News Cast 8/13

News Cast for August 13th:

Okeechobee County Commissioners will be having a considerably busy day today as they will meet this morning to discuss the status of the Coronavirus in the county and they will also look to accept one or both of the presented street signs for the renaming of Center Street in memory of US Navy officer Corporal Earl Hansel who served in World War II and was a Prisoner of War. They will also look to award a bid to an outside company for the replacing of the roof at the Okeechobee County Public Library. The meeting will begin at nine o’clock in the Historic County Courthouse. Seating will be limited due to the social distancing guidelines. The meeting will be streamed live on the commissioners’ website.

Okeechobee County Commissioners will be meeting again later this evening to conduct a public hearing to discuss a proposed amendment to the Okeechobee County Land Development Regulations. The public hearing will take place at the Historic County Courthouse beginning at six o’clock. Once again, seating will be limited because of social distancing and it’ll be streamed live on the commissioners’ website.

Speaking of the Okeechobee County Commissioners, during their last meeting, they received a presentation from representatives of Place Dynamics LLC, a worldwide company based in Wisconsin that does market research, district developments and economic development for communities. Place Dynamics did a visitor profile study for Okeechobee County to help with marketing the county to attract more visitors. Michael Stumpf, Place Dynamics Principal, says by a geo-target through cell phones, they can identify where Okeechobee County was drawing potential visitors and they noticed that most of them were coming from upper Midwest areas like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana as well as southern states like Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. Stumpf says this is the result of what he calls the “psycho-graphic” or psychological demographic element. Okeechobee County Tourist Development Coordinator Sharie Turgeon says it was great to have Place Dynamics do this visitor profile study and now that they sort of have their “target audience” so to speak in terms of attracting potential visitors, it removes the guessing games. Recent survey numbers revealed that 79 percent of 150 thousand people polled want come to Florida in the next two years and 45 percent of them want to visit Okeechobee. The report was to be presented last April but the emergence of COVID-19 delayed the presentation.

Okeechobee County is still knocking on the door of the eleven hundred mark in positive COVID-19 cases. As of yesterday morning, courtesy of the Florida Department of Health, the number of positive cases in Okeechobee County is now at 1,081 since March, with 12 fatalities. 1,077 people diagnosed with the virus are local residents and their ages range from zero to 94 with the median age of the patients being 36. One hundred five county residents have been hospitalized. Remember, Tiffany Collins of the County Health Department says those who have tested positive are being cooperative with the county and their health providers and going through routine contact tracing. Collins says the health department will continue to focus on contact tracing investigations of those that are hospitalized with the virus and they will be doing what she calls “texting monitoring”. 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.

Also as of yesterday morning, there are a reported 550,901 reported positive cases of the Coronavirus since March and 545,040 of them are FL residents. The state’s death toll stands at 8,765 with 31,947 people hospitalized.

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:

18 year old Billy Cecil Bailey the Third of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for petit theft and criminal mischief. His bond is set at $15 hundred dollars.

29 year old Rebekka Camile Canto of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Her bond is set at $1750.00 dollars.

37 year old Russell Osceola Junior of Okeechobee was arrested on three counts of sending threats with the intent of injuring or killing someone. His bond is set at $150 thousand dollars.

31 year old Derrick Levi Clay of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of battery on a fellow inmate at the Okeechobee County Jail. He’s being held without bond.

26 year old Kasandra Lashawn Baker of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of domestic violence. She’s being held without bond.

33 year old Candice Nicole Nesby of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of possession of a controlled substance. Her bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.