Local COVID-19 Cases And Data Reporting Increases; Mandatory Employee Vaccinations For Ascension Sacred Heart

July 28, 2021

As COVID-19 cases rise in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, hospitals are releasing more data and considering visitation restrictions and mandatory vaccinations for employees.

Escambia County has relaunched hospitalization data reports. On Tuesday, there were 113 COVID-19 inpatients at Sacred Heart, West Florida and Baptist hospitals.

“Unfortunately, hospitalization numbers related to COVID-19 have increased in Escambia County, which includes surrounding communities coming to our local providers,” said interim Public Safety Director Eric Gilmore. “It is important to note that medical professionals have shared that the majority of these patients have not been vaccinated. We are fortunate there is plenty of vaccine still available, and the hospital system is not stressed at this time. Once someone is admitted into the hospital, it is too late to be vaccinated.”

Baptist Hospital has also implemented at least twice-weekly reporting with additional information for their facility. Between July 1 and July 27, Baptist Health Care has treated a total of 96 patients who have been hospitalized for COVID-19. Of those, 85 were unvaccinated.

Ascension Sacred Heart will require all of its healthcare workers to finish their vaccination process by November 12.  The vaccine will be required of all employees, whether or not they provide direct patient care, and whether they work on site or remotely.

The new requirement also includes associates employed by subsidiaries and partners; physicians and advanced practice providers, whether employed or independent; and volunteers and vendors entering Ascension facilities. There will be a process for requesting an exemption in accordance with collective bargaining agreements.

Beginning Wednesday, Santa Rosa Medical Center  will restrict patient visitors to one immediate family member, partner or significant other age 18 or older. Entrance to the facility will only be through the emergency room.

Also beginning Wednesday, Atmore Community Hospital will restrict inpatient visitation to 6-8 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. Only one visitor will be allowed for surgery and outpatient physician visits. No visitors will be allowed in the emergency department or with patients receiving lab or radiology services. Exceptions will be made to the new policies based upon medical necessity and end of life situations.


31 Responses to “Local COVID-19 Cases And Data Reporting Increases; Mandatory Employee Vaccinations For Ascension Sacred Heart”

  1. David Huie Green on July 31st, 2021 3:34 pm

    this poor administration allows illegals in this country every single second of the day, none are turned away.“

    During Biden’s five-month tenure, more than 400,000 migrants detained at or near the border have been expelled, including many Central American families and asylum seekers sent back to Mexico.”

    “65% test positive for covid 19”

    Since a person with COVID-19 is isolated, what is your source for THAT lie?

    “The numbers of deaths for covid 19 are so skewed it’s unbelievable, if a person has serious illnesses and dies they get test for covid, if positive even with no symptoms cause of death is covid.”

    You don’t believe they died of COVD19, or at all, but you believe the doctors are violating reporting guidelines?
    “When COVID-19 is reported as a cause of death on the death certificate, it is coded and counted as a death due to COVID-19. COVID-19 should not be reported on the death certificate if it did not cause or contribute to the death.”

    “the government has promoted and allowed misleading numbers as well as hidden all the reported side effects some have experienced.”

    Tell us if you ACTUALLY know of any not openly listed here:

    “Remember this is an experimental drug that has not been FDA approved, why is that, if it’s that effective it should be.”

    Not quite true. FDA DID approve it under Emergency Use Authorization. It has already been found to be safe and effective in small trials and a large trial at least 2 months, NOW OVER TEN MONTHS since they continue to monitor the first recipients and everyone since then.

    But go with your gut.
    Why trust those whose own loved ones would be put at risk if they erred??

