News Update for 4/3/20

Highlands County now has registered 24 cases of the Coronavirus. Officials of the Florida Department of Health say there have been 14 men and 10 women diagnosed with the disease locally. The extent of their illness has not been released, however, six people have been put in hospitals here.
The age range is from 0 to 82-years. Of the tests given statewide, 71,348 have come back negative, with 9,008 positive.

A statewide stay-at-home order took effect at midnight. That means non-essential businesses should close and all non-essential activities should cease.
Highlands County Sheriff’s officials say there is NO CURFEW in effect for the County.
Grocery stores, gas stations and drug stores will remain open. There is no need to rush to the store and buy 30 days worth of supplies.
However, authorities say social gatherings in public spaces are not essential activities. Groups of people greater than ten are not permitted to congregate in any public spaces.
All non-essential retail and commercial establishments are ordered closed. A list of essential businesses is located on our facebook page.

Last Saturday, Highlands County officials established a local hotline to help with questions about the Coronavirus. It rings at 863-402-6800. The idea was to take the burden off Highlands County Sheriff’s dispatchers, who already are swamped with law enforcement calls for service.
County officials say at first, questions revolved around where people could get tested.
However, with the institution of the stay-at-home order, residents now are asking if they can go fishing, play golf, attend church services and whether or not they are allowed to leave the state.
There’s no word on how many people have taken advantage of the local service.

Highlands County School officials say the governor’s “shelter in place” order will have no effect on students. The distance learning program via computer is on track. Federally-funded meals also will continue to be distributed without interruption and the exchange and repair service for school-issued Chromebooks still is in service.
School parking lots also are open for those needing internet service for students to complete their lessons.

Units from Sun ‘N Lakes South, Lake Placid, Highlands Park and Placid Lakes were called out shortly before 11:00 last night. Apparently a travel trailer caught fire on Sunflower Street in Sun ‘N Lake of Lake Placid.
There were no injuries, but the incident sparked an adjacent brush fire that also had to be put down. Cause of the fire remains under investigation.