Marion County Update
COVID cases in Marion County more than doubled from two weeks ago, as the county registered 3,130 new cases during the week of Dec. 31-Jan. 6, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) Friday evening. In the last report, the county reported recording 1,543 cases two weeks ago, and 363 the for the week of Dec. 17-23.
In addition to the surging overall number of cases, the county saw an increase in its positivity rate and cases per 100,000. The new case positivity rate climbed from 17.4% to 24.6%, and as with the total number of cases, the cases per 100,000 doubled as well, from 414.3. to 840.3.
In Health and Human Services hospitalization numbers last updated Jan. 7, county hospitals reported 83% of inpatient beds filled, with 4% of those being COVID patients. Additionally, 84% of ICU beds were 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.
Not only did new COVID cases double in Marion County, but they also rose drastically across the state as a whole, with Florida seeing nearly a hundred thousand more new cases than it reported two weeks ago.
The state recorded 397,114 new cases of COVID during the week of Dec. 31 – Jan. 06, compared to 297,888 new cases of COVID during the week of Dec. 24-30, and 128,186 new cases during the week of Dec. 17 -23.
With the increase in cases comes an increase in new case positivity as well as cases per 100,000.
According to the FLDOH weekly report, the state’s new case positivity is 31.2%, up from 26.6%, while the cases per 100,000 is 1,807.1 up from 1,358.1.
The state’s weekly vaccination numbers continue to rapidly decline from the two previous reports, as the state recorded administering 294,918 doses of the vaccine for the week of Dec. 31-Jan. 6, down from 386,884, and 567,748 doses two weeks ago. This brings the total state population of those ages 5 and up to 72%.
Specific to children ages 5-11, the state reported administering 18,465 doses of the vaccine last week, an decrease from the 21,585 doses two weeks ago, bringing the total number of children vaccinated to 278,045. The total population of children ages 5-11 in the state is just under 1.7 million, and figures released by the state showed 16% of them are now vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Associated Press reported that the state of Florida allowed between 800,000 and 1,000,000 COVID test kits to expire during the month of December. The decision is seemingly at odds with some local leaders around Florida requesting additional kits as cases rapidly rise in their area.
Marion County Public Schools (MCPS) begain their winter break on Dec. 17, and resumed classes on Wed, Jan. 5. For the span of Dec. 11 – 31, MCPS reported 25 confirmed cases, with 17 students and eight employees were confirmed COVID-19 positive by the Florida Department of Health in Marion County.
Additionally, MCPS reported 169 students and two employees were quarantined due to direct contact with someone testing positive for COVID-19 during that span.
The latest report from MCPS covers the week of Jan. 1-7, and shows 512 confirmed cases, with 356 students and 156 employees testing positive for the virus. Further, 638 students and 88 employees were quarantined as a result of direct exposure.
While the report covers a seven-day span, students only attended classes Wed-Fri of last week.
With the latest updated figures, COVID numbers have once again moved above the threshold set 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 840.3) and the new case positivity must remain below 10% (currently at 24.6%) for two weeks in order for coverings not to be required.
Despite the rising numbers, MCPS declined to reinstate any sort of facial covering.