News 3-31-2020

The Glades Initiative in Belle Glade is still open and continues to provide services to residents who need assistance with online applications in their office located at 141 SE Ave C, Belle Glade. Office services are call-first and are by appointment only. Food distribution will continue for residents in need and is scheduled for Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 10 a.m.  Call the office with questions or if you need assistance. And with things changing so quickly, watch the Facebook page for the most current information. 

The South Florida Water Management District closed four navigation locks on the north shore and reduced the operating hours of a fifth lock because of lake conditions.

Martin County lock at J&S Fish Camp

Okeechobee County lock at Henry Creek

Glades County lock at Buckhead Ridge and lock at Lakeport

Also on the north shore, the operating hours for the boat lock at Taylor Creek in Okeechobee County are Saturdays and Sundays between 5:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. Locks will resume normal operations when the lake is at least 12.5 feet. As of March 30, Lake Okeechobee is 11.95 feet. On the south shore, the lock at Clewiston will remain open. Anglers and boaters can access Lake Okeechobee and the rim canal from several access points around the lake. Visit FWC’s Boat Ramp Finder to find one near you.

Okeechobee Public Safety Director, Ralph Franklin, reminds citizens that regarding all OUTDOOR county parks and recreation facilities and fields, signs are posted in all of the parks advising citizens to avoid mass gatherings of people. County staff is witnessing the majority of the public keeping a cautious distance with each other; however, there are still gatherers in the area. Officials are asking the public to report any gatherings located at any parks and recreation fields/facilities to law enforcement immediately at 863-763-3117. The Okeechobee County COVID-19 information line is open Monday-Friday from 8:00-5:00 p.m. at 863- 763-3536, for questions regarding updates on local services, restaurants, grocery stores, business closings, and more. For questions related specifically to the coronavirus, symptoms, testing, and treatment, please call the Okeechobee Health Department at 863-462-5800 or call the 24/7 Department of Health Hotline at 866- 779-6121.

Following up on the direction of the Governor and Education Commissioner Corcoran to continue education for Florida students, Florida Virtual School will provide up to 100 free digital courses to all Florida schools for Florida students through the end of the school year. These courses are available to students in Kindergarten through 12and will be hosted through Learning Management Systems which is a software app that school districts throughout the state use for giving courses and trainings. The courses are developed by FLVS and include Mathematics, English Language Arts, History, Science, diverse electives, Advanced Placement and Career & Technical Education courses that will be provided for free through June 30, 2020. For more information or to request this educational emergency service, Florida district administrators should visit and contact their FLVS District Relations Manager.

A third resident of Hendry County has tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Hendry County to 3. The latest case is confirmed to be a 28-year-old male resident of Clewiston. All 3 individuals are currently under isolation including a 70-year-old and a 39-year-old woman, both of Clewiston. Moore Haven has 3 reported cases, Belle Glade has 7. Officials strongly urge residents to continue following the guidance provided by the CDC and DOH in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.