COVID numbers: School numbers drop again

Noah Klein, 6, wears his face shield and mask as he works on an activity in Kristen Givens’ classroom during the last week of a three-week summer enrichment program for students at South Ocala Elementary School in Ocala on July 29, 2020. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]
Marion County Public Schools (MCPS) COVID numbers dropped again last week.

MCPS recorded 86 total new cases for the week of Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, as 73 students and 13 employees were confirmed COVID-19 positive by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) in Marion County. The figures, released Monday afternoon, are down from the 157 cases reported on Sept. 27, and 256 cases reported on Sep. 20.

The 86 cases are the lowest on record since schools opened for the 2021 school year.

Quarantine numbers were down as well, with MCPS reporting 283 students and employees were quarantined due to direct contact with someone testing positive for COVID-19. The quarantines included 280 students and three district employees.

Additionally, the 283 quarantines are also the lowest since the first week of school and the second consecutive week in which there were fewer than 1,000 people in quarantine.

In Marion County, parents can opt their children out of wearing facial coverings. MCPS reported nine students, or 22%, have an opt-out form on file.

The dropping school district numbers follow the downward trends of the county and state as a whole.

COVID numbers in Marion County dropped sharply last week, with the county seeing 614 new cases, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Health on Friday evening, down from 1,038 cases the previous week and the lowest number of reported cases since the week ending July 8.

The county’s positivity rate dropped from 13.3% to 9.1% and the cases per 100,000 went from 278.7 to 164.8. Both numbers are approaching the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and FDOH recommendations where masking policies can be revisited. In order for that to happen, the positivity rate must be under 10%, and the cases per 100,000 must be below 99.9. Both metrics need to be below the thresholds for at least two weeks, according to the CDC.

The state recorded 37,772 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Sept. 24 to Sept. 30, its lowest number of new weekly cases in more than three months.

Vaccination rates dropped to their lowest levels in three months as well, as the state recorded administering 278,891 doses.

Along with new cases continuing to drop, overall county hospitalization numbers dropped but ICU occupancy numbers rose. Health and Human Services data shows 89% of all inpatient beds in the county were occupied, with COVID-19 patients making up 16% of the inpatient population. Additionally, 98% of all ICU beds are occupied and COVID-19 patients make up 27% of those in the ICU.

Posted in Education, Health, News

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