COVID-19 cases in Marion County start to decline

Sissi Rodriguez, a pharmacy technician with AdventHealth, draws the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at Paddock Mall in Ocala, Fla. on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. Paddock Mall, AdventHealth and the Florida Department of Health in Marion County have come together to provide the vaccinations to seniors at Paddock Mall by appointment only. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

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Posted January 28, 2021 | By Brendan Farrell, Ocala Gazette

Following a surge of cases after the holidays, COVID-19 cases in Marion County have seen a decrease in recent days. 

The county reported an average of 166.7 cases per day between Jan. 20 and Jan. 26, a sharp decline from the 204.4 cases per day it was reporting between Jan. 13 and Jan. 19. Since Marion registered 353 positives on Jan. 14, it has surpassed the 200-case mark three times, but that has only happened once in the last seven days. 

“If you look at the charts, two weeks, you know, 10, 14, 17 days after specific holidays, you can see increases in cases,” Mark Lander, the administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Marion County, said. “Letting us realize that a lot of it’s family connections, family cases in together.”

Positivity rates have also decreased over time, though Marion County still hovers above the 10% mark. Lander said that the county’s positivity rate had previously been 16% before dropping to 13% last week and holding between 12% and 13% this week. 

“In a nutshell, numbers are, you know, still in the triple-digit numbers, and our positivity rate is still above 10 percent, so we’re, you know, we’re working diligently to try to bring that back down,” Lander said. “That is certainly where we exist as a community right now.”

On the vaccine front, the county had four days between Jan. 21 and Jan. 26 where it vaccinated over 1,000 people per day, with a high of 1,452 immunizations on Tuesday. According to the Florida Department of Health, the county has given 24,081 people their first shot, as of Thursday morning. 

Lander said that the county, with the help of AdventHealth, has been vaccinating 700 people per day at the Paddock Mall. Marion County is still working through its list of over 50,000 registrations for the COVID-19 vaccine.   

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