Local News 12-15-20

Five hospitals in Florida received and began administering the first coronavirus vaccine on Monday, but there’s no word – YET on when we’ll see the needles available locally. Tampa General Hospital was among five pilot hospitals and received 19,500 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on Monday morning. Like the other pilot hospitals, Tampa General promptly began inoculating its healthcare workers, starting with a 31-year-old registered nurse, Vanessa Arroyo, at the conclusion of a press conference by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Florida expects to get nearly 100,000 doses for health care workers by this morning. On Thursday, Moderna’s vaccine will be reviewed by the FDA Advisory Committee. Emergency use authorization could be issued Friday. Florida is expecting to get roughly 365,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine.

If working from home is your way of staying safe, the company “Outdoorsy” has some good news for you. More than a quarter of the jobs in Highlands County can be performed remotely, according to the website. 28.9% of the job in the County can be classified as remote-friendly – about 7400 of them, they say.

Speaking of working from home, how is that at-home learning option working for the schools? Not so hot say Highlands County District Schools. They’ve sent about 300 notices out to parents that if their kids don’t improve at least one class grade, they’ll flunk and have to go back to brick-and-mortar schools to repeat the grade level and course. Partial credit doesn’t happen online – The District said virtual students have to complete all coursework to get credit for the whole semester. There are around 1,300 kids in Virtual School this year, up from 70 last year.

Normally, a ribbon cutting is the sign of a new business location opening up, but Thursday the ribbon gets cut on new combined offices for Highlands County’s Fire-Rescue Department. Chief Marc Bashoor says the combined operations offices, billing and supply site sharing the strip offices on Kenilworth Boulevard with the Supervisor of Elections Operations Center will save the taxpayer money by avoiding expansion of the EOC and free up staff at both the County Government Center and the Desoto City Fire station, where operations have been split for the last couple years.