BELLE GLADE — While there is great anticipation of the rollout of the new vaccines that have been developed in the U.S. to combat the COVID-19 virus, a local community organization is warning against complacency about possibly passing it along because rising case numbers dictate a need for vigilance.
Healthier Glades posted an update on Wednesday, Dec. 9, on its Facebook page flatly outlining why people should not let their guard down.
“Hope that everyone had a safe Thanksgiving break,” the post began. “As we get ready to celebrate the upcoming holidays (Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa), we must be diligent in keeping ourselves and families safe.”
The organization, which is an offshoot of the Palm Health Foundation’s Healthier Together Program in Palm Beach County, “launched in fall 2017 in the historically underserved rural area of Palm Beach County with rich culture and agricultural assets. ‘The Glades’ is the collective of four communities — Belle Glade, Pahokee, South Bay and the unincorporated community of Canal Point — located in the western section of the county along Lake Okeechobee. Healthier Glades’ focus is behavioral health, with the goal for residents to thrive physically, emotionally and spiritually. Community Partners of South Florida serves as the initiative’s fiscal agent.”
The group’s mission, as stated on its home web page (go to https://healthiertogetherpbc.org/our-communities/healthier-glades/ to read more) is “to assist residents in coping with life stressors and to create a sense of mental well-being that will impact the Glades communities.
The Dec. 9 post went on to update the communities’ residents on the local trends in coronavirus caseloads: “Here are the number of COVID cases as of 10 a.m. this morning. The numbers reflect the number of positive cases from Nov. 25 to Dec. 8. This is almost a two-week span since Healthier Glades (last) shared this information with the community.
“Belle Glade — 1,213 (+55 increase since Nov. 25)
“Canal Point — 48 (+1 increase since Nov. 25)
“Clewiston — 1,458 (+104 increase since Nov. 25; included because some addresses of outlying residences are in PB County ZIP codes)
“Pahokee — 543 (+10 increase since Nov. 25)
“South Bay — 581 (+27 increase since Nov. 25)
“We had 197 residents that tested positive during this time with the positive cases coming from all the communities,” the post continued. “Belle Glade and Clewiston continue to lead the way with the number of positive cases during each report out. South Bay had a sharp increase in cases over the last week.
“As the nation prepares to distribute vaccines, we need to continue to wash hands, wear masks and social distance until it becomes readily available,” it finished.