News Cast 5/21

News Cast for May 21st:

A week ago yesterday, it was a time to remember a special group of people not just in Okeechobee but all over the country. It was a time to remember and honor law officers that died in 2019 while on or off duty. Okeechobee County held its own memorial service in front of the Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Noel Stephen says law enforcement officers are part of a family and they are in the business of watching each other’s backs. Their integrity, courage, ethics and allegiance to each other and their communities is what sets them apart from others. In reading the names of those Florida officers who lost their lives, Stephen says he hopes he never has to experience that kind of loss in his department.

Police Chief Bob Peterson says it’s a somber moment to remember those fallen officers and the potential for danger is a part of a law officer’s job. Peterson says it’s gotten a lot worse over the years because of what he says is a general disrespect between people.

As part of the service, a section of a wall in front of the steps of the sheriff’s office building was dedicated to the memory of Okeechobee Sheriff Deputy Glover “Skip” Bryant, who died during a search and rescue mission in 1991. In 2019, 146 US law officers were killed and seven of those were Florida officers. As of May 6th, 61 law officers have been killed, three of them being FL officers.

The number of positive cases for the Coronavirus in Okeechobee County has risen to 49 as of yesterday. 48 of the 49 people diagnosed with the virus are local residents and their ages range from 6 to 87 with the median age of the patients being 34. Five of the patients have been hospitalized. County Health Department officials say a staff member and eight juveniles at the Department of Juvenile Justice Facility (DJJ) have tested positive for COVID-19. Those who have 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 now include chills, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat and a sudden loss of the sense of smell or sense of taste. County Commissioners also renewed the local state of emergency for another week.

There are now 47,471 reported cases of people who have tested positive for the Coronavirus in the state, with 46,197 of them being FL residents. The state’s death toll stands at 2,096 with 8,681 people hospitalized.

To get an idea of what restaurants or other businesses are open or closed in Okeechobee County, please log on to our website at www.wokc.com.

Along with the Wal-Mart parking lot on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7am to 9am each day, Okeechobee County residents can be tested for the Coronavirus at the Okeechobee County Health Department, the emergency room at Raulerson Hospital or by contacting Florida Community Health Centers at (863) 763-7481. You must meet certain criteria before you can be tested and you need to make an appointment. If you’re not sure if you fit the criteria to be tested, please call the county health department and they’ll let you know for sure. These testing sites are available on weekends.

The Health Care District of Palm Beach County is expanding its ongoing COVID-19 testing for residents in Glades communities. Since last month, the Health Care District has offered testing on a walk-up basis with no appointment outside the C.L. Brumback Primary Care Clinic at Lakeside Medical Center on the 39 thousand block of Hooker Highway in Belle Glade. Appointments are now necessary and you can do that by calling (561) 642-1000. Patients can access the drive-thru testing lane or you can park and walk up to the existing site. Individuals can be any age and don’t need to have symptoms to be registered and tested. Results will be sent by a Health Care District provider as soon as possible.

Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee remains on lockdown and they are not allowing any visitors to patients at this time.

The Okeechobee County COVID-19 information line remains open from 8am to 5pm every Monday thru Friday.  This hotline 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 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.

Okeechobee County Commissioners will meet this afternoon with County Health Department and Emergency Management officials to discuss the status of the Coronavirus in the county. The meeting will begin at four o’clock in the Historic County Courthouse and it’ll be streamed live on the commissioners’ website. It is open to the public but attendees must adhere to the social distancing guidelines.

The Okeechobee City Council approved a proclamation deeming this week as National Public Works Week during their meeting Tuesday night. This is a time to recognize and appreciate the importance of your public works department as put together by the American Public Works Association. Okeechobee City Public Works Director David Allen was on hand to accept the proclamation and he says whether it’s turning on your lights or using your bathroom, it’s all because of public works. Allen also says the best part of his job is that no two days are alike.

Allen says he’s discovered that public works tends to be unappreciated or taken for granted until something goes wrong such as a power outage or backed up plumbing. Allen has been Okeechobee’s Public Works Director for seven years.

On the arrest report:

33 year old Adam Matthew Ward of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for violating an injunction relating to a previous sexual misconduct charge. His bond is set at ten thousand dollars.

49 year old Trevor Lee Templeton of Okeechobee was arrested on battery charges. His bond is set at a thousand dollars.

23 year old Rigoberto Zarate Chavez of Okeechobee was arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior on a person between the ages of 12 to 15. His bond is set at $25 thousand dollars.

41 year old Latrisha Lee Hunt of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on undisclosed charges. Her bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

67 year old Roger Lyman Sullivan of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license for the second time during a traffic stop. His bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

29 year old Robert Anthony Williams of Port St. Lucie was arrested for possession of hallucinogenic drugs with intent to sell. His bond is set at twenty thousand dollars.

38 year old Hector Chilel of West Palm Beach was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

30 year old Nicholas Delgado of Melbourne was arrested for possession of hallucinogenic narcotics with intent to sell. His bond is set at twenty thousand dollars.