On the day when Florida clamped down on COVID-19 “vaccine tourism,” the tri-county area reported 24 more deaths connected to the fast-spreading virus.
The state issued new guidelines Thursday in an attempt to keep visitors to the Sunshine State from getting vaccines instead of full-time residents and snowbirds. State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees signed a Public Health Advisory that clearly prioritizes Floridians for the vaccines. That action follows statements by Gov. Ron DeSantis making it clear that the doses should be reserved for Florida residents, not “tourists” or “foreigners.”
“We want to put seniors first, but we obviously want to put people that live here first in line,” DeSantis said during a recent press conference.
Meanwhile, 15 of the latest local fatalities were residents of Lake County, while seven lived in Sumter County and two called Marion County home. They are among the 1,121 tri-county area deaths, the 25,128 in Florida and the 408,877 across the country.
Locally, Marion County is reporting 22,847 COVID-19 cases – an increase of 203 in a 24-hour period. There have been 558 deaths and 1,485 people have been hospitalized.
Ocala continues to pace Marion County with 16,795 cases – an overnight increase of 152. Others have been identified in Summerfield (1,408), Dunnellon (1,003), Belleview (954), Silver Springs (401), Citra (387), Ocklawaha (338), Reddick (250), Fort McCoy (206), Anthony (202), Weirsdale (170), The Villages (62), Salt Springs (39), Flemington (34), McIntosh (22), Sparr (20), Orange Lake (18), Candler (17), Lowell (17), Morriston (6), Orange Springs (6), East Lake (6) and Fairfield (5).
Below is a breakdown of other COVID-19 activity in the local area:
- Cases: 49,580 – increase of 486
- Deaths: 1,121
- Hospitalizations: 3,020
- Cases: 20,128 – increase of 231
- Deaths: 393
- Hospitalizations: 1,102
- Cities with most cases: Clermont (5,240), Leesburg (3,202), Eustis (1,791), Mount Dora (1,539) and Tavares (1,470).
- Cases: 6,605 – increase of 52
- Deaths: 170
- Hospitalizations: 433
- Areas/cities with most cases: The Villages (2,981), Coleman (811), Wildwood (800), Bushnell (719) and Oxford (383).
All told, Florida is reporting 1,613,884 cases – an increase of 12,873 from Wednesday to Thursday. Of those, 1,584,442 are residents. A total of 72,913 cases have been reported in long-term care centers and 24,739 in correctional facilities. Across the state, there have been 25,128 deaths and 69,282 people have been hospitalized.