Thursday May 21, 2020 News

We spoke briefly about the Rebekah Jones, the woman who said she was removed from her position of compiling and reporting COVID data, because she would not censor numbers. Well Governor DeSantis attempted to clear the record. The Governors says, “She is not an epidemiologist, she is not the chief architect of our web portal that is another false statement,” Gov. DeSantis said. “She’s not a data scientist. She’s somebody that got a degree in journalism communication and geography. She is not involved in collating any data, she does not have the expertise to do that.” Well that is not what Ms. Jones described herself as. She says she is the architect behind the COVID-19 dashboard.  The Governor’s Press Secretary Helen Ferre stated that Jones’ removal comes after she “exhibited a repeated course of insubordination during her time with the department, including her unilateral decisions to modify the department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval.” Jones has until 5 p.m. today to resign or she’ll be terminated.

Clewiston City Commissioner Kristine Petersen has a message for residents regarding COVID-19: “Please consider testing and please wear your masks in public because you just don’t know.” The Commissioner admitted that she had tested positive for COVID-19 during virtual Clewiston City Commission meeting, held Monday. Commissioner Petersen said she had been asymptomatic and unaware that she had been infected, until she got tested. The test showed that she was likely infected 30 days before the test results were received. She commented that she was extremely thankful she had followed the rules as she didn’t know she was positive, and could have spread the virus to the public if she hadn’t been taking the proper precautions of wearing a mask in public, social distancing and frequent hand washing.

The Department of Health reports that the latest number or reported COVID-19 positive residents in Hendry County is 228. The number of deaths remains at 12. And the number of recoveries is at 38. That brings the total number of ACTIVE positive cases for COVID-19 in Hendry County to 178. Hendry County residents can be tested at the Clewiston Health Department on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the LaBelle Health Department on Fridays from 10 am to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Residents need to contact their healthcare provider for more information on the process.

Okeechobee County held a memorial service to honor law enforcement officers that died in 2019 in front of the Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Noel Stephen says law enforcement officers are part of a family and they are in the business of watching each other’s backs. Their integrity, courage, ethics and allegiance to each other and their communities is what sets them apart from others. In reading the names of those Florida officers who lost their lives, Stephen says he hopes he never has to experience that kind of loss in his department. Police Chief Bob Peterson says it’s a somber moment to remember those fallen officers and the potential for danger is a part of an officer’s job. Peterson says it’s gotten a lot worse over the years because of what he says is a general disrespect between people. As part of the service, a section of a wall in front of the steps of the sheriff’s office building was dedicated to the memory of Okeechobee Sheriff Deputy Glover “Skip” Bryant, who died during a search and rescue mission in 1991. As of May 6th, 61 law officers have been killed, three of them being FL officers.