News Cast 8/26

News Cast for August 26th:

Schools, community continue to battle COVID 

Exclusions were up to 2305 for Okeechobee students and five for staff since school began on August 10. 

There were 92 exclusions of students on Thursday, 63 on Wednesday and 1 hundred and 60 on Tuesday. 

Free testing is available at 10 sites across the county. 

A larger testing site could open on Thursday at the Ag Civic Center. 

The health department reported 489 positive cases in the past week with 87 of school age children. 

Tom Jones with the Fred Brown Health Center said more kids are getting tested. 

He said at all of their centers around the lake and Treasure Coast testing went from 40 kids per day to 400 in the past week. 

The hospital had 43 COVID positive patients Thursday. 

They had 15 patients in the intensive care unit which normally has a capacity of eight patients. 

Raulerson Hospital Administrator Brian Melear said the major challenges are beds, oxygen, and staffing. 

He said they have been worried about oxygen but got a delivery Wednesday night. 

Health officials continued to push for hand washing, wearing masks in public, and getting vaccinated. 

There are four vaccination sites in the county including the health department.  No appointments are necessary. 

Schools see growth on some Florida assessments 

Okeechobee Schools had positive and negatives to report on the Florida Assessment tests. 

The number of students who flunked the max exam dropped by 13 percent. 

The number who passed the history exam dropped by 6 percent. 

Third and seventh graders exceeded the state average on math. 

Science scores in the fifth grade declined by eight percent and by three percent in the eighth grade. 

Civic test scores dropped five percent from grades 5 to 12. 

English scores overall dropped by four percent. 

The district reported the gap between Okeechobee and the state was reduced in Algebra 1, biology and civics. 

The high school graduation rate also increased by 14 percent. 

Tuck productive in getting local funding 

Rep. Kaylee Tuck was able to get fully funded projects for each of her four counties this year. 

Okeechobee received $500,000 for a fire training tower. 

Glades received $900,000 for a new fire station in Muse. 

Tuck is also watching the impacts the Brighton Reservation will have from the gaming compact and the addition of craps, roulette, and sports betting. 

She also promised to continue to seek funding for Okeechobee high school as they deal with the inflation impacts on constructing the new school.