Tuesday May 26, 2020 News

On Saturday, The Department of Health reported that 249 residents were positive for COVID-19 in Hendry County since testing began. The latest report, released yesterday afternoon shows an increase of 72 cases over the weekend. Now at 321 cases, this figure includes 39 recoveries and 12 deaths. That means, the number of ACTIVE positive cases in the County is 270. These reports and all of this information can be found at floridahealthcovid19.gov. Hendry County’s COVID-19 Dashboard can be found at covid-19.hendryfla.net.

Fabian Machaen, Pahokee High School’s valedictorian, was born in San Diego, went to school in Tijuana, Mexico, and Huntington Park, California. Machaen moved to Pahokee with his family when his stepfather found a job in the sugar industry at Florida Crystals. Machaen, who was in the school’s International Baccalaureate program, achieved a 3.98 GPA and a 4.96 HPA. He has accrued about 20 college credits and was dual enrolled at Palm Beach State College starting in 10th grade. He expects to start classes this summer at the University of South Florida where he will major in business management. He would like to start his own company and be his own boss someday. Congratulations to Fabian Machaen, Pahokee High School Valedictorian.

On Friday, May 22, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that all COVID-19 restrictions on youth activities including youth sports and summer camps would be lifted, effective immediately. He said the department of health will issue some questions and answers and recommendations for best practices. He said he trusts the parents to talk with doctors and coaches to get advice on how to operate in the safest way.  The governor said the state has not had any deaths of people under the age of 25 related to COVID-19.  When asked about the risk to children, the governor said, Kids are not immune from this. Some kids have been infected. Some kids have ended up critically ill. However, he added, the data is pretty clear that kids are at less risk for hospitalizations.

Even as Palm Beach County emerges from its coronavirus shutdown, hot spots have emerged in Belle Glade and Lake Worth. As of Friday morning, a combined 598 people in Belle Glade and Lake Worth zip codes had tested positive for coronavirus, according to figures released by the state Department of Health. Commissioners, public health and civic officials say a variety of factors – language barriers, poverty and distrust of the government – have contributed to the hot spots in Lake Worth and Belle Glade. The county has begun to add additional resources to the fight against the virus in those communities, including more mobile testing and the distribution of masks. But officials know that still more needs to be done, including more public disclosure about the impact of the virus, more effective isolation and contact tracing and changing both the type and tone of messaging concerning the virus.

Many residents in the Glades are wearing colorful masks that they received at the free food distribution event at South Bay City Hall on Friday, May 16th.  As families from across the rural, western region opened their car doors for volunteers to load up donated canned goods and fresh produce that day, members of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County’s Community Engagement team made their own special delivery.  The team provided hundreds of free face masks handmade by the District’s School Nurses and flyers with COVID-19 prevention tips in English, Spanish and Creole. The use of facemasks and other personal protective equipment is required for staff at the Health Care District’s acute care teaching hospital, Lakeside Medical Center.  On Monday, May 18th, Florida Crystals Corporation delivered 2,000 surgical masks to the Belle Glade hospital. The masks were distributed to staff across all departments at the hospital, which is now scheduling elective surgeries like colonoscopies and wound care. The donation came exactly one week after Florida Crystals and Hundley Farms delivered boxes of locally grown produce for each of the hospital’s 170 employees.