News Cast 11/2

News Cast for November 2nd:

An Okeechobee man is dead following a vehicle accident Wednesday night in Okeechobee County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say the man, who was 60 years old, was riding a bicycle eastbound on Highway 441 near SE 50th Avenue in the right lane in Okeechobee shortly after seven o’clock, at the same time a sports utility vehicle (SUV) was heading in the same direction. The bicycle rider reportedly lost control of the bike and struck the SUV’s front fender. The impact caused the man to fall off the bike and onto the roadway. On-scene medics transported the man to Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee for treatment but he was later declared dead. The driver of the SUV, a 38 year old man from Okeechobee, was not injured. The accident is being investigated. FHP is not releasing the names of those involved in the accident due to Marsy’s Law.

People wanting to be tested for the Coronavirus in Okeechobee County and they can’t seem to find the time to do it or they cannot get to the local health department will have a chance to be tested a bit later this month as the state’s mobile COVID-19 testing bus will be coming back to the county after nearly five months. During their weekly meeting on the status of the Coronavirus on Thursday, Okeechobee County Emergency Management Director Mitch Smeykal announced the testing bus will be in the county on Wednesday, November 11th to test anyone who wishes to be tested, regardless of symptoms. Smeykal says even though November 11th is Veteran’s Day, normally a holiday, that won’t prevent officials for the testing bus from providing this service.

The mobile testing bus will be here all day, beginning at around nine in the morning, first at City Park near City Hall and then at Flagler Park later in the day. Information on the mobile testing bus will be made available on Facebook and the Okeechobee County Emergency Management’s mobile app that can be downloaded to your smartphone.

Clewiston Animal Control can admit to having a tough few months on the job. But nowhere near the tough times local animals have been seeing. Nicole Reid, News Director for our sister station, WAFC in Clewiston, spoke with Jamie Wright, a Clewiston Animal Control Officer with Hendry County and she says since February, Montura has been a drop site, for abused, neglected and already dead animals.

Wright recently admitted that the problem in Montura has become so bad, that the animals that come into the shelter are referred to as “Montura Specials.” The department is hoping to raise awareness about dumping and encourage residents to report or voluntarily surrender pets to reduce their suffering.

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Okeechobee County as of Friday rose by 12 but thankfully the number of fatalities stayed the same.  As of Friday morning, courtesy of the FL Department of Health, Okeechobee County has 1,748 positive cases of the Coronavirus since March, and fatalities are holding steady at 38. 1,731 people diagnosed with the virus are local residents and their ages range from infant to one hundred with the median age of the patients being forty. 194 county residents have been hospitalized. Those who’ve tested positive are being cooperative with the county and their health providers and going through routine contact tracing. Along with fever, coughing and shortness of breath, other COVID-19 symptoms to watch out for include chills, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat and a sudden loss of sense of smell or sense of taste. As of Friday morning, the state reached another milestone as they surpassed the eight hundred thousand mark in positive COVID-19 cases since March with a reported 800,216 cases and 789,714 of those are FL residents. Florida’s death toll is at 16,720 with 49,185 people hospitalized. Okeechobee County residents can be tested, by appointment only, for the Coronavirus at the County Health Department between the hours of eight o’clock in the morning and two o’clock in the afternoon. This is an oral swab test. The Florida Community Health Centers have a drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 testing site available every Tuesday and Thursday from eight o’clock in the morning until noon at the former Okeechobee Surgery Center located at 1655 Highway 441 North. No appointment is necessary and you don’t need insurance, but if you have it, please bring your insurance card, otherwise please bring photo identification. Testing is free in both locations. The Okeechobee County COVID-19 information line remains open from 8am to 5pm now every Tuesday thru Saturday. This number, which also doubles as the phone number of the County Library is manned by live personnel and callers can ask about county updates on the Coronavirus and what is being done. The hotline will not address questions about the virus itself or medical questions. The County Library phone number/hotline related to county updates on the Coronavirus is (863) 763-3536. Any questions related to the virus itself, please call the Okeechobee Health Department at (863) 462-5800 or the 24/7 Department of Health hotline at (866) 779-6121.

Remember, the key to avoiding the Coronavirus is good personal hygiene. Washing your hands for at least 20-30 seconds with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol in it is recommended. Avoid touching your eyes or face with unwashed hands. Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet away from someone when greeting them and not shaking any hands. Avoid shopping at peak hours and use delivery services instead.  Avoid places where there are 10 people or more.

If you need further information about the virus and recommendations for preventing it, please log on to the Department of Health at floridahealth.gov or the Center for Disease Control at cdc.gov.

On the arrest report:

37 year old Rex Robert Allen Junior of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for petit theft. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

34 year old Justin Troy Moore of Okeechobee was arrested by police for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, driving without a valid license and resisting arrest after a traffic stop. His bond is set at four thousand dollars.

38 year old Geoffrey Stanton of Clewiston was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

39 year old Lebrone Juriel Davis of Moore Haven was arrested on a Sarasota County warrant for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. His bond has not been set.