Hendry County honors National Hospital Week

CLEWISTON — The Hendry County Board of Commissioners honored National Hospital Week at their May 12 meeting at the John Boy Auditorium in Clewiston. Commissioners thanked the local health care workers and hospital for their dedication and hard work during these trying times amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The proclamation was followed by an update on the current coronavirus situation from Health Officer for Hendry and Glades Counties Dr. Joseph Pepe, who attended the meeting by phone.

Dr. Pepe said he and his staff have been focused on dramatically increasing the amount of testing, and that they were looking to launch more accessible testing for Hendry County residents where no doctor referral would be needed. The sites are in LaBelle and Clewiston on alternating days, with reserved one-hour blocks to avoid backups and long lines.

Dr. Pepe also discussed both the success and importance of the Hendry County Health Department’s free COVID-19 safety course for businesses and employees. The safety course had 50 attendants in its first class where they went over policies and procedures that should be utilized in order to protect both staff and customers during reopening.

Commissioner Karson Turner asked whether adequate amounts of tests and testing supplies are available. Dr. Pepe explained that after a significant amount of effort they had received tests from several sources. He added, “We don’t have what we want, but we have enough for what we need.”

Hendry County staff reports went on with Hendry County Administrator Jennifer Davis, who mentioned that they were working on the microphone and camera upgrades for the meetings. Some complaints had been made regarding virtual meetings and comprehending what had been said and who said it. She also discussed that there was a proposed June date for implementing electronic agenda documenting, but no date was specified.

Code enforcement reported that COVID-19 safety precautions had delayed special magistrate meetings, but that they have scheduled two meetings both in the months of June and July, and are optimistic about getting caught up.

Commissioner Emma Byrd reported that she had received numerous complaints from the community about people not wearing masks in public. She said that while she understood their concerns, and strongly encouraged the use of masks, it was something they could not enforce.

There have been numerous fires in the Felda area, despite the countywide burn ban. The commissioners urged the community to be aware of and follow the rules in order to avoid putting first responders in danger and causing disastrous losses. The meeting was then adjourned.

The county commission normally meets twice each month, on the second Tuesday in the Clewiston City Hall, Commission Chambers, 115 West Ventura Ave, Clewiston, and on the fourth Tuesday of the month in the Hendry County Courthouse, Commission Chambers, 25 E. Hickpochee Avenue, LaBelle, Florida. Meetings start at 5 p.m. unless otherwise announced.

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