Health department tracks COVID-19 cases

OKEECHOBEE — A 66-year-old woman is the fifth person from Okeechobee County to test positive for the COVID-19 virus. At the April 9 meeting of the Okeechobee County commissioners, Tiffany Collins of the Okeechobee County Health Department said there was some confusion on the Florida Department of Health dashboard, which added the fifth case for Okeechobee and then took it back the next day.

She said the woman is not hospitalized, but is sheltering in place at home.

She said none of the Okeechobee patients who have tested positive were travel related.

“For all of our residents who are concerned about these individuals and where they have been, we do reach out to contact these confirmed cases,” she explained. Ms. Collins said they monitor the cases and question the individuals about who they have been in contact with.

If you are concerned about being exposed to someone who is contagious, stay at home, she said.

“If you don’t have to do essential services, it is in your best interest to stay at home. If you don’t have to be out grocery shopping or picking up medicine, stay home.”

Ms. Collins said the health department continues to test, focusing on the most vulnerable populations as well as health care workers and first responders.

“If you are ill, stay at home,” she said. “If you feel you have been exposed and have symptoms, call your medical provider.”

“If you are deemed identified as a close contact to a confirmed positive, we will monitor you for symptoms or ask you to come in and be tested,” said Ms. Collins.

Colleen Dukes of CareerSource said information on applying for employment assistance is online at For those who can’t apply online, CareerSource is printing out applications, which can be picked up in front of the office at 207 S.W. Park Street and mailed in. She said the office is closed to the public due to the pandemic but staffers are printing out the applications in three different languages and providing them for pickup.

County Commission Chairman Terry Burroughs said the Florida attorney general has a hotline for those who wish to report scams or price-gouging. The number is 866-9NOSCAM (866-966-7226). “If you believe someone is scamming you, call that number,” he advised.

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