Tuesday, December 22nd Local Newscast

Yesterday, one Okeechobee boy being treated for cancer experienced what was probably the greatest day in his young life, not to mention an early Christmas present. 12 year old Michael Felkins and his family were the recipients of a brand new pontoon boat, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Florida and Bass Pro Shops in Port St. Lucie. Richard Kelly, Chief Operating Officer of Make-A-Wish of South Florida says Felkins and his family are avid fishermen and their boat was not able to fit all five members of their family and Make-A-Wish approved and granted the young Michael Felkins his wish of this new boat. The young Michael Felkins was so happy to receive this new pontoon boat as was his family and Kelly says this granted wish is all the more meaningful this year.

Kelly says the Felkins family also got some good news yesterday regarding Michael’s condition which made the day all the more special. If you’d like to participate in making a child’s wish come true, please log on to wish.org/sfla. Make-A-Wish of South Florida has granted nearly 13 thousand wishes since 1983 for children suffering from critical illnesses.

On the COVID-19 front here in Okeechobee County, it’s a double case of bad news as the number of positive cases as of yesterday unfortunately rose again, this time by thirty, and the number of fatalities also rose by one. As of yesterday morning, courtesy of the FL Department of Health, Okeechobee County has 2,261 recorded positive cases of the Coronavirus since March and fatalities are now at an even fifty. 2,244 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 forty. 228 county residents have been hospitalized. 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 include chills, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat and a sudden loss of sense of smell or sense of taste.

In Hendry County, positive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday morning are considerably higher than Okeechobee, as they now stand at 3,041 with 3,027 of those people being Hendry County residents. Fatalities are numbering only a bit less than Okeechobee County, as they’re at 46 as we get closer to Christmas Day.

As of yesterday morning, officials from the state health department are reporting 1,212,581 positive COVID-19 cases since March and 1,192,456 of those are FL residents. Florida’s death toll now stands at 20,680 with 60,152 people hospitalized.

Okeechobee County residents can be tested, by appointment only, for the Coronavirus at the County Health Department between the hours of eight and four every Monday thru Thursday and eight to two on Fridays. 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, or just bring photo identification. Testing is free in both locations.

If you have 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. The local health department offers COVID-19 testing every Monday thru Friday for first responders and for those who have symptoms.

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.

The Clewiston High School Tiger Football players have made an impact on and off the field this season. A very special congratulations goes out to two scholar athletes and they are James Edwards and Oran Singleton. Head Coach Pete Walker had a special message for both players. For Edwards, who is receiving his second football offer from Penn State University, Coach Walker said, “This is just the beginning for him, especially since he’s only a junior. As for Singleton, Coach Walker talked about his future on the gridiron (Coach Walker-Singleton) Coach Walker and Clewiston High School wishes both boys well as they prepare for their bright futures.

On the arrest report:

25 year old Maria Jimenez of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on battery charges. She was released after posting a $750.00 dollar bond.

23 year old Brett McKlain Corrales of Okeechobee was arrested for burglary and petit theft. His bond is set at $16 thousand dollars.

48 year old Michael Lee McNeely of Okeechobee was arrested for resisting arrest without violence. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.

31 year old Jonathan Eric Thomas Eaves of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia and three counts of child neglect. His bond is set at $21 thousand dollars.

36 year old Jimmy Glen Thomas Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. His bond is set at $55 hundred dollars.

29 year old Ana Karen Urbina of Okeechobee was arrested for drunk driving and resisting arrest after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. Her bond is set at a thousand dollars.

30 year old Jose Antonio Hernandez of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and resisting arrest. His bond is set at $55 hundred dollars.

19 year old Ty-Juan Antonio Lewis of Okeechobee was arrested by police on charges of loitering and prowling. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.