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50% of Marion residents could be at higher risk for COVID-19 due to underlying conditions

Close to 50 percent of the population in Marion County could be at a higher risk of catching the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus.

That’s according to the Department of Health in Marion County, which put out a release Thursday detailing the top five underlying health conditions – heart disease, diabetes, COPD, obesity and chronic kidney disease – that place people more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

“For Marion families, this means about 50 percent of the county’s residents should take extra precautions to prevent exposure to COVID-19 due to their underlying health condition(s),” said the release. “Age also places residents in an at-risk category, increasing the overall number of vulnerable residents locally.”

Severe illness cases are more likely to need hospitalization, ICU admission or ventilation. To date, 8 percent of Marion’s COVID-19 cases have involved hospitalization, compared to 6 percent of statewide cases. A total of 60 residents have died after contracting COVID-19, with the vast majority suffering from underlying health conditions.

“If you have one of these conditions, you need to take extra precautions to both reduce your exposure and prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is especially important if you are over age 65,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander. “It’s also worth considering whether individuals you would interact with could be high-risk for exposure and consider adjusting your personal plans accordingly. We have seen more than a few cases where a young relative has passed the virus on to an older or more vulnerable relative.”

COVID-19 precautions include:

  • Practicing social distancing;
  • Gathering in groups 10 or less;
  • Staying home when sick;
  • Limiting unnecessary trips;
  • Wearing a mask when out in public and unable to practice social distancing;
  • Following sanitation guidelines, such as frequent handwashing and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces; and
  • Avoiding the 3C’s: crowded places with many others nearby, closed spaces (with poor ventilation) and close contact settings, such as close-range conversation.

Photos in Ocala, Florida

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