OKEECHOBEE – The mobile COVID-19 testing bus will visit Okeechobee on Nov. 11.
At the Oct. 29 meeting of the Okeechobee County Commission, Mitch Smeykal of the Okeechobee Emergency Operations Center said they are considering the City Park or Flagler Park as sites for the visit. The mobile testing bus can provide test results in 45 minutes.
He said as of Oct. 28, Okeechobee County had 1,735 positive cases (since testing began in March) and 38 COVID-19 related deaths.
“Case counts are going up a little bit if you look at the trends,” said Smeykal.
Tiffany Collins of the Okeechobee County Health Department said there are currently no big outbreaks in Okeechobee County. The county has averaged 6.56% positivity rate for the past week. She said hospitalizations have fluctuated but are on a “slight uptick.”
Commission Chair Terry Burroughs said he was at a hospital board meeting Wednesday night where he was told Raulerson Hospital currently has sufficient ICU beds. Collins noted some patients in ICU are not COVID-19 patients.
She said the school system has done well so far with precautions and so far there are no secondary cases in the school system. “A couple of the daycares have had outbreaks,” she added.
Collins said the health department is working on a mass vaccination plan so they will be ready when vaccines are approved. She said the state has provided a 57 page guideline. The early vaccination plan will be for health care workers and longterm care residents, she explained. Hospitals, EMS and pharmacies are being surveyed on their willingness to help with vaccinations.
“There’s still lots of vaccines going through the trials,” she explained. “A few are multi-dose vaccines. You’ll have to get two doses.”
She said they are making sure they stay on top of the planning for vaccinations so they are ready when the vaccines are available.
She said considering the county’s population, per capita positive cases have been much higher than our surrounding counties, she said. In the past 14 days, Okeechobee County had 85 new positive cases, she added.
In other business, the Treasure Coast Food Bank plans a visit on Nov. 20 at Okeechobee Music Festival property. As with other recent food bank visits, vouchers will be required.