As of Friday, the Florida Department of Health is reporting a single case of COVID-19 in Jackson County, involving a non-resident male; the case has been classified as “travel-related,” but further information is unavailable, with state officials declining comment on individual cases. In nearby Leon County, four COVID-19 cases, including one death as a result of the disease, are being reported by the Department of Health: two residents currently inside Leon County, one resident currently outside of the county and one non-resident currently inside the county. All Leon County cases are “travel-related,” according to state data.
A rumor fanned by social media and select news outlets last week regarding a positive test at Florida State Hospital is false; according to the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Chattahoochee-based hospital remains COVID-19-free, as of press time this past Tuesday, and hospital administration is taking unprecedented steps to ensure this remains the case – limiting entry points, among other measures.
While most residents of Gadsden, Jackson and neighboring Big Bend/Panhandle counties are likely to be spared from “COVID-19: the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus strain behind the ongoing outbreak,” there’s no question that “COVID-19: the public health crisis” is affecting every man, woman and child in Gadsden, Jackson and every other county in America, spanning economic classes, age and other societal divisions to impact virtually every facet of daily life – from serious concerns like dining and nutrition, and school studies; to more casual matters like sports games and community events; to eyebrow raisers and the downright bizarre – library fines, jail visitation, even private bathroom issues. Coping with the chaos can no doubt be daunting at times, if not a bit frightening in some circumstances. How am I going to feed my kids, now that school is closed? What if my drivers license expires while state offices are shuttered to the general public? Can I still dine out at my favorite downtown eatery? Should I be worried about supplies of water and toilet paper? If schools go online, what if I don’t have internet? What about that rumor I heard?
We’ve tried to compile as many locally relevant answers to questions like these as possible, with helpful information and guidelines interspersed throughout this week’s print edition and in posts online. And for questions we’ve failed to broach, there’s a wealth of informational resources related to the current Coronavirus outbreak available to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the World Wide Web and toll-free telephone hotlines.
Most importantly, we’ve included recommendations and guidelines on how to stay safe, healthy and COVID-19-free – for not just the sake of your own health, but that of your friends, family and neighbors in our region and beyond. Because in times of crisis, unity and cooperation can be the difference between success and failure – a cliche, perhaps, but almost always true, nonetheless.
NOTE THAT GUIDELINES, PROTOCOLS AND STATISTICS ARE BEING UPDATED AND ALTERED DAILY, OFTEN FROM HOUR-TO-HOUR AS THE CRISIS RAPIDLY EVOLVES. AS SUCH, WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND CHECKING IN WITH ONE OR MORE OF THE LIVE RESOURCES LISTED BELOW BEFORE MAKING MAJOR DECISIONS THAT COULD IMPACT PERSONAL OR PUBLIC HEALTH.
GENERAL CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES:
Florida Department of Health
- 24/7 COVID-19 call center/helpline: (866)-779-6121
FDOH: Gadsden County
- (850) 875-7200 (select option one)
FDOH: Jackson County
- (850) 526-2412
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Sign up for Gadsden County emergency alerts via text messaging:
txt “AlertGadsden” to 888777