  2. ITSON on July 31st, 2021 12:21 am

    With your comment, it’s fortunate that you haven’t dedicated your life to caring for others. In the medical profession, we value the health of our individual patients and the community as a whole. Those of us who have been on the front lines since COVID began can provide you with the facts and available data regarding COVID- as we have been following the research daily for 16 months. Our families missed us as we were unable to visit for nearly a year until vaccine became available. And many of us were first in line for vaccination due to the risks that our positions posed. We also needed the vaccine so that staff remained available to staff the medical infrastructure here. We struggled to breath behind double masks and face shields for 12 hours with little breaks. We made alternate childcare arrangements due to the exposure risks that having our children in daycare posed. We lived in a bubble…only work and home, for months on end so that we were able to show up at work the next day to continue to fight the battle. Finally, increasing vaccination rates and subsequent decreases in local cases provided some respite from the suffering that we were witnessing through our COVID patients and their loved ones. Then the Delta variant made its way to our area. New cases are rising rapidly- mostly now those who have not been vaccinated are affected. It is as if we are back to square one. I find it quite difficult to hear the various misguided opinions about this pandemic and the vaccines. It is difficult because I understand that the risk of severe COVID illness FAR outweighs any known risks of the vaccine for most. Difficult because of the many patients who suffered alone on a ventilator while families waited at home because they weren’t allowed in. My heart is heavy for the adult children who couldn’t visit their elderly parent in the nursing home…that time can never be replaced. is also difficult because those who “don’t believe” in the vaccine tend to prefer a maskless approach. To address your comment, in 20+ years in the medical field I have experienced many situations that I don’t “agree” with. This has prompted me to evaluate my own belief system and continue to aim for personal improvement and growth. None of us serve any good purpose when passing judgement upon others. Medical staff are expected to remain educated and up to date in their chosen fields of study….our professional commitment is to that of our patients. We are bound to strict guidelines and governed by medical and nursing boards (part of our “lousy government” that you referred to) whose purpose is to PROTECT THE PUBLIC. Vaccination of healthcare workers has long been required for employment, this is not new. Also, licensed healthcare workers don’t walk out when they don’t agree with something, as that is abandonment of our patients. There are certain health conditions that would be considered exempt from vaccination requirements- otherwise we get vaccinated for the protection of each of YOU and your loved ones, and pray that you will do the same (or stay home if unvaccinated).

  3. Stumpknocker on July 30th, 2021 4:21 am

    @david hue green, I believe what they were trying to say Is that this poor administration allows illegals in this country every single second of the day, none are turned away. 65% test positive for covid 19, they are flown all across this country to different cities. So if the government actually cared this action would have stopped or never even got started. The numbers of deaths for covid 19 are so skewed it’s unbelievable, if a person has serious illnesses and dies they get test for covid, if positive even with no symptoms cause of death is covid. So people don’t die of natural causes anymore? And I’m not saying people haven’t died from covid what I’m saying is the government has promoted and allowed misleading numbers as well as hidden all the reported side effects some have experienced. Remember this is a experimental drug that has not been fda approved, why is that, if it’s that effective it should be.

  4. BRING IT ON on July 29th, 2021 11:41 pm

    If I were an employee at any institution and was forced to do something I disagreed with I’d walk out. Folks you best be standing up for yourself before our lousy government takes it away.

  5. David Huie Green on July 29th, 2021 5:02 pm

    “if the government really cared about the American people and the spread of the virus, THEY WOULD CLOSE THE BORDER AND SEND THESE PEOPLE BACK. PERIOD. THIS IS ALL POLITICAL SCIENCE.”

    Send sick Americans back where?

    That isn’t political science. That’s how to slice people up at the DNA level. HEAVY BIOENGINEERING!!

  6. David Huie Green on July 29th, 2021 4:58 pm

    “Our government is after total control (socialism/communism) and the sheeple are too asleep to see it”

    Of course they want to control us, often by insulting their opponents and mocking them. They just don’t agree on what they want us to do. But what does that have to do with the price of rice in China? Or what a healthcare provider does to avoid killing its patients?

    Insult people by calling them “sheeple.” After all, it couldn’t be that they are trying to save lives; it must be part of some Vast Left Wing Conspiracy to deprive us of the right to die miserable deaths and those around us rather than live and be healthy.

    Who knew people dedicated to saving lives were so evil??

    “Not everything is a political game. People are literally dying because of this virus.”

    Just because YOU aren’t playing, doesn’t mean some aren’t. And they don’t care that people are dying. They think it will be somebody else or they are already vaccinated themselves to make CERTAIN it is somebody else.

    David for better people

  7. Shaking My Head on July 29th, 2021 3:45 pm

    You cannot force someone to put something in their body that they don’t want. They value their health over a job.
    Not to mention, if the government really cared about the American people and the spread of the virus, THEY WOULD CLOSE THE BORDER AND SEND THESE PEOPLE BACK. PERIOD. THIS IS ALL POLITICAL SCIENCE.

