News Cast 6/2

News Cast for June 2nd:

The Okeechobee City Council will meet this evening for the first time in June and they will be discussing the status of the Coronavirus in the city with the county health department. Councilmembers will also be discussing the fire services interlocal agreement the city has with the county and they will take the time to recognize an employee of the Okeechobee City Police Department for her 35 years of service. The meeting will be held at City Hall beginning at six o’clock. Public is invited to attend but seating is limited due to the social distancing guidelines. The meeting will be streamed live on the city’s website and you can view it by logging on to www.cityofokeechobee.com/agendas.html.

It’s been happening all over the country and it’s gaining traction around the world and Okeechobee is no different as several members of the community gathered at the intersection of Parrott Avenue and Park Street yesterday to protest the unjust death of Minnesota resident George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. Yesterday’s protest began with about twenty people at around five o’clock and it soon rose to as many as seventy people at one point before concluding at 8:30. Okeechobee resident Amber Sewell organized the protest and she says she found it “absolutely tragic” Floyd’s death happened the way it did and she says this demonstration is the right way to express the wrongness over the incident.

Another resident, Kevin Boswell echoes Sewell’s statement about the tragic nature of Floyd’s death and expressed hope that this protest will bring about some change.

The demonstration attracted not just adults but children too, including 10 year old Tristan Knowles, who just moved here from Pahokee.

This is the second time that this protest took place and they will be protesting again tonight in the same location, Parrott Avenue and Park Street, beginning at five o’clock.

The number of positive cases for the Coronavirus in Okeechobee County unfortunately rose to 84 over the weekend into last evening. 83 of those 84 people diagnosed with the virus are local residents and their ages range from 6 to 87 with the median age of the patients being 36. Ten of the patients have been hospitalized. Those who have tested positive are being cooperative with the county and their health providers and going through the 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 sense of smell or sense of taste.

Neighboring counties also experienced a rise in their COVID-19 statistics over the weekend into today. Martin County has 652 positive cases of the Coronavirus with nine fatalities, Hendry County has 431 reported cases now with 15 fatalities, Glades County has 32 reported cases with one fatality, Highlands County has 130 cases with nine fatalities, Osceola County has 703 positive cases with 19 fatalities and Palm Beach has 36,135 cases with 337 fatalities. There are now 56,830 reported cases of people who have tested positive for the Coronavirus in the state; 55,415 of them are FL residents. The state’s death toll stands at 2,460 with 10,231 people hospitalized.

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 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.

On the arrest report:

29 year old Terry DeWayne White Junior of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for possession of the controlled substances hydrocodone, alprazolam and others without a prescription. His bond is set at $45 hundred dollars.

41 year old Thomasine James Jumper of Okeechobee was arrested on a Glades County warrant for violating probation on a previous domestic battery charge. He was released after posting a $25 hundred dollar bond.

41 year old Jarin Derrell Pikes of Okeechobee was arrested for cocaine possession. He was released after posting a five thousand dollar bond.

31 year old Alvin Eugene Crowell Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past battery charges. He’s being held without bond.

31 year old Christie Juracit Shockley of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of the controlled substances Adderall and Xanax without prescriptions. Her bond is set at five thousand dollars.

27 year old Nicole Lataye Futch of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on undisclosed charges. Her bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

27 year old John Michael McGuire of Clearwater was arrested for possession of marijuana, cocaine, drug paraphernalia and controlled substances with intent to sell near a place of worship. His bond is set at $271 thousand dollars.