Wednesday December 9, 2020

Marine units for law enforcement agencies across the state are reminding boaters to watch out for manatees. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that of the more than 500 manatees that have died so far this year in Florida waters, nearly 80 were killed as a result of interactions with watercraft. Officers are now tasked with watching for boaters who may have been putting the mammals in danger. The Tequesta Police Department specifically is one of nine municipalities partnering with the county’s Department of Environmental Resource Management in the efforts.

The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday reported an increase of 9,592 COVID-19 cases for Dec. 8. On Wednesday, the state also reported another 84 Floridians had died after testing positive for COVID-19. That brings the total to 19,716 deaths in the state related to coronavirus. Those numbers do not necessarily mean those people died Tuesday, but rather the state learned of their deaths and added the number to the report that day. In Hendry County, the DOH reported 2,656 residents and 45 deaths.

South Florida is about to see its “snowbirds,” for the season and they may be causing issues for contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Alina Alonso, the health director for Palm Beach County, said that many out-of-town visitors aren’t cooperating with health officials who are trying to identify the source of COVID-19 infections. The health director said contact tracing is only effective when people cooperate with health officials and reveal information about where they’ve been and who they’ve been around. Alonso is requesting an additional 170 contact tracers from the state, saying South Florida is now dealing with “three crises” related to the pandemic: the spike, the second wave upon us, and we also have the holiday seasons upon us, not to mention the tourism that we have here.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is advising the public about a declared Sexual Predator, Todd Robert Sorren, Date of Birth: 5/23/1965, who is now residing at 104 Pelican Lake Drive, Pahokee, FL 33476.

The West County Senior Center in Belle Glade is having a Drive-thru meal and gift Distribution. Due the restrictions of COVID-19. The center will not be hosting its traditional sit-down holiday party, but will instead offer the seniors a take-out meal and a special gift provided by US Sugar. US Sugar said “Feeding others and supporting our communities is an important part of what defines the people of US Sugar”. Throughout the pandemic, the people of US Sugar have provided hot meals, fresh produce and protective equipment. US Sugar presented the West County Senior Center with a $750 check to underwrite the food costs for the Celebration.

Some of the COVID-19 vaccine candidates call for more than one shot, so how are health officials gonna make sure patients come back for the second dose? Three experts say preparing people for the side effects will be critical. A nursing researcher described the side effects in a JAMA article. She says, after the second shot, she said she was light-headed, nauseous, had a headache, ran a fever, and experience muscle aches. She wasn’t warned and it scared her into thinking she might have COVID-19. So a shingles vaccine also requires more than one dose and can be painful. Providers and advocates say the return rate after the first shot for shingles is about 80%, which is considered high. One suggestion for the COVID vaccine is to put information on side effects in the vaccine distribution kits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already said it plans to include index cards that tell patients what they had and when their next dose is due. That’s on top of electronic reminders like email or texts. There’s some protection for people who only get one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, but nearly full protection is better. The second dose also boosts antibodies. That means the best thing is to get both doses as was tested in the study.

U.S. Sugar is turning its century-old Sugar Express locomotive into the “Santa Express” to help deliver toys to children in the Lake Okeechobee area. U.S. Sugar is partnering with Toys for Tots to help bring holiday cheer to local kids. The train will run a route this Saturday, Dec. 12, hitting four different cities. Starting at 8:30, the Sugar Express will appear in Moore Haven on Park Avenue near 1st Street. The locomotive will depart at 9 a.m., Destination: Clewiston, from 10-10:30 a.m. That stop will see the Sugar Express parked at the intersection of W C Owen Ave and W Aztec Ave. Next stop, Belle Glade, with a scheduled appearance from 11:15-11:45 a.m. on Osceola Street. The train will make its final stop Saturday in Port Mayaca. During those visits, toys will be donated to children “with assistance from members of the United States Marines Corps and a little help from Santa Claus,” according to a release from U.S. Sugar. Parents in need of gifts can sign up at the Toys for Tots website. All COVID-19 protection protocols will be in place at each location.

As of 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health reported 1,065,785 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 7,985 from Monday’s update. The state also reported a single-day increase of 96 deaths. The total number of cases in Palm Beach County has now reached nearly 70,000. Hendry county cases have reached 2, 646, Glades County has 704. For a full breakdown of the cases in Florida, click here.

A Florida inmate is now a free man after serving 31 years in prison for non-violent marijuana charges. Seventy-one year old Richard DeLisi, was the longest serving inmate in the country for non-violent marijuana charges. He was sentenced to 90 years in prison for racketeering, trafficking cannabis and conspiracy. DeLisi was charged in 1988 after agreeing to help smuggle more than 100 pounds of marijuana from Colombia into Florida. The non-profit The Last Prisoner Project teamed up with attorneys over the summer to work on getting DeLisi free from the South Bay Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility. Tuesday, December 8, DeLisi was released from South Bay.