BAY COUNTY ISSUES UPDATE ON COVID-19 073020
July 30, 2020
PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Bay County’s total case count is at 3,357 including 3,295 residents and 62 non-residents. Twenty-one Bay County residents have died from COVID-19. There has been one death associated with a long-term care facility. Bay County’s overall COVID-19 positive testing rate is 15 percent. Of the 22,308 tests processed, 18,921 tests are negative.
Protect the vulnerable by avoiding the Three Cs: Closed Spaces, Crowded Places and Close-Contact Settings and by wearing a mask in public:
Closed Spaces. Avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation that could allow contagious droplets to linger in the air.
Crowded Places. Avoid crowded places with many people nearby; the greater the number of individuals in an area, the greater the chances of COVID-19 spreading from person-to-person.
Close-Contact Settings. Avoid close-range conversations and stay at least six-feet from others.
Public Health Advisory
All individuals in Florida should wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in any setting where social distancing is not possible, both indoors and outdoors, unless any of the following apply:
A child is under two years of age;
An individual has one or more medical conditions or disabilities that prevent wearing a face covering;
An individual is obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;
An individual works in a profession where use of a face covering will not be compatible with the duties of the profession; or
An individual is engaged in outdoor work or recreation with appropriate social distancing.
Businesses and organizations are encouraged to require individuals who enter the premises to wear a face covering.
All individuals should refrain from participation in social or recreational gatherings of more than 10 people. For all gatherings of fewer than 10 people, individuals should practice social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least six feet from each other and wearing a face covering.
Florida Department of Health in Bay County
DOH-Bay is testing anyone with symptoms of COVID-19. For screening, please call DOH-Bay at (850) 872-4455 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and follow the prompts. Testing is by appointment only. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, vomiting or diarrhea, and/or sore throat. The CDC has a symptom checker available at CDC.gov/coronavirus. For additional testing options and information, visit Bay.FloridaHealth.gov.
If you have been tested by DOH-Bay, please answer the call from the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 results line at (833) 917-2880. They will ask for a name and date of birth to provide you with a negative test result. This number is legitimate and is a Department of Health sponsored initiative. Caller ID should identify the call as FL DOH. This will provide support to DOH-Bay so that we can focus on contacting positives persons and case investigations. Please note callers will not ask for social security numbers or medical information.
If you need physical copies of your COVID-19 test results, please follow the directions below:
Phone: Call (850) 872-4455 and follow the prompts to COVID test results prompts and request the status with the representative. You will be provided with the option to obtain your results in person (if negative) or electronically (negative or positive).
Office: If you come to our office, do not get out of your car. Please call (850) 872-4455 and follow the COVID test results prompts. Please let us know you are in the parking lot and we will deliver your results to you in your vehicle.
Email: You can make your request by emailing email@example.com. After you complete the authorization form, you will need to respond with a picture of your photo ID and we will send your result to you via an encrypted email. The email must be viewed on a desktop or laptop PC as the encryption is not mobile friendly.
Immunizations, including back to school shots, are by appointment only. Please call (850) 872-4455 to schedule an appointment for child vaccines, adult vaccines, religious exemption, immigration vaccines, and international travel vaccines. If you need out of state records transferred to Florida 680 Form, 680 Form, or College Forms you do not need an appointment. You can request these services via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A call back will be provided when these forms are ready.
The first of three new drive-through, by-appointment COVID-19 testing sites in Bay County is set to open to the general public at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 30 at the Lynn Haven Sports Park, located at 2201 Recreation Drive, Lynn Haven. A second site will open at 7 a.m. Monday at Frank Brown Park, located at 16200 Panama City Beach Parkway on Panama City Beach and the third site will be located in Callaway, with details announced as they are finalized.
Each site will test up to 500 people per day for the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab tests will be analyzed at a dedicated lab for these testing sites, and results are expected within 48 hours or less and provided via a secure online portal or by phone.
To make an appointment for a test, visit https://walkonclinic.apacovid.com/default.aspx. A short medical questionnaire must be completed before booking an appointment time, and accurate information must be provided to ensure test results are received. Insurance information is not necessary and can be skipped by stating “no insurance” on the questionnaire. Photo identification is required upon arrival for an appointment.
For now, the tests are available at no cost to anyone 18 and older, though county officials say they are working to offer the testing to minors as soon as possible. The hours of operation for each testing site will be: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bay District Schools
The Bay District School board voted to move the school start back date to August 20. They also voted on a revised calendar based on this move. In addition, the board approved a new learning option called “BayLink”. This option provides opportunities for students to continue to learn at home while remaining registered at their enrolled school. This model is designed for families who don’t feel comfortable sending their children back to school but ultimately plan to rejoin their enrolled school in the future. Students may transition back to brick and mortar schools on the first school day of each month. Notification must be provided to the school principal.
Please visit Bay District School’s reopening website for more information at http://www.bay.k12.fl.us/school-reopening. You can also call (850) 767-HELP for any questions not addressed by the website.
