Blackwater outbreak spreads, questions unanswered

Blackwater outbreak spreads, questions unanswered

After days of adding less than 10 new cases, Santa Rosa County’s count of positive COVID-19 cases jumped by 30 in one report April 9. But these were not community-based spread. The increase was due to an outbreak of the deadly virus inside Blackwater Correctional Institute in Milton. The facility reported 33 inmates and six […]

Santa Rosa ready for hurricanes despite current disaster

Santa Rosa ready for hurricanes despite current disaster

In the past, Santa Rosa County’s Emergency Operation Center activated in response to tropical weather events threatening Florida’s coast. Lately, the center’s focus has been on a different threat: a global pandemic. But the 2020 hurricane season is just around the corner, and forecasters are estimating this will be an above average storm season. Hurricane […]

Rest of school year still up in the air

Rest of school year still up in the air

Santa Rosa County School District does not have an answer on whether or not schools will reopen from COVID-19 closures, but teachers are instructed to prepare for the possibility.  Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick confirmed the state has not yet provided guidance via text message April 17.  “We have NOT been told by state leadership school will […]

Plasma treatment: Fighting COVID-19 with “other people’s troops”

Plasma treatment: Fighting COVID-19 with “other people’s troops”

There is no cure for COVID-19, but health care professionals are working to find ways to help patients fight it. Last week a new treatment received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency approval, and it relies on members of the community stepping up to help. This treatment uses the plasma of those that recovered from […]

Pandemics excluded from most business insurance

Pandemics excluded from most business insurance

Few businesses were ready for a global pandemic to forcibly shut their doors or cause partial closures, but for many that’s been the reality over the past few weeks. And if they thought they would be insured through business interruption policies; many were in for an unhappy surprise. Small Business Development Center at UWF (SBDC) […]

First responders protecting against COVID-19

First responders protecting against COVID-19

Two Santa Rosa County EMS first responders self-quarantined last week due to potential exposure to COVID-19. Lifeguard Ambulance Director of Operations Dwayne Tullos confirmed the two employees are in quarantine but have not tested positive for the novel coronavirus at this time. Details about the individuals were not shared. First responders on the front lines […]

Class of 2020 gets morale boost from donated signs

Class of 2020 gets morale boost from donated signs

Senior year is different for the class of 2020 at Navarre High School. With schools closed until at least May 1 and communities in quarantine under state mandates, common milestones are being missed. Award ceremonies, prom, signing friends’ yearbooks and even their graduation ceremony may be cancelled due to social distancing concerns. Kelly Urban’s son […]

Florida hospitals treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine

Florida hospitals treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine

While full clinical testing has not been completed, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is advocating doctors use an established malaria drug in treatment of COVID-19 patients.  In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, DeSantis said they have worked with federal authorities to make hydroxychloroquine available to hospitals in south Florida and soon in Tallahassee.   This drug was […]

Guide to small business relief during COVID-19

Guide to small business relief during COVID-19

Small business help guide Variety of resources ready to support businesses impacted by COVID-19 Across the state unemployment is on the rise as small businesses cut back their staff or close doors completely due to COVID-19 and government orders. New resources at the local, state and federal level can help, but navigating which resources are […]

What to know about COVID-19 economic impact payments

What to know about COVID-19 economic impact payments

There’s a lot of relief packed into the 880-page, $2.2 trillion CARES Act. Also, a lot of information. Of the monumental response to the COVID-19 crisis tucked into the new law’s pages, perhaps the part eliciting the most questions is the economic impact payments, a promised $1,200 stimulus check to every taxpaying American adult, plus […]

Unemployment soaring, state workers redirected to help

Unemployment soaring, state workers redirected to help

Between August 2018 and February 2020, Florida’s unemployment call center took 2.39 million calls, mostly from people out of the job needing assistance. In the last week, they received 2.1 million calls. The Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) re-employment services are swamped as numbers rivaling the Great Recession flood into the system seeking help after […]

County creates $2,500 COVID-19 recovery grants for small business

County creates $2,500 COVID-19 recovery grants for small business

Small business owners struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic may have a little help on the way. Santa Rosa County Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday morning to create a COVID-19 economic hardship grant program, approving $100,000 of funding. Economic Development Director Shannon Ogletree said this program is essential during a time when businesses have […]

Life in social isolation, optimism remains

Life in social isolation, optimism remains

Whether its serving or hosting, Juana’s Pagodas and Sailors Grill assistant manager Amber Krause stays busy. She received her paycheck as scheduled but the next day she got laid off, along with all the other employees of the restaurant as concerns for spread of COVID-19 outweighed potential revenue. Krause said the decision by the Rudzki […]

Ask an epidemiologist: Florida’s spread of COVID-19

Ask an epidemiologist: Florida’s spread of COVID-19

We are in this for the long haul. COVID-19 is expected to continue to gain ground in Florida, and that means protective measures for weeks to come. In the last week, Florida gained roughly 252% positive cases, adding 1,100 new cases in a single day according to the state health department. Nationally, officials with the […]

