New COVID cases in Marion County, MCPS down again, local hospitals numbers remain high

COVID cases in Marion County continued their drop, as the county registered 2,621 new cases during the week of Jan. 28 – Feb. 3.


A registered nurse takes out the next syringe of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to give to a person who signed up for an appointment on the first day of COVID-19 vaccinations at the Florida Department of Health Marion County in Ocala, Fla. on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. The Florida Department of Health Marion County has taken 800 appointments for people to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in the next 28 days. This week the Department of Health will be administering vaccines on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. When people return for their second vaccination in 28 days, they will go to Paddock Mall. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

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Posted February 7, 2022 | By Matthew Cretul
matthew@ocalagazette.com

Marion County Update

COVID cases in Marion County continued their drop, as the county registered 2,621 new cases during the week of Jan. 28 – Feb. 3, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) Friday evening.

In previous reports, the county reported recording 3,955 new cases two weeks ago, 4,696 new cases three 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.

Along with the decrease in the number of new cases, the county’s cases per 100,000 and new case positivity both fell as well.  The cases per 100,000 dropped from 1,061.8 to 703.7, and the positivity rate declined last week from 32.3% to 24.6%.

Despite the drop in the number of cases in the last three weeks, overall inpatient hospitalizations and ICU beds occupied have continued to rise, although the percentage of COVID patients in local ICUs dropped from the previous week.

In Health and Human Services (HHS) hospitalization numbers last updated 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 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.

Additionally, FLDOH announced testing is also taking place on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

State Update

Not only did new COVID cases fall in Marion County for the third consecutive week, but they also fell across the state as a whole for the third straight week.  Florida recorded 132,622 cases for the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 3, the lowest number of reported cases since mid-December 2021 when 128,143 new cases were reported.

Comparatively, the state reported 198,319 cases two weeks ago, 288,627 cases for the week of Jan. 14-Jan. 22, 429,889 new cases for the week of Jan. 7-13, and 395,911 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 904.3 to 603.5, and new case positivity from 23.5% to 18.0%.

The state’s overall vaccination rates also fell to their lowest number in more than 15 weeks, as Florida recorded administering 105,262 doses of the vaccine last week compared with 160,946 doses two weeks ago, 233,630 doses three weeks 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%, up a percentage point from the last report.

Specific to children ages 5-11, the state reported administering 7,958 doses of the vaccine last week, bringing the total number of children at least partly vaccinated to 351,085. The total population of children ages 5-11 in the state is just under 1.7 million, and figures released by the state showed 21% of them are now at least partly vaccinated against COVID-19, up one percentage point from the last report.

MCPS Update

Marion County Public Schools (MCPS) reported 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 in figures released on Monday afternoon.

Additionally, MCPS reported 822 students and 38 employees had been identified as direct contacts to a COVID-positive case confirmed by DOH.

For comparison, MCPS reported 875 cases for the week of Jan. 22-Jan. 28, with 738 students and 137 employees confirmed COVID-19 positive by the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. Moreover, MCPS reported 1,699 students and 67 employees had been identified as direct contacts to a COVID-positive case confirmed by DOH.

MCPS reported 1,014 cases for the week of Jan. 15-Jan. 21, with 830 students and 184 employees confirmed COVID-19 positive by the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. Furthermore, MCPS reported 1,761 students and 82 employees had been identified as direct contacts to a COVID-positive case confirmed by DOH.

For the week of Jan. 8-14, MCPS reported 870 confirmed cases, with 698 students and 172 employees confirmed COVID-19 positive.  Further, 2,090 students and 129 employees were quarantined due to direct contact with someone testing positive for COVID-19 during that span.

While the numbers show a downtrend, the county continues to remain 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 703.7) and the new case positivity must remain below 10% (currently at 24.6%) for two weeks in order for coverings not to be required.