News Update for 3/31/20

As testing for the coronavirus continues here, Highlands County’s numbers continue to inch up. Currently there are 14 confirmed cases locally. The ratio remains even between men and women at seven each. There now are three hospitalizations – still only one fatality.
Neighbors Hardee and Okeechobee still stand a zero cases, Desoto at 7, while Polk has climbed to 63,
Statewide, there have been 56,702 tests given. Of those, there are 49,319 negative and 5,704 positive – the rest are pending. There are 71 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Florida.

It appears home schooling is going to go on for a while longer here and across Florida. Highlands County School officials say they have been directed by state officials to keep school buildings closed through the first of May.
In the meantime, distance learning – via computer – will continue for instructional activities at all grade levels. For those needing WiFi connections, authorities say they can pull up in the parking lot and use the schools’ internet connection.

Several fires kept firefighters busy across Highlands County yesterday. All apparently were burn piles that got away.
Units from Desoto City first were called out to extinguish a large debris pile – which turned out to be an illegal burn.
They then were called to the scene of a brush fire on Kenilworth Blvd near Mini Ranch. Units from West Sebring, Lorida, Leisure Lakes and the Florida Forest Service joined in to surround the blaze.
Units from WSVFD and Sun n Lakes of Sebring Station were called to yet another burn pile on Atterberry Drive off EO Douglas. That one extended to three yards and a grove area – no one knows how it started.
Officials remind residents it hasn’t rained for a while and is VERY DRY. They are asking people to follow the laws and if you are burning legally, consider waiting until we’ve had some rain.