the affected nursing homes was in Pensacola city limits, but he declined to name the center. “It’s my understanding that this nursing home is in the city,” Robinson said. He did not name the facility, saying releasing that information is a state decision. However, Robinson said he disagreed with the decision not to publicize which long-term care facilities had confirmed COVID-19 cases. “I don’t think this is the right decision at all for us to be doing and not publicizing,” Robinson said. “And I realize there is a challenge in that everybody in that nursing home is not going to have it, and it has the potential to create more panic. But I explained it like this, when you just simply say it’s a nursing home in the Pensacola area, what you said was much more concerning.” Local officials have been reluctant to name the affected facilities even though they are in possession of the information, saying it is up to the Florida Department of Health whether to identify any facility. Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson speaks at a press conference March 26. In other parts of the state, local officials have publicly named the facilities, notably in Suwannee County, where Live Oak City Councilman Don Allen voiced frustration over the state’s response to an outbreak at a nursing home there and named the facility. Escambia County issued a press release Monday with a written statement from the county’s emergency manager, Eric Gilmore, who said the county is working with the state “without compromising the confidentiality of any health-related data” that is protected by law. “This has been an unprecedented event in which the county is not the lead agency but serves as the resource manager during the incident,” Gilmore said. Last week, Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley also called on local nursing homes to publicly identify themselves. “We strongly encourage nursing homes to work with the state surgeon general to publicly disclose if there have been positive COVID-19 cases in their facility in the Escambia County community,” Gilley said in a statement. “We believe it is in the public’s best interest for the facilities be as transparent as possible within the extent of the state and federal laws.” Other advocates have also pushed for the state to release the names of the facilities. “It’s maddening to think about the possibility that your […]

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