Okeechobee County COVID-19 positivity rate at 8.1%


OKEECHOBEE -- Bret Smith of the Florida Department of Health in Okeechobee County had some good news for the Okeechobee County Commissioners at their Feb. 24 meeting. The COVID-19 new positivity rate for Feb. 18-24 is 8.1%.

“We’re below 10%,” said Smith. Covid cases in those age 65 and older are continually dropping, he added. “We have no new positive cases at our long term care facilities.”

In January, Okeechobee County had 2,441 new covid positive cases. So far in February, the county has 310 cases.

There are no monoclonal sites throughout the states, Smith said. Since the FDA pulled Regeneron because it wasn’t effective on the COVID-19 Omicron variant no monoclonal therapy has been available, he said.

Smith said the vaccination rate continues to increase slowly.

In other business, Public Safety Officer Ralph Franklin said the county has been trying to obtain a generator for the Indian River State College building which is used as the special needs hurricane shelter. The building has 175 mph wind rating.

Franklin said the generator will cost $168,000, including the automatic transfer switch. There may be some additional cost for engineering and fuel storage.

Florida Department of Health has committed to spend $134,000.

“It’s sad we have a special needs shelter set up for us with no generator,” said Smith.  

“The college has been good about let us moving over to that location. They have hospital beds and it’s much more secure than other buildings we had,” said Commissioner David Hazellief.

The commissioners unanimously supported the plan to obtain the generator.