News Cast 8/2

News Cast for August 2nd:

Public Health is everyone’s responsibility. As cases increase, individuals should continue to watch for COVID-19 symptoms, especially if un-vaccinated. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should keep your distance and be evaluated by a health care provider. For COVID positive persons and exposed contacts we are following the CDC Guidelines regarding isolation and quarantine time frames. Vaccines are the most effective tools to protect your health and prevent the spread of disease. The COVID-19 vaccines used in the U.S. are safe, highly effective, and protect against the risk of severe illness from the COVID-19 virus, including known variants. It is essential to continue this stride and increase vaccination across eligible age groups. To find a location near you to receive the vaccine please visit the Department of Health’s vaccine locator @ Know Before You Go (floridahealthcovid19.gov)

COVID cases hit one day high in Florida 

The Florida Department of Health reported a one day record of 21,683 COVID 19 cases on Saturday. 

They also reported over 10,000 hospitalizations that set another record for this pandemic. 

Okeechobee reported 154 cases in the past week and 270 vaccinations. 

The positive test rate was 19.4%.  The vaccination rate for 12 and older in Okeechobee County is 40%. 

Glades County reported nine new cases and 74 vaccinations in the past week.  The positive test rate was 13%.  The vaccination rate for 12 and older is 43%. 

Teacher raises to continue in Okeechobee 

The Okeechobee School Board plans to give teachers a raise. 

They have yet to schedule contract negotiations with teachers and staff. 

The teachers also to receive a $1,000 bonus check from the state this month. 

The state has set a target of $47,500 for the starting salary for Okeechobee teachers. 

The district also plans to hold a normal open house on Thursday. 

Superintendent Ken Kenworthy said parents and students can opt to go online to get their schedules. 

He said he expected a healthy turnout at open house. 

This was before the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases. 

The district held a ceremony Friday to welcome back teachers and welcome over 50 new educators to the system. 

The school board plans to hold their regular August meeting tonight. 

Fatal crash closes SR 80 Saturday. 

A 32 year old Moore Haven man suffered minor injury in a three vehicle crash in rural Hendry County early Saturday. 

The man was a driver of a pickup truck that re-ended a sport utility vehicle at the intersection of State Road 80 and Lexington Parkway, the Florida Highway Patrol said. 

A passenger in the SUV, a 38 year old Miami woman…was killed. 

The Moore Haven man and the driver of the SUV suffered minor injury. 

The crash remained under investigation. 

Sheriff could reduce budget to help commissioners 

The Highlands County Sheriff requested a nine percent budget hike and a three percent salary hike for employees. 

He plans to reduce those demands.  The original proposal was for just over $33 million. 

Finance director Rob Reed said most of the budget goes to employees 

“Not a lot of it is really manageable or controllable.  We could fire everybody or have layoffs.  There are people costs.  Without that costs are increasing and we are scheduling a three percent salary hike.” 

Highlands County Commissioners have said they do not support a property tax hike this year.