Local News 12-18-2020

A rollover accident near the intersection with Placid Lakes Boulevard had traffic snarled on State Road 70 for a while yesterday evening. State Patrol and County Sherriff deputies say the road was reopened around 9pm after one person was transported to the hospital.

As of yesterday, Highlands County had logged 237 more cases of Covid-19 and six more deaths from complications of the disease since last week at this time. 66 of our neighbors were in the hospital last night, 23 in Intensive Care Units in the County. According to the Florida Department of Health, that patient count means that we were down to just one available Isolation bed left in the county without using space allocated as “surge” capacity. A little over 4% of Highlands County has now caught the disease, and of the 4,470 positive-testing patients, about one in twenty five has resulted in a fatality.

So, where are our vaccines? On Tuesday, Governor DeSantis said Florida could receive less coronavirus vaccine that the state was expecting because of a “production issue” on the part of a vaccine manufacturer. Yesterday, Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant behind the vaccine, pushed back with a statement saying they have millions more doses in their warehouse but haven’t received shipment instructions for additional doses.

A week or so back, the County opened applications for the third Phase of the state-funded CARES Act for persons negatively affected by the pandemic. The 24-hour window got real crowded – around 1,200 applications for funds, and 4,000 self-certifications came in on the website inside that narrow window. The point to the short timeframe wasn’t to cause panic, but because there’s a December 30th deadline for allocating the money. It did cause some to apply ten times and more – most likely pressing “enter” too many times to make sure while online. Some got recertification and reapplying confused, and there were a few cases of outright fraud in the pile of apps being audited by the Clerk of Court’s office.