News Update for 5/6/20

Florida Department of Health officials have released the latest numbers for the Corona virus. As of this morning, Highlands has one new positive and more than 30 new negatives. Since statistics started being kept, Highlands Has registered 88 positive cases and 1,275 negative cases. In all, 1,369 tests have been administered so far. Some 30 people have been hospitalized at some point during their illness.
Officials from Advent Health reportedly are planning another drive-thru testing event. They administered 355 tests several weeks ago, but have not released the results.
So far, there have been seven deaths attached to the corona virus here. Under Florida Department of Health protocols, anyone who dies with the virus – or is presumed to have had the virus, is said to be a fatality of the virus.

As Highlands County begins to come back online after the governor’s stay at home order, Highlands County commission Chairman Ron Handley wants to make certain that restaurants adhere to the 25-percent occupancy rule.
Handly told the board yesterday that he had been in contact with Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman and asked if deputies could drop by local eateries during their regular patrols to make certain that the businesses were in compliance.
He said that such a law enforcement presence would help “keep people on their toes.”

Highlands County budget meetings will begin today as department heads get together to create their spending plan for the upcoming 20-21 fiscal year.
Commissioners already are expressing concerns about how much tax money they can count on. Property taxes and other assessments are not as troubling as the hit they believe they will take in sales taxes, gas taxes and tourist taxes. The county currently is in a “hiring pause” for some open positions, but did agree to go in search of a new assistant county administrator.
Most of the more than 40 open jobs are in the road & bridge and facilities departments.

Officials of the Highlands County Schools plan to meet today to try and figure out how to handle graduation. They took a poll of parents and students for suggestions. Nearly 500 took part with a wide range of ideas.
They include everything from a drive-thru at the Sebring International Raceway to marching around the Gazebo in Avon Park.