Marion County, MCPS COVID cases down yet again

Hospital numbers begin to decline as well


Rosemary Keegan, a registered nurse, raises her arms in celebration after receiving the first Moderna COVID-19 vaccination at Ocala Regional Medical Center on Wednesday. Ocala Health, which operated ORMC, received 3,000 doses of the vaccine. They plan to dispense the vaccines at Ocala Regional and West Marion Community Hospital. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

Home » Health
Posted February 22, 2022 | By Matthew Cretul
matthew@ocalagazette.com

Marion County Update

COVID cases in Marion County dropped for the fifth consecutive week, as the county registered 708 new cases during the week of Feb. 11 – Feb. 17, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) Friday evening.

In previous reports, the county reported recording 1,564 new cases during the week of Feb.4 – Feb. 10; 2,621 new cases during the week of Jan. 28 – Feb. 3; 3,955 new cases three weeks ago; 4,696 new cases four weeks ago; 5,536 new cases during the week of Jan. 7-13; and 3,130 cases during the week of Dec. 31-Jan. 6.

In addition to the number of new cases dropping, the county’s cases per 100,000 and new case positivity both decreased as well.  The cases per 100,000 dropped from 419.9 to 190.1, and the positivity rate declined last week from 17.7% to 10.3%.

While hospital numbers had remained high despite the declining number of cases in the last four weeks, overall inpatient hospitalizations and ICU beds occupied finally began to fall.

In Health and Human Services (HHS) hospitalization numbers last updated Feb. 18, county hospitals reported 89% of inpatient beds filled, with 17% being COVID patients. In addition, 90% of ICU beds were filled, with 17% being COVID patients.

For reference, HHS hospitalization numbers from Feb. 11, county hospitals reported 96% of inpatient beds filled, with 22% being COVID patients. In addition, 94% of ICU beds were filled, with 20% being COVID patients.

In numbers from Feb. 4, county hospitals reported 97% of inpatient beds filled, with 23% being COVID patients. In addition, 93% of ICU beds were filled, with 20% being COVID patients.

For further reference, on Jan. 28, county hospitals reported 93% of inpatient beds filled, with 22% being COVID patients. In addition, 89% of ICU beds were filled, with 25% being COVID patients; and on Jan. 21, hospitals reported 90% of inpatient beds filled, with 18% being COVID patients. In addition, 86% of ICU beds were filled, with 22% being COVID patients.  Finally, on Jan. 7, HHS data showed 83% of inpatient beds filled, with 4% of those being COVID patients; and 84% of ICU beds filled, with 6% being COVID patients.

In Ocala, COVID Test FL is offering testing at the Ocala First Baptist Church located at 2801 S.E. Maricamp Road. COVID Test Express is offering testing in the Villages at 11714 N.E. 62nd Terrace. Both locations are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

State Update

Not only did new COVID cases fall in Marion County for the fifth week in a row, but they also fell across the state as a whole, as Florida recorded 42,473 cases for the week of Feb. 11 – Feb. 17.

Comparatively, the state reported 102,990 cases for the week of Feb. 4 – Feb. 10; 130,862 cases three weeks ago; 197,084 four weeks ago; 286,824 cases for the week of Jan. 14-Jan. 22; 427,633 new cases for the week of Jan. 7-13; and 393,705 new cases of COVID during the week of Dec. 31-Jan. 6.

The state’s cases per 100,000 average and new case positivity both dropped along with the number of cases.  Cases per 100,000 fell from 468.8 to 193.3, and new case positivity from 14.3% to 8.2%.

The state’s overall vaccination rates continue to fall to their lowest number in more than six months, as Florida recorded administering 58,603 doses of the vaccine last week compared with 83,419 doses of the vaccine two weeks ago; 117,936 doses three weeks ago; 162,084 doses four weeks ago; 234,665 doses a month ago; 375,912 doses the first week in January; and 356,110 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during the last week in December.

This brings the total state population of those ages 5 and up to 74%, the same percentage as the last two reports.

Specific to children ages 5-11, the state reported administering 4,717 doses of the vaccine last week, bringing the total number of children at least partly vaccinated to 363,567. The total population of children ages 5-11 in the state is just under 1.7 million, and figures released by the state showed 22% of them are now at least partly vaccinated against COVID-19, the same percentage as the last two reports, and by far the lowest population group in the state.

MCPS Update

Marion County Public Schools (MCPS) cases continued the downward trend seen across the county and state as well, as MCPS reported 108 cases for the week of Feb. 12-Feb. 185, with 91 students and 17 employees confirmed COVID-19 positive by the Florida Department of Health in Marion County in figures released on Tuesday morning.

Additionally, MCPS reported 105 students and 5 employees had been identified as direct contacts to a COVID-positive case confirmed by DOH.

For comparison, MCPS reported 248 new cases for the week of Feb. 5-Feb. 11, with 209 students and 39 employees confirmed COVID-19 positive; 513 cases for the week of Jan. 29-Feb. 4, with 424 students and 89 employees confirmed COVID-19 positive by the Florida Department of Health in Marion County.

While the numbers show a downtrend, the county remains just above the threshold set by FLDOH for MCPS to consider having students wear face coverings.

According to FLDOH guidance, the county must be below 99.9 cases per 100,000 (currently at 190.1) and the new case positivity must remain below 10% (currently at 10.3%) for two weeks in order for coverings not to be required.