Show/Hide

ALERT:  FOR COVID-19 INFORMATION.  Click here for more information
ALERT:  BOCC COUNTY BRIEFING MEETING 5/28/20 AT 9:00 A.M. 

  • person-holding-laboratory-flask-2280571 (1)

    COVID-19

    Information for Okeechobee County

 

COVID-19:   

Coronavirus

 Updated 5/20/2020 at 2:00 p.m.    - Click here to view our Archived Releases 

 There are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Okeechobee County.  Due to HIPAA privacy laws, the Florida Department of Health is not releasing any information about patients other than the sex, age, county that they tested positive in/reside and if it was a travel-related case. Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboard website.

Okeechobee County’s Emergency Operations Center is at partial Level 2 activation.  The Public Information Line is operational on the same day as the Library, Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm at 863-824-6888.

FL Department of Health Statewide Call Center Hotline:  1-866-779-6121 (24/7) to report any specific COVID-19 symptoms,  now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Email your questions to:   COVID-19@flhealth.gov.   The Okeechobee County Fl Department of Health Line is:  (863) 462-5800

COVID-19 Testing 

Those with the associated risk factors and symptoms of COVID-19 may be screened and evaluated by Okeechobee FL Department of Health and Florida Community Health Center in Okeechobee for testing. 
Coronavirus symptoms include: fever, cough, and shortness of breath 
Risk factors consist of ONE or MORE of the following:

  • Close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case
  • Travel to or from a Coronavirus affected area
  •  Recent history of international travel or cruise 
  • Age 65+ with chronic conditions
  • Weakened immune system

Okeechobee County FL Department of Health, 1728 NW 9th Street, Okeechobee, FL 34972 | Phone: 863-462-5800
Testing will only be performed for individuals who meet Florida Department of Health criteria for COVID-19. If individuals do not meet criteria, testing will not be performed. To receive an appointment, individuals who believe they may have symptoms of COVID-19 must first call for an appointment.

Raulerson Hospital/Okeechobee, 796 US 441 North, Okeechobee, FL 34972 | Phone: 863-763-2151
Testing will only be performed for individuals who meet Florida Department of Health criteria for COVID-19. If individuals do not meet criteria, testing will not be performed. To receive an appointment, individuals who believe they may have symptoms of COVID-19 must first call for an appointment.

Fred Brown Children's Health Center/Florida Community Health Center, Inc. (FCHC),  2015 US 441 North, Okeechobee, FL  34972 | Phone: 863-763-1951
Testing will only be performed for individuals who meet Florida Department of Health criteria for COVID-19. If individuals do not meet criteria, testing will not be performed. To receive an appointment, individuals who believe they may have symptoms of COVID-19 must first call for an appointment.


Unemployment: 
There is a new website to file for unemployment (http://FloridaJobs.org/RAApplication). Additionally, you can now submit applications via mail. Those without access to the website, paper copies in English, Spanish and Creole will be available outside the Okeechobee County Library, 206 SW 16th Street, Okeechobee.


Okeechobee County BOCC Offices

BOCC Government Offices will reopen to the public on Monday, May 18, 2020, at normal business hours, except the Senior Center, and rental of county park facilities, pavilions, Civic Centers, Ag Center, and Scott Driver. 

The Call Center will be open the same day as the Library, Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm at 863-763-3536
Online, phone and email services remain available and residents are encouraged to continue to utilize them as much as possible.
Playgrounds that are part of a county park will be reopen, however, social distancing is to be maintained.
The county swimming pool will reopen on Tuesday, May 26 for lap swim only and limiting participants to Okeechobee County residents only (ID required).
This reopening of county offices will consist of extra precautions that are in place for the safety of our citizens and employees. The following safety precautions are:

  • Members of the public must wear masks while inside any County Office (appropriate signage will be posted on all entrance doors).
  • You will notice markings on lobby floors indicating 6’ separation for those waiting in line to be served (i.e. Building Department and Library).
  • Building Dept. & Library: There will be limits on the number of people allowed in a building and/or Lobby at one time.
  • All BOCC County Offices will be equipped with hand sanitizer and splash guards for everyone’s safety.
  • If you are sick, stay home, do not enter county offices.

Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners thank you for your cooperation as we move forward to reopen services to our citizens.

Okeechobee Clerk of the Court:
The  Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller's Offices in the 19th Judicial Circuit will reopen to the public beginning Monday, June 1, 2020 wth protocols in place for the public.  To see these protocols, please visit: 
http://www.circuit19.org/sites/default/files/COVID-19/AO%202020-07%20COVID-19%20Court%20Reopening%20Protocols.pdf


Okeechobee Tax Collector's Office:
The Tax Collector's office reopened 5/6/2020 to Okeechobee residents only due to the COVID-19 in our efforts to protect our citizens and staff.  We have temporarily suspended the following services: driving test, hazmat and concealed weapons.  We are available by phone 863-763-3421; Other services can be done at the following websites:  Vehicle Registration at www.GoRenew.Com by mail or by phone at 863-763-3421. Driver’s License at www.GoRenew.Com;  You can also pay your property taxes online at www.okeechobeecountytaxcollector.com by mail or by phone at 863-763-3421; and Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission at: MyFWC.com

We also have at drop box at the back of the building

Thank you for working with us as we all face these challenging times. Please do not hesitate to contact our office at 863-763-3421 for any questions or concerns. 
Celeste Watford, CFC    Okeechobee County Tax Collector

Okeechobee Property Appraiser's Office - 307 NW 5th Avenue, Ste A, Okeechobee
The Property Appraiser's office reopened on 5/6/2020 to the public. They continue to follow the CDC guidelines of social distancing until further notice.