  8. Mars Mayflower on July 29th, 2021 3:39 pm

    Hospitals should have every right to require that their staff is vaccinated. They are the front line workers dealing with the most at-risk individuals. I’m sorry, but if you don’t believe in keeping your patients safe, you shouldn’t be working there.

  9. John Doe on July 29th, 2021 3:28 pm

    Dear stumpknocker… COVID-19 has killed WAAYYYYY more people than lightning and car accidents in Escambia County over the past year. That’s not twisted info, it’s the fact. I drive up and down barrancas everyday and the number of funerals I’ve seen this year is crazy. Several of my co-workers have passed away from the disease. Please stop spreading misinformation.

  10. Stumpknocker on July 29th, 2021 4:13 am

    So if your employer has the right to force something like this on an employee, does this mean if a person has a bad reaction to the vaccine is it now a workers comp issue. I myself will not be taking anything that has not been FDA approved period, I don’t believe it does anything at all and I certainly don’t buy into the number of deaths that they claim, does anyone wonder why causes of death decreased such a heart attacks and other causes during this so cold pandemic? The numbers have been twisted to create fear and it’s working.@ Warren if your that afraid stay home, because your more likely to be killed by lightning or a car accident than covid. Sacred Heart is not just requiring employees it all states venders as well so I guess the coke and Pepsi guys will need the vaccine too, lol .

  11. Chris on July 28th, 2021 7:35 pm

    Joy Bryant… stick to real estate

  12. At will on July 28th, 2021 7:07 pm

    Florida is an “at will” employment state.

    The employer makes the decision and can terminate you “at will,” which means they can fire you at their discretion. You don’t comply with their requirements for employment, you’re fired.

    Maybe all that union stuff protecting worker’s rights wasn’t so bad, huh?

    Get the shot so we can get on with life people!

  13. Jr on July 28th, 2021 5:49 pm

    @Bob…THANK YOU! I’m one of the ones who just found out I cannot get this vaccine. There’s some that scoff at the reasons people can’t get vaccinated because they feel as if everyone can get it. When you are told by your attending physician tgat the shot could/would do more damage than the actual virus, what is a person to do? Put their pan well being in jeopardy just to make some shut up and/or feel better about themselves? I don’t think so. Too many are on an agenda on here and only really concerned about themselves. And, they have a right to have this concern just as those of us who feel like a prisoner because no matter what, we stand a greater chance of getting this virus…yes, the unvaccinated are a threat AND the vaccinated are a threat…people, worry about yourself and do what you want to do. To the ones who got it, good for you. For those that don’t want the vaccination, good for you. I know when it’s my time OUR GOD is the ONLY one who can call me, us, you home…have a nice day

  14. Bob on July 28th, 2021 3:34 pm

    I have always believed that my health care is between me and my doctor. What about someone that cannot take the shot due to medical reasons? And why should you have to prove it or document it when HIPPA guarantee’s privacy?

  15. Warren on July 28th, 2021 2:26 pm

    I’m sorry. You few people here that go on and on about your freedom not to be required by an employer to get a vaccine are just making ignorant comments. How stupid can you be?! Your employer has EVERY right to require you to be vaccinated…whether you are a potential employee or existing one. Nobody is forcing you to work for them. It’s your choice. If you present a safety threat regardless then they certainly can require it…and should! I wish every business and organization in this county, state and country required it. We’d be over this pandemic if they did! How dare you tell me that you have the right to endanger my and my family’s health and safety just because you are a kook believing all the look lies from the very people who got vaccinated as quickly as it was available! What a bunch of lemmings! Oh wait you probably don’t even know what a lemming is!

  16. Freedom on July 28th, 2021 12:32 pm

    When you or your loved one is struggling for breath on a ventilator, begging for the shot when it is too late, will you still be screaming for your liberties? I don’t think so. Would you have felt this way about giving your child a smallpox or polio vaccine, even as those around you are on iron lungs and dying? Would you still stand for your freedoms as your loved one draws the last breath? There are a few words I could use to describe this unbelievably selfish attitude, but freedom is not one of them. Men have died in many wars so that you and I could be free. Are we now sacrificing hundreds of thousands of humans FOR NO REASON to secure your freedom FROM A MASK?!?! There is a lot of blood on a lot of hands. Also, this is not pro-life. It’s pro-freedom at everyone else’s expense. Don’t crow on here about saving unborn babies when you can’t be a little uncomfortable to save your fellow man. Pro-life is pro-life. You can’t have it both ways.

