Florida beaches continue to get a wave of support. In an open letter to Santa Rosa County and Escambia County commissioners, the CEOs and presidents of four major hospitals in the area have supported the reopening of local beaches. However, they have some conditions.
"We are now entering the next phase in our response that involves thoughtful policy planning to ease certain restrictions that move us back toward economic vitality and some sense of normalcy while continuing to protect the health and safety of the community," the letter says. "After careful review of the modeling forecasts that give us a glimpse into our future and the data that is evidence of what we are experiencing today, we jointly support the gradual easing of some restrictions."
The letter was signed by Baptist Health Care President and CEO Mark Faulkner, CEO of West Florida Hospital Gay Nord, President of Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital Dawn Rudolph, and Doug Sills, the CEO of Santa Rosa Medical Center.
It was sent to the county commissioners on Wednesday morning, following a Coffee with a Commissioner meeting that Escambia County Commissioner Jeff Bergosh hosts.
In the meeting, Faulkner mentions the letter and each hospital's intentions in supporting the limited reopening.
📅 Join District 1 Commissioner Jeff Bergosh for his virtual Coffee with the Commissioner event Wednesday, April 22… https://t.co/KrcZmUh1Fs— My Escambia (@My Escambia)1587405812.0
"When compared to other communities in the state and the nation, our community has deployed a comprehensive testing infrastructure that we believe has contributed to the flattening of the curve," the letter continues.
The hospital officials agree to the reopen on the condition that individuals continue to follow social distancing rules like small groups of less than 10 people and the six-feet rule.
Also, if peoples are coming from "hot spots" into the community, they should still self-quarantine for 14 days, and county officials must have continual monitoring of confirmed and presumptive cases.
⚕️🏥 Escambia County, Community Health Northwest Florida and Ascension Sacred Heart have partnered to open a drive-t… https://t.co/3DEyFuSgTS— My Escambia (@My Escambia)1585584548.0
The letter also mentions that as of Monday, a total of 7,326 people have been tested throughout Santa Rosa and Escambia counties. Their results found that 367 citizens have tested positive.
The decision is a reversal from their March 19 letter that requested the enforcement of social distancing measures.
Both Santa Rosa County and Escambia County are expected to hold meetings to discuss a soft opening of beaches in the upcoming days.
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