News Update for 7/2/20

Latest Numbers released by the Florida Department of Health show Highlands County has registered 15 new positive cases of the Coronavirus and 435 negative test results. The current report shows 9,239 tests done locally. Of those, 8,860 have been negative with 372 positive cases.
The severity of those positive cases remains unknown. Florida Department of Health officials will reveal that 67 people have been hospitalized locally at some point in their illness. Since numbers started being kept, 11 fatalities in Highlands have been tied to the Coronavirus.

It appears Highlands County is in line for some cash from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act. Highlands County Commissioner Don Elwell, who sat in on the CARES committee meetings, reports that Highlands County will receive about $4.6 million. Those funds must be distributed by September 30th. Once that money is handed out, the county will be in line for another $13.8 million to help those most affected by the pandemic.
The money is designed to assist with expenses due to the Corona virus. Those expenses include such things as assisting individuals with rent, utilities and the like. Also for for small businesses, non-profits, testing costs and to reimburse government expenses.
More details will be released as programs are firmed up.

Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division deputies teamed up agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and deputies with the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office for “Operation Dry Ice.”
Together they rounded up more than 20 drug dealers from all over Highlands County. Some of those arrested could also be facing federal indictments in the future.

Independence day is coming and officials of the Avon Park Air Force Range say they will be hosting a bit of training today. Those with their eyes to the skies may see some F-16 fighter jets and H-60s which will be working out at the bombing range there.

A Winter Haven man was killed last night in a Lake Wales auto accident. Polk County Sheriff’s reports say 25-year-old Rene Perez was on Crews Road when he lost control of his car while passing another vehicle. Witnesses said the Chevy Impala spun out and slammed into a stand of trees. They say he was not buckled up.
Perez suffered severe internal injuries and was transported to Lake Wales Medical Center where he was pronounced dead on arrival.