Weekly COVID-19 numbers fall in Marion

Rosemary Keegan, left, a registered nurse, was the first health professional to receive the COVID-19 vaccination at Ocala Regional Medical Center on Dec. 23. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]
COVID cases in Marion County fell sharply during the last week, according to Florida Department of Health numbers released Friday evening.

The county registered 2,105 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Sept. 3 to Sept. 9, down 947 cases from the previous report. The county positivity rate and cases per 100,00 fell as well.  

Cases per 100,000 fell from 819.4 to 565.1 , while the positivity rate also dropped from 23.7%  last week to 22.5% this week. The 22.5% is still higher than the state average of 13.5%.

Cases also fell throughout the state for the second week in a row, with the state reporting 100,012 new cases. Vaccination rates also dropped sharply, however, as the state recorded its lowest number of vaccinations for the second week in a row, administering 349,845 doses.

Despite the falling number of new cases, county hospitalization numbers remain high, with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data showing 98% of all inpatient beds in the county occupied, with COVID-19 patients making up 33% of the inpatient population.  

Additionally, 98% of all ICU beds are occupied, and COVID-19 patients make up 37% of those in the ICU.  

An appealate court in Tallahassee ruled on Friday that the state can continue to withhold funding for school distrcits that impose a mask mandate for its students, the ruling is being viewed as a win for Governor Ron DeSantis.  The court also ruled to uphold the ban on mask mandates while the case works its way through appeals.     

Locally, the county is providing COVID-19 vaccinations on a walk-in and appointment basis Monday through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at its main office located at 1801 SE 32nd Ave. in Ocala.  

Additional vaccination locations include:

— Saturday, Sept. 11. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Tuscawilla Park (800 NE Sanchez Avenue, Ocala)

— Saturday, Sept. 11. from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Holy Faith Episcopal Church (19924 W. Blue Cove Drive, Dunnellon)

— Saturday, Sept. 11. From 2 to 6 p.m. Shiloh Seventh Day Adventist Church (500 SW 17th Ave., Ocala)

The Florida Department of Health Marion County is also partnering with Marion County Public Schools to provide booster shots to Marion County’s immunocompromised residents for the next two Saturdays.  Appointments can be scheduled for Saturdays, Sept. 11 and 18 at Liberty Middle School, 4773 SW 95th St., Ocala, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Marion County Public Schools are expected to release their COVID-related data on Monday, Sept. 13.

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