The Lake County Jail is battling an outbreak of COVID-19 as another Summerfield resident tested positive and Florida neared 71,000 cases of the potentially deadly virus.
So far, 57 patients – 7.5 percent of the 759 inmates at the jail in Tavares – have been identified with COVID-19 since testing began on June 4 after two female prisoners showed symptoms. Testing also followed for male inmates who were assigned to work crews after they began showing symptoms, according to Lt. John Herrell.
As of Friday, Herrell said, all 57 inmates who tested positive are asymptomatic and under medical isolation. He said the jail staff is continuing to screen all new incoming inmates and will place anyone who becomes symptomatic into isolation and test them.
Herrell also said the jail has had robust procedures in place since March to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some of those early measures included:
- All new arrests being quarantined for a period of 14 days before going into general population. This comes with a robust screening process at the time of intake;
- No transporting of inmates to or from other facilities and only accepting new arrests;
- Inmate visitations suspended;
- Nurses stationed in the sally port where inmates are brought in, and at the front lobby where all employees must now enter;
- Arresting officer and person in custody tested at point of entry; and
- All volunteers sent home and jail programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Good News Jail Ministries, suspended.
As of Friday, the tri-county area was reporting 948 COVID-19 cases, an increase of 36 in a 24-hour period. They are divided among 495 men, 431 women and 22 non-residents. There have been 40 deaths and 172 people have been hospitalized.
Marion County is now reporting 299 cases – an increase of seven in 24 hours. Those are comprised of 127 men, 167 women and five non-residents. There have been eight deaths and 43 people have required some form of hospital care.
Two of the Marion County cases have been reported in The Villages, with another 33 in Summerfield. Other cases have been reported in Ocala (210), Dunnellon (14), Citra (10), Belleview (9), Ocklawaha (4), Anthony (3), Reddick (2), Silver Springs (2) and Fort McCoy (1).
The new patient in Summerfield was identified as a 79-year-old woman. It’s unclear if she had traveled recently or been contact with someone else suffering from the virus. It’s also not clear if she lives in any of the Summerfield retirement communities – Del Webb Spruce Creek, Stonecrest and Spruce Creek South – as that specific information isn’t provided by the Florida Department of Health.
The other six new cases in Marion County were reported in Ocala. Those include a 9-year-old girl, a 13-year-old girl, a 29-year-old man, a 46-year-old man, a 60-year-old man and a 63-year-old woman.
Lake County continues to lead the way with 383 cases – an increase of 28 from Thursday to Friday – among 180 men, 188 women and 15 non-residents. There have been 15 deaths and 84 people have been hospitalized.
It’s unclear exactly how many county inmates were included in Friday’s count, as the total number being reported in Tavares is 35 – an increase of 12 in a 24-hour period. Other Lake County cases have been reported in Clermont (109), Leesburg (48), Eustis (40), Tavares (23), Mount Dora (22), Groveland (20), Lady Lake (18), Mascotte (14), The Villages (10), Minneola (8), Fruitland Park (6), Sorrento (6), Montverde (4), Howey-in-the-Hills (3), Altoona (2), Okahumpka (1), Umatilla (3), Grand Island (1), Paisley (1) and Yalaha (1).
Sumter County increased by just one case Friday for a total of 266. Those are divided among 188 men, 76 women and two non-residents. There have been 17 deaths and 45 people have required hospitalization.
Sixty-nine of the Sumter County cases are in The Villages, with another 122 reported in Bushnell – all but one of which are at the Sumter Correctional Institution (105 inmates and 16 staff members). Other cases have been identified in Lake Panasoffkee (22), Oxford (19), Wildwood (9), Webster (8), Lady Lake portion of the county (6), Sumterville (5) and Coleman (4). The federal prison in Coleman also has identified six cases among four staff members and two inmates.
All told, Florida is reporting 70,971 COVID-19 cases – an increase of 1,902 in a 24-hour period. Of those, 69,341 are residents. There have been 2,877 deaths and 11,706 people have been hospitalized across the Sunshine State.