News Cast 11/20

News Cast for November 20th:

All this weekend, officials from One Blood will be in town for the 15th annual Okeechobee Blood Roundup, which will be run by local volunteers. It doesn’t matter what blood type you have, all types are welcome and needed and you will be saving lives by donating. Coordinator Raye Deusinger says the need for blood is higher than ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the supply is extremely short. Deusinger says you can still participate if you’ve given blood within the last month because platelets, which are found in every pint of blood you donate, are in high demand.

Deusinger says giving blood is extremely important this year because if you’ve had the Coronavirus, there may be antibodies in your blood that can be used to help COVID patients fight it off. The Okeechobee Blood Roundup will be held at the Freshman Campus behind Golden Corral and it runs from 9am until 5pm tomorrow and on Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Unlike previous years, this year you must make an appointment to come in and donate blood by calling 1-888-936-6283 or 1-888-9-DONATE. Every donation saves 3 lives. For more information, log on to oneblood.org. Since the Okeechobee Blood Roundup began 15 years ago, 5,845 units have been donated and that has saved over 15 thousand lives. This is the largest and longest-running blood drive in Florida.

Once again, if you need some free food, come on down to the Agri-Civic Center in Okeechobee County this morning. Officials from the Treasure Coast Food Bank, like they have so often this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be having another food pantry at the Agri-Civic Center for those who need it. Okeechobee County Fire Chief Ralph Franklin says information for the food pantry will be made on social media as well as a special brand of the Everbridge System that his department used previously.

Franklin says this food pantry will begin at nine o’clock and will serve the first five hundred vehicles and there will be no vouchers or pre-registration necessary. Treasure Coast Food Bank officials are asking that you remain in your vehicle and clear your trunk space. If you’re sick, please stay home and have someone else pick up the food on your behalf.

21 is Okeechobee County’s number at the moment when it comes to COVID-19 cases and it’s not a lucky number. As of yesterday, for the second day in a row, the number of COVID cases rose by 21 again as we have 1,926 positive cases of the Coronavirus since March. However one number that seems to be good with us for the time being is nine, as in the number of days Okeechobee’s fatality numbers have remained unchanged as a result of the Coronavirus as it’s holding steady at 43 deaths. 1,918 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 39. Hospitalized county residents went up by one, as they now number at 202. 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 yesterday morning, officials from the state health department are reporting 914,333 positive COVID-19 cases since March and 901,234 of those are FL residents. Florida’s death toll is at 17,810 with 52,865 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:

57 year old Lillias Major of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on three counts of possession of fentanyl with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia and neglecting an elderly disabled adult. She was released after posting a $33 thousand dollar bond.

33 year old Adam Lee Murphy of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

41 year old Gustavo Velazquez Del Angel of Okeechobee was arrested on battery charges. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

38 year old Clayton Lee Jones of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving for the third time and carrying a concealed firearm after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. He was released after posting a $75 hundred dollar bond.

18 year old Deanna Tindall of Okeechobee was arrested for fraudulent use of someone’s credit card, burglary, grand theft auto and petit theft. Her bond is set at $21 thousand dollars.

19 year old Joseph Daniel Tonegas Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for criminal mischief. His bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

37 year old Kurtis Elton Enfinger of Okeechobee was arrested for second degree petit theft. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

29 year old Jessica Denise Julian of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. Her bond has not been set.

37 year old Juan Carlos Sanchez Munoz of Okeechobee was arrested by police for cocaine possession. He was released after posting a $25 hundred dollar bond.

52 year old James Rufus Vanover of Okeechobee was arrested for trespassing after being warned by the property owner. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.