News Update for 4/1/20

As more tests continue to come in, Highlands County’s numbers of the coronavirus inch up. There now are 17 confirmed cases here, however, only four of them are said to be in a hospital. The latest reports show they are between the ages of 23 and 82 with 10 men and seven women affected.
At least six of them now are said to be travel-related.
Hardee and Okeechobee counties continue to show zero cases, Desoto remains at seven with 73 now in Polk County. Polk reportedly now also has recorded a death.
Of the 64,661 tests, 56,644 have come back negative. There are 6,741 positives and 85 deaths have been attributed to the disease.

Due to the very dry conditions, Highlands County fire officials are asking people to STOP BURNING yard trash and other combustibles until it starts back into the wet season.
Highlands Lakes Volunteers were called out yesterday to handle another burn pile that got away due to the windy conditions. There’s no indication as to how much acreage was eaten up in the blaze off Southwest Anderson Road in the South Avon Park Estates.
No injuries were reported and no structures apparently were involved.
Officials say they will call for a public hearing to enact a ban for unpermitted burns. Such a ban already has been issued in Polk county.

Local country singer and evangelist Tommy Brandt has been holding a drive-in church Sunday evenings at the Fountain Shopping plaza. Now comes word that drive-in prayer vigils are being organized for AdventHealth locations in Lake Placid, Sebring and Wauchula – as well as at the Highlands Regional Medical Center.
The effort apparently is being organized by local churches involved with the Abide 21 program. Motorists are asked to park their vehicles in the lot and put their hazard lights on while in prayer. They are asked NOT to leave their cars.
The program is set for tomorrow nite from 6:45 to 7:15pm.

Lake Clay Drive is currently CLOSED between US 27 and Plaza Drive due to live power lines down and a pole on fire.
Officials say the transformer and top of the pole is burned, split, and has fallen. Firefighters now are blocking the road awaiting Duke Energy.
They say they’re not certain what caused the issue.