Local News Headlines 1-28-21

Traffic headaches continue through this week in Avon Park as the CSX people continue railroad crossing repairs. Word is West Main Tracks have detours posted and traffic disrupted through this coming Sunday. Local traffic can use North Lake Avenue to CR 17A and US 98/US 27, or West Pleasant Street to US 98/US 27, and trucks will be rerouted onto CR17A back to Highway 27. Other crossings will be closed around Sebring and other parts of the northern half of the County through the weekend.

Highlands County passed a dubious milestone yesterday when we reported our 250th death related to Covid-19. We’ve lost 46 neighbors this month alone to the bug, out of 6,274 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic reporting here – that’s a death rate of just about 4% for persons catching the disease. The Florida Department of Health reports Highlands County’s 2020 projected final death rate from all causes was up by 11.9% over 2019 – about 14% above our five year average.

Meanwhile, it does look like things are speeding up in the effort to get Coronavirus vaccine shots into the arms of seniors who want them. 630 patients received shots Tuesday at the County’s Point of Distribution at Lakeshore Mall – that’s a big bump up from the numbers reported each day in past weeks. County staff continues to chip away at a long waiting list of seniors who registered in droves when registration opened on January 4th. The number of people called each week depends on the number of doses the County receives each week – and they don’t often know that till the week begins.

The County says they’ll contact you when it’s time for your second dose in the same way they confirm your first appointment – by phone or by email. There’s no need to re-enter the waiting list. In fact, they say, please don’t do that.