Twenty-three people in Marion County have now tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
The latest patient is a 52-year-old resident who didn’t report a history of travel. The Florida Department of Health in Marion County has notified people who have been in contact with the man, as they will need to self-monitor for symptoms for a 14-day period.
The ages of those in Marion County with the virus – 15 women and eight men – range from 19-88. Two remain hospitalized and 15 are from Ocala, three from Summerfield, two from Belleview and one each from Dunnellon and Ocklawaha. One is an out-of-state visitor.
Sixteen of those Marion County patients recently traveled to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Wisconsin, Texas, New York, South Carolina, New Jersey and other Florida cities. It remains unclear if one patient, a 59-year-old woman, has a recent travel history.
As of Monday afternoon, 46 cases had been reported in Sumter County, where the vast majority of homes in The Villages – a community with close to 150,000 seniors who are among the most at risk for the virus – are located. Lake County was reporting 47 cases, Alachua County had 79 and Volusia County was reporting 65 positive tests and one death.
The Department of Health continues to area residents to limit travel and to stay home as much as possible – especially if you are age 65 or older or experience health issues that could leave you more vulnerable to COVID-19 if you were to get sick. These types of social distancing measures, when combined with everyday preventative actions like frequently washing your hands, regularly cleaning high touch surfaces, staying home if you are sick, staying away from others who are sick, and covering your coughs and sneezes, help reduce the risk of the illness spreading in the community.
COVID-19 testing is accessible at various places within Marion County. People who are experiencing symptoms and are over age 65, a healthcare worker, first responder, or who have recently traveled internationally or from impacted areas within the United States (i.e. New York tri-state area, Washington, California, Louisiana, etc.), are eligible for testing at the Department of Health in Marion County. To be tested by the Department of Health, individuals should call the Department of Health in Marion County’s 24/7 COVID-19 hotline (352-644-2590) to schedule an appointment.
If you don’t meet the above criteria for testing at the Department of Health and would like to be tested, please contact your primary care provider to see about the possibility of testing. If you do not have a primary care provider or if your primary care provider is unable to test, you can contact Heart of Florida Health Center (352-732-6599, www.myhfhc.org/) or Langley Medical Center (352-680-7000, www.langleymedicalcenter.com) to see if you qualify for screening at their facilities.