Plan to end wastewater discharge in Sound moves forward

Plan to end wastewater discharge in Sound  moves forward

Santa Rosa County Commissioners voted Thursday to accept a plan for disposal of millions of gallons of sewage and stop discharge of treated effluent into Santa Rosa Sound.The vote approved the Memorandum of Agreement for the Northwest Florida Regional Reuse and Water Quality Improvements Strategic Plan (MOA).“It’s a mouthful to say, but it’s an absolute […]

Airport open, traffic down

Airport open, traffic down

Despite an international pandemic, in a lot of ways it is business as usual at Pensacola International Airport. Flights are still arriving and departing, though many have been canceled due to fewer travelers as citizens social distance due to COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended suspending all non-essential travel. Across the […]

UPDATE: Governor extends stay at home order to entire state

UPDATE: Governor extends stay at home order to entire state

Updates to this story include clarification of what essential services are, enforcement and actual language of the executive order issued April 1.  In a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he will be issuing a safer at home style executive order for the entire state. The order, set to go into effect at midnight […]

Two local EMS in quarantine due to potential exposure

Two local EMS in quarantine due to potential exposure

Two Santa Rosa County EMS are currently in quarantine due to potential exposure to COVID-19. Lifeguard Ambulance Service Director of Operations Dwayne Tullos confirmed the two employees are in quarantine but have not tested positive for the novel coronavirus at this time. Details about the individuals were not shared. First responders are taking steps to […]

All public schools closed until at least May 1

All public schools closed until at least May 1

School closures due to COVID-19 concerns are extended through May 1 according to school district officials. Students had been set to return to the classroom April 15, but Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick confirmed Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran extended the closure during a conference call Monday afternoon. Wyrosdick said he was disappointed by the news, but he […]

UPDATE: Five things to know: Governor issues new orders

UPDATE: Five things to know: Governor issues new orders

With 903 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported Sunday, Gov. Ron DeSantis held multiple press conferences Monday to update the public. Here are the highlights. 1. Safer at home order for southeast Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a “safer at home” executive order for the most affected counties in southeast Florida. DeSantis announced the additional measures […]

FL Gov.: Quarantine order expands to Louisiana, road checkpoints in place

FL Gov.: Quarantine order expands to Louisiana, road checkpoints in place

Gov. Ron DeSantis press conference key points: No new vacation rentals for two weeks Travelers from Louisiana must self-isolate for 14 days Road checkpoints will be set up coming into the state SNAP food stamp benefits to be expanded  In a press conference Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced those coming to the state from Louisiana […]

Military travel freeze could chill real estate

Military travel freeze could chill real estate

The Department of Defense has paused all military travel through May 11, including putting on hold many family’s orders to relocate. For a real estate market driven largely by military relocations, Navarre realtors are seeing slowdowns. Jodi Van Wagner specializes in military relocation for Keller Williams. She said the impacts of the freeze at this […]

COVID kitties rescued

COVID kitties rescued

Volunteers at nonprofit animal rescue A HOPE have a sense of humor. Mama kitty COVID was dumped at the Santa Rosa County Animal Shelter pregnant and injured. A HOPE staff pulled her and named her, and when her four kittens were born, they named them Fatigue, Fever, Cough and Body Aches. They are just two […]

Navarre Beach closed to public as of March 21

Navarre Beach closed to public as of March 21

Amid calls from health care professionals to shut down the shorelines due to COVID-19 fears, Santa Rosa County officials announced Friday morning that all public beach areas will close at midnight. Restaurants that have not already done so are being directed to move entirely to to-go ordering. No on-premises dining will be allowed.The closure includes […]

Infant in Gulf Breeze daycare tested positive for COVID-19

Infant in Gulf Breeze daycare tested positive for COVID-19

An infant attending a Gulf Breeze day care has tested positive for COVID-19.  Seaside Child Development Center posted via Facebook Thursday that one child in the center’s infant room had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, causing the facility to close for at least two weeks. Seaside is located at 4338 Gulf Breeze Parkway.  Owner […]

Nursing homes, assisted living help families adapt

Nursing homes, assisted living help families adapt

Friends and family of those in assisted living and nursing homes are barred from seeing their loved ones until at least April 13 according to federal guidelines. COVID-19 infections are on the rise across the U.S., and the elderly, especially those with underlying health conditions, are at higher risk of serious complications or death from […]

Santa Rosa case details and counts by city

Santa Rosa case details and counts by city

These detailed numbers are as of March 24, 10:30 a.m. (last update by Florida Department of Health).  States with most cases (March 24) New York 20,875 New Jersey 2,844 California 2,240 Washington , 2,101 Florida 1,412 Local Cases (March 24) Santa Rosa: Navarre 3 Milton 1 Escambia: Pensacola 6 Okaloosa: Destin 5 Niceville 4 Crestview […]

Governor: Mandatory quarantine for New York, New Jersey visitors

Governor: Mandatory quarantine for New York, New Jersey visitors

Passengers of incoming flights from New York and New Jersey to Florida will be required to quarantine for 14 days according Gov. Ron DeSantis.  The governor announced the executive order March 23 during a press conference. He said there are more than 190 direct flights planned to Florida from these two states, both of which […]