Thursday September 30, 2021

Last week, newly appointed Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, issued a new rule that restricts schools, from requiring students to quarantine after possible COVID exposures if they’re asymptomatic, leaving the decision up to the parents. US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona called the new rule “dangerous” and “irresponsible.” Cardona said the new quarantine rule would put other students at risk. DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw dismissed criticism from the nation’s education leader. She was interviewed by a local news affiliate saying, and I quote: “Secretary Cardona is not a medical doctor and should refrain from making derogatory comments about the policies enacted by our state surgeon general, who is a medical doctor.” Cardona’s department is currently providing grants to school districts, who face financial penalties for defying state prohibitions on mask requirements. The department Tuesday awarded $420,957 to Broward County Public Schools after DeSantis’ administration cut funding for the school board, because of the district’s mask requirement.

A series of new laws will hit the books Friday.  One of the bills HB1080 will raise the states legal age to vape and smoke tobacco to 21 to match the federal law. SB 80 or the child welfare law, makes changes in the child-welfare system on issues like out-of-home placement, reinstatement of parental rights and the process for transitioning youth out of foster care. The Child Safety law or SB 252, creates the Child Safety Alarm Act, which requires vehicles used by child-care facilities to be equipped with alarm systems, that prompt drivers to ensure no children remain on board when the vehicles are parked. Other bills regarding Crime Stoppers, Specialty Tags and written threats, will also go into effect tomorrow.

Beginning today, Hendry County’s contractor, will be conducting roadway and sidewalk construction at the railroad crossing on W.C. Owen Avenue in Clewiston. The work includes pouring of concrete for the curb and the sidewalk. The speed limit will be reduced through the project area. There may be some closures of the area throughout the workday. Pay attention to road signs for safety information or detours. The work should only last through today at 5, but this schedule could change. The Hendry County Engineering Department will notify of any changes.

Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria that is common in Florida’s freshwater environments. A bloom occurs when rapid growth of algae leads to an accumulation of individual cells, that discolor water and often produce floating mats that emit unpleasant odors.  The Florida Department of Health in Glades County has issued a Health Alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in Lake Okeechobee. This is in response to water samples taken on September 21. The public should exercise caution in and around various locations in Lake Okeechobee. 

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom. 
  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae, discolored water, or smelly water.  
  • Keep pets away from the area.
  • Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins. 
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe.
  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms. 

For specific locations please visit https://floridadep.gov/dear/algal-bloom/content/algal-bloom-sampling-results
If you have other health questions or concerns about blue-green algae blooms, please call the Florida Department of Health in Glades at (863)-302-6021.