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Ocala

Retiree-heavy Sumter County lags far behind in tri-county area COVID-19 testing

The county where the vast majority of Villages homes are located lags woefully behind in COVID-19 testing in the tri-county area.

In fact, of the 30,247 people who have been tested in the tri-county area, only 13 percent – 3,887 – live in Sumter County, where most of the residents are in the age group most susceptible to the potentially deadly virus. Lake County has tested 15,194 people and Marion County is close behind with 11,166 tests administered and 228 others awaiting testing.

UF Health claims to have offered testing to 3,955 people when it had a site set up at The Villages Polo Fields, divided among 1,855 people with symptoms and 2,100 asymptomatic residents. Testing times at that site in March and April were difficult for Villages residents to book and created mass frustration among many, including resident Carol Lynch, whose daughter said she desperately tried to get a test before succumbing to the Coronavirus. It’s also unclear if any of those numbers touted by the out-of-town healthcare provider are included in the daily reported released by the Florida Department of Health.

As of Sunday afternoon, the tri-county was reporting 765 COVID-19 cases – an increase of just two from Sunday to Monday. Those were divided among 410 men, 336 women and 19 non-residents. There have been 37 deaths and 149 people have been hospitalized.

Marion County held steady on Monday at 237 cases among 101 men, 131 women and five non-residents. There have been five deaths and 31 people have been hospitalized.

The overwhelming majority of Marion County cases – 168 – have been reported in Ocala, with another 26 in Summerfield and at least one in The Villages. Other Marion County cases have been identified in Dunnellon (11), Belleview (8), Citra (8), Ocklawaha (4), Anthony (3), Reddick (2) and Silver Springs (1).

It’s unclear if any of the Summerfield cases are in the retirement communities of Del Webb Spruce Creek, Stonecrest or Spruce Creek South, as that specific information isn’t provided by the Florida Department of Health.

Sumter County also held steady Monday at 253 cases among 180 men, 72 women and one non-resident. There have been 17 deaths and 44 people have required some form of hospital care.

Of the Sumter County cases, 121 are in Bushnell, with all but one of those apparently being at the Sumter Correctional Institution (104 inmates and 16 staff members. Another 62 are in The Villages, 16 are in Oxford and nine are in Wildwood. Other Sumter County areas reporting COVID-19 cases include Lake Panasoffkee (22), Webster (8), Lady Lake portion of the county (6), Sumterville (5) and Coleman (3). The federal prison in Coleman also is reporting five cases among two inmates and three staff members.

Lake County increased by two cases to 275 on Monday. Those are comprised of 129 men, 133 women and 13 non-residents. There have been 15 deaths and 74 people have been seen in area hospitals.

The majority of the Lake County cases – 89 – are in Clermont. Forty-five have been reported in Leesburg, 10 in Lady Lake, seven in The Villages portion of the county and four in Fruitland Park. Other Lake County cases have been identified in Eustis (22), Tavares (18), Groveland (17), Mount Dora (16), Mascotte (12), Minneola (6), Sorrento (3), Montverde (3), Howey-in-the-Hills (3), Altoona (2), Okahumpka (1), Umatilla (1), Grand Island (1), Paisley (1) and Yalaha (1).

All told, Florida is reporting 51,746 COVID-19 cases – an increase of 879 in a 24-hour period. Of those, 50,414 are residents. There have been 2,252 deaths and 9,424 people have been hospitalized.

Photos in Ocala, Florida

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