News Update for 4/8/20

As more tests are given for the Coronavirus here, more positives are expected. Highlands County has gone up now to 41 local cases of the disease – although the severity of the infections are not known.
Officials say there are 25 men and 16 women who have tested positive. There have been 12 hospitalizations and two deaths.
Department of Health officials explain the hospitalization = number does not necessarily represent the number of persons currently in a hospital. They say it a count of laboratory confirmed cases in which an inpatient hospitalization occurred at some time during during the course of the illness.
Department of Health officials have not yet issued any recovery rates. Of the 323 tests administered so far, 278 have come back negative.

It was an experience in distance government yesterday, as Highlands County commissioners met online, working from home. It was an effort to practice what has been termed “social distancing.”
There was a discussion on the imposition of a burn ban on the county due to the very dry weather. Commissioners decided to put that off until their next meeting.
In other action, commissioners sold off a couple of pieces of county-owned property, re-named a couple roads and declined to increase the budget for fencing along Phase III of the Sebring Parkway.

Highlands County law enforcement and first responders took some time out yesterday to give some moral support to hospital workers. A caravan of sheriff’s deputies, EMS and fire vehicles visited all three local hospital campuses during shift change – turning on their lights to show support for the nurses and doctors at each facility.
Earlier, Highlands County sheriff’s officials facilitated an event at The Manors nursing home, where relatives – who now are not permitted to visit – were paraded around the outside of the building to wave to their loved ones.

Highlands County Sheriff’s officials are taking some time to work on their patrol vehicles. They describe the markings on the redesigned Ford Explorer SUVs as “cleaner and bolder.” Among other things they have added a more visible reflective strip on the back and have upgraded the lights on the vehicles.