City of Panama City Beach
The Panama City Beach City Council emergency order requiring customers and employees of indoor businesses, including restaurants, bars, retail and indoor amusements, to wear masks is now in effect. The first offense is education and a mask is provided, the second offense is a $50 fine, and the third and subsequent offenses are a $100 fine. More details can be found at the City of Panama City Beach’s website at http://www.pcbgov.com/ under News. The ordinance remains in effect until 10 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13., unless extended by the City Council.
Ascension Sacred Heart Bay
Ascension Sacred Heart Bay is suspending patient visitation with exceptions may be made for:
Pediatric patients: One parent or legal guardian
Patients with disabilities or impairments or who are elderly: One visitor.
Patients receiving end-of-life care: One visitor. The phone number for questions about end-of-life visitor restriction exceptions is 850-747-6224.
Surgical patients: Patients requiring surgery or other medical procedures may have one visitor if the patient also meets one of the exception criteria -- meaning the patient having surgery is a pediatric patient, receiving end-of-life care, or a patient who is elderly or has impairments.
Emergency Department Patients: Likewise, a patient who comes to the Emergency Department may have a family member or friend stay with the patient, but only if the patient meets one of the exception criteria.
All visitors must be at least 18 years of age.
Ascension Sacred Heart Bay will continue to require all staff and visitors to wear a mask inside the hospital. We also will continue to screen all permitted visitors, including temperature checks.
Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center
Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center if temporarily deferring the scheduling of elective surgeries as a measure to increase our hospital bed capacity. This measure will be implemented as part of established hospital surge plan and is being done to ensure our care teams can continue to deliver safe, effective, and compassionate care to our patients experiencing both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 health concerns. Gulf Coast Regional will continue with urgent and emergent surgery.
Gulf Coast Regional has implemented additional safety measures due to the current COVID-19 environment in Bay County.
Emergency Room - No visitors (Exceptions will be made for pediatric patients)
Pediatric patients, PICU and NICU - One (1) parent or guardian per patient. Parent can stay overnight.
Labor & Delivery/Mother/Baby - One (1) support person, per patient for the duration of the stay. Support person can stay overnight.
Hospice or palliative care patients - One (1), adult support person, 18 years or older, per patient.
Surgical/Outpatient Services - No visitors. Family member will be called to pick up
CATH Lab - No visitors. Family member will be called to pick up
Please note, any visitor who screens POSITIVE for respiratory illness will not be allowed to enter.
Main entrance Visitation Hours:
Monday – Friday: 5:30am – 6:00pm
Saturday – Sunday 7:00am – 6:00pm
Bay County Sheriff’s Office
The Bay County Sheriff's Office has opened lobby doors for normal operations. Those needing fingerprints are asked to call 747-4700 to make an appointment and must wear a mask. Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford has established stations with decontamination equipment for patrol cars at the Bay County Jail and the main office. Temperature-checking kiosks are at the Bay County Jail, BCSO substations, and the main office for employees to use upon arrival to work. Employees are required to check their temperatures once more during the workday. COVID-19 Testing for employees is being offered most every week at the main office. Hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, and disinfectant spray effective against viruses and bacteria are available for all employees.
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people of all ages. Fear and anxiety about the unknown can sometimes feel overwhelming to adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call Bay County's Crisis line at (850) 522-4485.
The United Way of Northwest Florida is providing information on public services and resources available in our area including food banks. Please visit their dedicated webpage at http://unitedwaynwfl.org/covid-19/. You may also utilize their 211 service for referrals, just call 211 from any phone or visit https://211nwfl.communityos.org/.
Rebuild Bay County may have resources available to assist persons in need. Visit https://rebuildbaycounty.org/ for more information.
Convalescent Plasma and Blood Donations
OneBlood says they are experiencing a 500% increase in hospital orders for COVID-19 convalescent plasma. Convalescent plasma (CPP) is plasma collected from people who have recovered from the coronavirus. People who recover from coronavirus infection have developed antibodies to the virus that remain in the plasma portion of their blood. Transfusing the plasma that contains the antibodies into a person still fighting the virus can provide a boost to the patient’s immune system and potentially help them recover.
The experimental treatment is approved by the FDA to be used on an emergency basis and is called COVID-19 convalescent plasma. Patients who meet the FDA criteria can receive convalescent plasma.
OneBlood is working closely with the Florida Department of Health and directly with their hospital partners and physicians to identify people who have recovered from COVID-19 to be potential donors.
There is also always a need for blood donations. OneBlood is testing all blood donations for coronavirus antibody. Results will be available online within 24 to 48 hours. Appointments are recommended. To learn more visit www.oneblood.org.
For More Information
For text alert updates from the Florida Department of Health in Bay County, text “bayhealth” to 888-777. For additional information specific to Bay County, visit http://bay.floridahealth.gov/ or BayHealthCOVID19.com. Contact the Citizens Information Center seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at (850) 248-6090, or email email@example.com.
To find the most up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19, please visit the Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 website at FloridaHealthCOVID19.gov. For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, call (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day or email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
The free StrongerThanC19 app is available to both iOS and Android users and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google app stores. The StrongerThanC19 app and website are designed to gather information to help the Department of Health track and slow the spread of COVID-19 in Florida; they are not intended to be used as a symptom checker designed to dispense medical advice.