  17. Josh Jones on July 28th, 2021 11:35 am

    It’s HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Your employer CAN ask you if you are vaccinated.

    Most schools require your child to be immunized for a slew of diseases in order to attend.

  18. SueB on July 28th, 2021 10:52 am

    Check out HIPPA web site on COVID, Medical Records, Patients, etc., to have a clear understanding what people can do or not do especially in reference to COVID!!!!!

  19. Joy bryant on July 28th, 2021 10:12 am

    NOT if DeSantes gets his way!!! he IS THE cause of this!! NO MASK NO VACCINES

  20. Lee on July 28th, 2021 9:31 am

    This is nothing new. Vaccines have been required in lots of circumstances for years. It’s a public safety issue. Once the FDA gives approval for the vaccine, lots more businesses will require their employees, and maybe its patrons, be vaccinated.

  21. D on July 28th, 2021 9:29 am

    Get the vaccine, dudes. Ready for this to end.

  22. Frank on July 28th, 2021 9:27 am

    With Hippa requirements how can they ask?

  23. Elizabeth Sutley on July 28th, 2021 9:15 am

    brianh, It’s more concerning to me how someone can work in a healthcare facility where obviously people are sick and vunerable to diseases and NOT get a vaccine. There have been exemptions all along for people who are truly unable to get the vaccine. Imagine if people had to truly sacrifice like generations before us. Wearing a mask is not a big deal but so many did not and will not because of their “personal liberty”. It’s a dangerous time for everyone around them!

  24. Reality Check on July 28th, 2021 7:35 am


    Don’t be ridiculous. Not everything is a political game. People are literally dying because of this virus. Just wait until you find out what happens when a person comes down with TB and what the government can legally do in those cases. This isn’t even that extreme. Get your vaccine, or get out of healthcare. That’s the reason this thing has spread. People’s ignorance to the actual science.

  25. Lisa Fuller on July 28th, 2021 7:30 am

    I agree with brianh. I have several close family members who are employed in various levels of skilled nursing care. Most of them have been long-time employees of the same facility. I can understand an employer requiring the vaccine for new hires. But to require the vaccine of an existing employee as a condition of continued employment is far-reaching. I also wonder if this is simply a policy that will make the employer look good in the public eye but won’t really be enforced. Let’s face it. There is a critical shortage of employees in healthcare right now due to burnout from the extreme working conditions of COVID. Are employers really going to start firing excellent employees over a vaccine? And if they do, won’t that add to the existing staff shortage and further lower patient care? Time will tell.

  26. molino resident on July 28th, 2021 7:24 am

    Our government is after total control (socialism/communism) and the sheeple are too asleep to see it.

    America should always be about choice. You can abort a baby at 9 months pregnant, but you can’t decide yes or no about a shot, unless you want to lose your job. This is not America anymore.

    Wake up.

  27. Bob on July 28th, 2021 7:17 am

    Thank goodness.

    It seems like common sense to me. If I went to the hospital, I wouldn’t want to be treated by someone who was around sick people all day but didn’t believe in taking basic steps to protect their patients.

    If you don’t believe in medical science and don’t want to get vaccinated, that’s your call. But it sounds like working in the medical field probably isn’t the best fit for you.

  28. Perry on July 28th, 2021 7:14 am

    I really would like to see the County and State (and country for that matter) post numbers like Baptist did above that tell how many cases were in people who had been vaccinated, as well as a breakdown which vaccine they had. Baptist’s numbers show about 11.5% cases in those vaccinated. I have friends who have had both J & J and the Moderna vaccines get the virus recently. The information should be easily available, but yet I don’t see it being reported regularly.

  29. A Alex on July 28th, 2021 7:07 am

    If youre in contact with covid patients coming and going, you best be vax so as not to spread at work. For if you catch it AT WORK IS THAT WORKERS COMP?

  30. Dwr on July 28th, 2021 7:06 am

    Sounds like a staffing shortage is in that hospitals near future.

  31. brianh on July 28th, 2021 3:48 am

    I am curious that if a company can require you to have a vaccine what other life choices will they be able to force upon us? These are very dangerous times for personal liberty in this country.

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