We encourage you to contact us via phone, fax, email, or US Mail and to use the resources found on this website if you have any needs. 
Telephone: 863-763-4422;  Fax: 863-763-4745  email: info@okeechobeepa.com or website: www.okeechobeepa.com

Senior Citizens, if you have questions regarding Seniors Exemption, or need to provide income information after receiving your tax return, feel free to use any one of the methods below to contact our office. Given these circumstances I will accept late applications this year, the health and safety of all the citizens of Okeechobee County is our utmost concern.

Okeechobee County Public Schools:
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Saturday, April 18 that Florida schools will continue with distance learning for the remainder of the school year. 
Staff reminds residents that numerous library services are available online at our local Library.   

UF/IFAS Extension Office:
The Extension staff has canceled programs and in-person visits and has shifted to online resources.  All summer camps have been cancelled.
You may contact the office by Phone: 863-763-6469 or view at: https://www.co.okeechobee.fl.us/departments/okeechobee-extension-services

Garbage Collection for Okeechobee County:
At this time all Waste Management commercial and residential collection services remain fully operational. However, Waste Management is experiencing a significant spike in the amount of trash and yard waste being set out.  Please make sure all trash and yard waste is bagged to limit debris spreading into street/road areas. 

Help for Small Businesses Relating to COVID-19:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. The application period runs through May 8, 2020.

DEO is currently surveying businesses throughout the state of Florida who have been impacted by COVID-19. Businesses and non-profits can access the Business Damage Assessment survey at FloridaDisaster.BIZ Select “COVID-19” from the drop-down menu on the survey page. Response to the Business Damage Assessment survey is not an application for assistance. Businesses interested in the bridge loan program must fill out a bridge loan application.

For more information on the program, visit https://lnkd.in/e9sUKDP. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 866-737-7232 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours.


COVID-19 HELPFUL LINKS:

Governor Executive Orders:  Executive Order 2020-123 (Posted 5/15/2020),  this Executive Order details further business opening/operations as part of a Full Phase 1 Plan for Florida's Recover in effect on Monday, May 18, 2020. Please see the linked Executive Order for details.

Click here to view all of the Executive Orders issued from State of Florida, Office of the Governor.

 

Florida Department of Health

Click here to view all COVID-19 Executive Orders for the State of Florida.

www.floridahealth.gov

CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

www.cdc.gov

Helpful Links

USDA unveils tool to help rural communities Address the Covid-19 Pandemic. The COVID-19 Federal Resource guide is a firs-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking 
for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic. For more information, click here: 
https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/USDA_COVID-19_Fed_Rural_Resource_Guide.pdf

-          NEW - Guide to Coronavirus Paid Leave Programs

-          Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist

-          Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program Guide

-          Employee Retention Tax Credit Guide

-          Coronavirus Small Business Guide

-          Coronavirus Response Toolkit

Florida Division of Emergency Management Orders

DEM Order No. 20-001
DEM Order No. 20-002
DEM Order No. 20-003
DEM Order No. 20-004
DEM Order No. 20-005
DEM Order No. 20-006

What you Should Know 

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The Department recommends everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
  • Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue;
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty; and
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

From the CDC Returning from Travel

Individuals who have traveled to China, Japan, Italy, Iran or South Korea within the last 14 days (or since February 22, 2020) and who have no flu-like symptoms should stay home and monitor their health for 14 days after returning to the United States. If you are sick or you feel you have any systems of the virus we recommend you follow the direction of the State of Florida Department of Health.

Individuals returning from a country listed on the CDC's COVID-19 travel advisories page who are experiencing specific COVID-19 symptoms should do the following:

  1. Contact the Florida Department of Health Hotline Call Center at 1-866-779-6121 (24/7)  to report any specific COVID-19 symptoms,  now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week OR email your questions to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.
  2. Seek medical attention if necessary and as directed by the Department of Health
  3. Stay in your room, home or apartment and limit exposure to others, including your family
Local State of Emergency
Release – April 22, 2020 - Okeechobee County COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Announcement of New Case
Release – April 7, 2020 - Okeechobee County Provides Public Comment Options for Virtual Meetings
Release - April 1, 2020 - Okeechobee County Accounces First Case of Coronavirus
Release - March 30, 2020 - Parks & Recreation Outdoor Facilities
Release - March 27, 2020 - Safety Precautions
Release - March 26, 2020 - 3
Release - March 26, 2020 - 2
Release - March 26, 2020 - Update to COVID-19 Information Line
Release - March 25, 2020
Release - March 24, 2020
Release - March 23, 2020