Pensacola News Journal by Jim Little
April 13, 2020
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.
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.