News Update for 7/8/20

NEWS 7/8/20 BF

Numbers released this morning by the Florida Department of Health show Highlands County has registered 22 new positive cases of the Coronavirus and 139 negative test results. The current report shows 10,224 tests have been done locally – of those, 9,750 have been negative with 457 positive cases.
The severity of those positive cases remains unknown. Florida Department of Health officials will reveal only that 76 people have been hospitalized locally at some point in their illness. Since numbers started being kept, 12 fatalities in Highlands have been tied to the Coronavirus.

NEWS 7/8/20 BF

Highlands County Commissioners yesterday approved a plan to disburse money from the so called CARES Act. The initial distribution will be $4.6 million dollars from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act.
There will be $1500 in individual assistance to eligible residents and some two million dollars in funds for eligible businesses. Under Community Proposals, there’s $250,000 to give to non-profits that qualify. There’s also $720,000 for Coronavirus testing and distribution and $500,000 to County government for safety improvements.
The application period for the funds has not yet been set.

NEWS 7/8/20 BF

It does not appear that there will be any mask mandates in the area – at least for a while. Highlands County commissioners have declined to issue a mandate that all residents be forced to wear facemasks – due to the Coronavirus. They cited discussions with Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman who said enforcement of such a policy would not be possible.
Polk County commissioners likewise turned down the idea of a blanket mandate which would have forced all citizens to don facemasks of some kind.
Officials from Hardee county noted they have no such mandate, saying commissioners there have not taken up the issue.

Bassmaster Magazine has declared Lake Istokpoga as one of the Best Bass Lakes of the Decades. In all, there a 100 bodies of water on the annual list. Previously, Istokpoga has been tapped as one of the best such fishing lakes in the Southeast.
Istokpoga has been the site of several large scale tournaments and even a number of television specialists. Bassmasster rankers say it is one of the lakes on their “bucket list” to fish.