PBC Commissioner Corner
By: Robert S Weinroth
COVID-19 vaccination updates
Governor expands vaccine eligibility
Governor Ron DeSantis recently expanded the groups eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida.
Eligible residents now include:
Long-term care facility residents and staff;
- Persons 65 years of age and older;
- Health care personnel with direct patient contact;
- K-12 school employees and childcare workers (any age);
- Sworn law enforcement officers 50 years of age and older;
- Firefighters 50 years of age and older; and
- Persons deemed extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 as determined by a physician who provides an attestation that the patient meets the defined eligibility criteria outlined in the Department of Health form.
Vaccine locations in Palm Beach County and surrounding area
- Publix’s portal for scheduling appointments is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 a.m. for persons listed in 1-7 above;
- CVS pharmacies: Currently, the only location in Palm Beach County is in Belle Glade. Visit their website to book an appointment and/or other locations for persons listed in 1-7 above;
- Winn Dixie Vaccine Information Page (Hypoluxo Rd in Lake Worth and Sample Road in Margate) for persons listed in 1-7 above ;
- Wal-Mart Vaccine Information Page (currently no PBC locations);
- Federally-Supported Vaccine Sites (FloridaDisaster.org) (currently no PBC locations – Miami location available);
- The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) or call 866-201-6754 if you don’t have internet access. These sites require appointments (see links above) ;
- Health Care District of Palm Beach County (HCD) or call 561-804-4115. Once you sign up (see link above), you will be placed in a virtual waiting room for scheduling on a first-come, first-serve basis. K-12 school employees and childcare workers 50 plus only
All individuals who submitted an appointment request prior to March 1 but were not contacted for an appointment can submit a new appointment request and check “Yes” in the box indicating they were on the waitlist. HCD will verify and prioritize accordingly.
The following three vaccination sites are being operated by the HCD. These sites require appointments (see links above). No walk-ins permitted.
- South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach
- Burns Road Community Center in Palm Beach Gardens
- South County Civic Center in Delray Beach
(TTY number for hearing impaired: 833.476.1532)
For more information on COVID-19 including testing sites, click here.
The West Palm Beach VA Medical Center is now offering vaccines for all eligible veterans of all ages who receive care at the VA. The vaccine is offered by appointment and on a walk-in basis at Building 14 on our main campus in West Palm Beach from 10 am to 3pm Monday – Friday. For more information, call 561.422.5200.
COVID-19 Cases in Seniors Drop
Recent reports indicate cases of COVID-19 have plunged among Florida seniors.
New cases dropped 56 percent in the past four weeks among people 65 and over. A clear indication that vaccines are working.
The Governor recently reported that over 60 percent of the seniors in Palm Beach County have received the vaccination.
However, it is critical everyone remain vigilant with mask wearing, social distancing and hand sanitizing/washing.
With new variants on the rise, we are still susceptible to potential upticks in positivity rates.
Wi-Fi Initiative for Palm Beach County Students
As chair of the Palm Beach County Broadband committee, I am pleased to report the Wi-Fi Broadband Digital Inclusion network project has made great strides since the start of the pandemic last March.
Funded by over $20 million from the CARES ACT in partnership with Superintendent of Schools Donald Fennoy, the School Board, the Educational Foundation of PBC and and Florida Power & Light, the network will close the “digital divide” by delivering free, high-speed, high-quality Internet to the homes of more than 25,000 students.
The Wi-Fi Mesh Network is not 5G technology. It is a simple radio connecting broadband service to residences using Wi-Fi extenders.
Identified families will be provided a Wi-Fi extender to capture the signal and broadcast the internet connection within their residence.
The Network is expected to be complete early this month, plugging educational gaps for students who did not have access to affordable or free Wi-Fi when the district was forced to switch to online distance learning last March.
Palm Beach County Continues to Move Forward
On March 2, members of the Board of County Commissioners attended the grand opening of the new Palm Tran Facility. The new facility, located in Delray Beach, expands Palm Tran’s maintenance capacity in Southern Palm Beach County, and allows for new electric buses to eventually operate within out county.
The grand opening also coincided with the 50th Anniversary of Palm Tran operating in Palm Beach County.
This new facility demonstrates our county’s continued commitment to investing in public transportation innovation and expanding transit connectivity for residents and visitors alike. This new facility will also help put Palm Beach County on the map for transportation innovation.
CareerSource Palm Beach County has announced they have over 1,000 area jobs available and over 100 in the South County area. To browse available jobs, go to Employflorida.com. For information on job fairs, classes and job search assistance, visit careersourcepbc.com or call 561.340.1060.
On March 9, many municipalities countywide (including Boca Raton and Delray Beach) will be holding elections.
Polls will be open from 7AM. to 7PM.
Vote by Mail ballots must be received by 7PM on March 9th at the West Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections office or by 5PM on March 9th at the Delray Beach, Palm Beach Gardens or Belle Glade offices.
The deadline to request a Vote by Mail ballot was Feb. 27. There are no Early Voting sites during this election.
Due to the pandemic, there have been some changes to local voting locations. For more details, visit the PBC Supervisor of Elections website or call 561.656.6200.
It’s Turtle Nesting Season – Lights Out & More …
Turtle nesting season has officially begun! Now through October 31, all county residents with oceanfront properties must ensure their lights are undetectable to sea turtle hatchlings.
Artificial lighting confuses the hatchlings and causes them to head toward the dunes instead of the ocean. It’s a major cause of the worldwide decline of leatherback, loggerhead and other sea turtles.
Additionally, people visiting the beach are urged to pick up garbage, knock down sand castles, fill in holes and not hold bonfires on the beach.
It is also important not to get close to nests or touch or assist hatchlings when they emerge. Moreover, it’s illegal to harm or harass sea turtles, their nests or hatchlings.
For more information, visit the county’s Environmental Resource Management website.
As always, call or email my office if you have any questions or need assistance