Friday May 1st News 2020

Martin County public schools will hold traditional high school graduation ceremonies in late July, officials announced on Thursday. Superintendent Laurie Gaylord said that while there are many public health guidelines to take into consideration due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Martin County School District has tentatively set dates toward the end of July for graduation ceremonies. Gaylord added that school district officials will seek input from public health experts about how to safely hold the ceremonies. No other details including exact dates, the location of the ceremonies, and whether there will be attendance restrictions, have been announced. Public schools in Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties are planning to hold virtual graduations, while high school graduation ceremonies in Indian River County will likely be postponed until July, officials said.

While many businesses are still closed in are area, slowly opening back today, Blueberry Bunch Farm remains open. If you’re looking for something to do, go pick some blueberries! Farm workers are following all CDC guidelines at the farm, and it’s a great way to get out of the house for some fresh air and fun. Blueberry Bunch Farm will be open until mid-May. They are open from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

The Florida Department of Health in Hendry County is now a COVID-19 collection/testing site. This gives private physicians (who don’t provide testing) the opportunity to have their clients tested. This is especially important since the CDC added 6 new symptoms for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus: •Fever •Cough •Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing •Chills •Repeated shaking with chills •Muscle pain •Headache •Sore throat •New loss of taste or smell.

Please see the process below to get tested at the Health Department:

  • Contact your healthcare provider.
  • Your healthcare provider will enter an order or create a “requisition” (Not a prescription).
  • you get a copy of the requisition.
  • You then call the Health Department for an appointment to be tested.
  • Appointments at the Clewiston Health Department are available on Tuesdays from 10am until noon. (1100 S. Olympia Ave, Clewiston. Phone (863) 983-1408.)
  • Appointments at the LaBelle Health Department are available on Fridays from 10am until noon. (1140 Pratt Blvd, LaBelle. (863) 674-4041)
  • The Health Department collects the sample confidentially at curbside. (You will remain in your vehicles during the sampling process)
  • The Health Dept sends the sample to a Quest Diagnostics laboratory.
  • Test results will be sent to your healthcare provider who will notify you.

The start of the re-opening of the state of Florida following weeks of shutdowns from the Coronavirus will be taking place next week. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday during a press conference that Phase One of the re-opening of the state will begin Monday and that will include restaurants and stores re-opening to allow a certain number of customers inside their doors. In the case of restaurants, restaurant workers will be able to bring in customers at a 25 percent capacity and outdoor dining will be opened, so long as tables are spaced six feet apart. DeSantis called for masks to be worn in face to face business. DeSantis says part of the Phase One re-opening will be to expand testing for the Coronavirus from what we’ve done already, specifically in walk-up testing (DeSantis 2). DeSantis says the Coronavirus has been a “formidable enemy” for everyone, especially the elderly and medically vulnerable and emphasized during this Phase One re-opening, our biggest obstacle is fear and we need to focus on facts and not fear. As part of Phase One re-opening, schools will continue to do online learning, elective surgeries can resume, no visitors at long-term care facilities and places where large gatherings can happen such as gyms, movie theaters, bars, pubs, and nightclubs will remain closed.

First Bank is sending a big Thank You to President Trump for remembering the hard-working American people across the country. Vice President of First Bank Mali Gardner says, Amid the COVID 19 pandemic and in order to survive devastating job losses, the White House and Congress approved the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program. Under this program, $349 billion was appropriated with an additional appropriation of $310 billion. In order to meet the small business needs customers with most lines of business from Agriculture to Healthcare and everywhere in between, First Bank stepped up and successfully delivered funding from the much-needed stimulus program to those in need. Gardner says along with many prayers, First Bank delivered to its customers, the necessary support for them to be able to provide paychecks to their employees at a time when needed the most. Carey Soud, President of First Bank said, this would not have been possible without the foresight of President Trump and his White House Team working with Congress to bring sustainability amid a pandemic.