News Update for 3/17/20

There still are no cases of the Coronavirus to report in the heartland. Maps by the Centers for Disease Control show no cases in Highlands, Polk, Hardee, Okeechobee or Desoto Counties.
Statewide, there have been a reported 173 confirmed cases across the Sunshine State.
Here in Highlands County, sheriff’s dispatchers have been ordered to pre-screen calls, asking callers if they have had any out of country travel, have experienced any corona virus-like symptoms or have been in contact with anybody who has.

It’s primary election day today. Here in Highlands County, Supervisor of Elections Penny Ogg says her workers have been planning and making preparations for voters.
Among other things, there will be hand sanitizers and cleaning items at each precinct in an effort to ward off the spread of any germs.
Workers will be wiping down surfaces and equipment on a regular basis. Voters also are welcome to use their own pens to mark their ballots – instead of sharing the one in the voting booth.

Highlands County Commissioners met in regular session this morning. They enacted a local state of emergency due to spread of the Corona Virus in other areas of the state. The largely ceremonial action allows the county to apply for federal and state dollars or supplies to respond should an actual emergency occur here.
It also provides for other emergency actions – such as the enacting of a curfew should the need for one arise.
The current declaration will be in effect for the next seven days.

The Sebring city council will meet today at a special time. They had adjusted their schedule to this afternoon at 3:00 for the annual downtown Fan Fest for the 12 Hours of Sebring. However – due to the postponement of the race, that won’t happen.
Council, however, will have an afternoon session with an abbreviated agenda. That will include looking at a wastewater treatment upgrade for Lake Jackson.

Although there have been no cases of the Corona Virus in Polk County, officials in Lake Wales reportedly will begin restricting services. Although city staff will answer phone calls and emails, entrance to city hall will be restricted.
Individuals, building contractors or businesses seeking to apply for building permits or inspections will be allowed in. Others are asked to use drive-up facilities.
Lake Wales has closed a number of recreational building facilities, however, most parks and trails remain open.