News Cast 1/29

News Cast for January 29th:

Stop those long lines

Okeechobee County Officials said they were dismayed to see photos of senior citizens standing outside the Okeechobee Health Department long before dawn onTuesday.

They were standing there because they couldn’t make appointments over the phone for vaccine.

The commission argues that collaboration and flexibility can stop the long lines.

They suggest a phone bank, better data bases, more resources and even a drive-thru clinic at the Ag Center to better serve the community.

Chairman Terry Burroughs said the Publix Pharmacy here in Okeechobee should also be able to give out vaccine.

Health Department Director Tiffany Collins said her staff is working hard and doing the best it can.  She noted the 300 doses per week are well below the demand.  She said they could vaccinate 300 per day if they had the supply.

“My staff is truly working hard.  They are truly exhausted.  There is support that you guys could be providing us,” she added.

Okeechobee has reported 318 new COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks.  The daily positivity rate has dropped to just over 15%.

BOCC “Go ahead and build it”

The majority of the Board of County Commissioners opted to go forward with a $55 million dollar plan to expand the Okeechobee County Jail.

Officials said the jail is overcrowded and the facility is old and decaying.

Commissioner Brad Goodbread said he feels good about the plans.

“The jail is not overkill.  It will meet our needs.  It is not building a wish list that is way more than we need.”

Commissioner Kelly Owens said she worries about the costs.  She stated if they build the jail and don’t raise property taxes other services will have to be cut.

“I’m not saying don’t do it.  In my opinion there are options where we can cut costs.  If we can make those cuts and still meet the needs I think that is responsible.”