By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Although the number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus COVID-19 is still showing a decline statewide, the numbers reported for Escambia County show a significant increase over last week’s figures.
Statewide testing results show that 72 cases of the virus have been confirmed among county residents, up from 49 on May 29. Those figures include testing done on local individuals at any site within the state, including county health departments, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Locally, Atmore Community Hospital had two more confirmed cases, bringing the total positive specimens taken at the hospital to 44, while D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital reported no new confirmations over the 7 in Friday’s report.
Overall, the bi-weekly report shows that 499 specimens have been collected at ACH, with 440 of those giving negative results and 14 tests pending. D.W. McMillan staff tested 17 more people since the May 29 report. Of 276 samples taken at DWM, 254 have turned out negative and 15 are pending.
An emailed request to county healthcare authorities for more details on the increase — whether it was due to increased testing, lab results that had been pending or some other factor — went ignored by Tuesday’s press deadline.
Elsewhere, city parks, city pools and the community’s splash pad were finally opened to the public last week, prompting an outpouring of public presence across the city.
About a dozen children, none of whom seemed to care about social distancing, squealed and ran Sunday, May 30, as water squirted from the train and poured onto them from the hanging cones at the splash pad.
Playgrounds at most parks were occupied, and “about average” crowds swam in or sunbathed at the pools in Tom Byrne Park and Houston Avery Park.
Entertainment venues were allowed to resume business operations, with restrictions, under an amendment to Gov. Kay Ivey’s Safer at Home order.
Wind Creek Hospitality officials announced that its three Alabama casinos — in Atmore, Wetumpka and Montgomery — will reopen to the general public next Monday, June 8 (see related story, this edition), but WCH’s theater complexes, bowling alleys and game arcades would not open until later this summer.
The reopening of First National Bank & Trust lobbies has been delayed due to the unforeseen late arrival of protective equipment. The move to delay is to “ensure the safety of our customers and employees,” according to Brandy Giger with FNB&T.
Danny Rolin, owner of Atmore’s Main Event, said he wasn’t sure when or if pro wrestling matches would resume here.
Most of Atmore’s barber shops, hair salons, nail salons and other personal-contact businesses are starting to resume operations after more than two months of closure that included homegrown haircuts for many.
Also, Escambia River Electric Cooperative announced that it had reopened lobbies at EREC offices in both Walnut Hill and Jay, Fla. Members are encouraged to continue complying with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to protect themselves and others. The cooperative continues to encourage owner-members to utilize remote options for electric service. Payments may be made by mail, telephone autopay, night depository or online at www.erec.com.