News Cast 8/5

News Cast for August 5th:

COVID numbers misleading public 

The governor hosted a round table of hospital executives to discuss the increase in COVID 19 cases and hospitalizations.  Major news outlets have reported record numbers of cases and hospitalizations in the past week. Most of the hospitalizations are unvaccinated people. 

Carlos Migoya of Jackson Health System in Miami said the numbers are misleading when it comes to vaccinated patients. 

“25% of those COVID positive in our hospital came in for other procedures, got tested, tested positive, and are asymptomatic.”  He said the cases with vaccinated patients are less severe and most patients only stay in the hospital for a day or two. 

OUA reports progress on major projects 

OUA Executive Director John Hayford reported progress on three major infrastructure projects.  Construction is underway for $13.5 million in sewer improvements known as the Southwest Service Area.  They are also studying the Treasure Island sewer project 

“We are still pursuing this project and we hope to be doing things out there in four to five years.” 

This project could cost up to $24.3 million and add some 2,000 septic tanks to the sewer system. 

No injuries after crash involving state officer 

A 58 year old Okeechobee man was charged after a traffic crash with a Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer on state road 70 east at Berman Road.  Johnny Ray Johnson allegedly had palmetto berries in the trunk and some methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in the car, Okeechobee Deputies said. 

He did not have a permit for the berries.  Deputies said a passenger fled the scene on foot and was being sought on local warrants. 

Fire assessments to rise in Lorida 

The Highlands County Board of County Commissioners approved a 7 percent hike in fire assessments.  Many in attendance at the public hearing opposed the increase due to the pandemic and lower incomes. 

Iris Fabris said it’s a bad economy and people don’t have the money.  “This town is having trouble with no stores.  If the people can’t live here it will be a ghost town.” 

John Cogswell said the county is taxing to protect a fire proof building and putting him out of business.  “I will give each one of you a gallon of gasoline, a box of matches, and a half hour to try and burn this building that they are charging me $240 per year to protect it against fire.” 

The county is trying to improve fire protection and they would raise about $660,000 in new revenue if the assessment receives final approval later this year.