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Ocala

24 more local COVID-19 deaths as Florida takes aim at ‘vaccine tourism’

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:

TRI-COUNTY AREA

  • Cases: 49,580 – increase of 486
  • Deaths: 1,121
  • Hospitalizations: 3,020

LAKE COUNTY

  • 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).

SUMTER COUNTY

  • 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.

Photos in Ocala, Florida

Crime

Dunnellon man admits to showering and eating in unoccupied home

A Dunnellon man who spent nearly six months in jail last year is back behind bars after admitting to breaking into an unoccupied residence and making himself at home.

Ocala man who called 911 ends up being the one charged with domestic battery

A 67-year-old Ocala man who called 911 to report a woman had locked herself in a bedroom and was acting highly emotional ended up being arrested and charged with battering her.

Ocklawaha woman jailed second time on battery charge

A 21-year-old Ocklawaha woman jailed in 2019 after a spat over text messages she sent to another man was arrested again after she allegedly scratched a man’s arm during another argument.

Ocala man charged with DUI and selling marijuana

A 21-year-old Ocala man was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell after a large trove of THC-based products was found in his vehicle during a traffic stop early Monday.

Business

Lockheed Martin teams with CareerSource Florida for apprenticeship program

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that Lockheed Martin and CareerSource Florida have partnered to develop and refine a registered apprenticeship program.

Craft Cuisine falls victim to pandemic, forced to close doors

Craft Cuisine was forced to close its doors last month amidst the global pandemic that has forced the closures of a multitude of businesses in Ocala.

Ocala police chief: ‘Marijuana legalization will produce more violent crime in Ocala’

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CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion offering live workshops via Zoom platform

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Headlines

Dunnellon man admits to showering and eating in unoccupied home

A Dunnellon man who spent nearly six months in jail last year is back behind bars after admitting to breaking into an unoccupied residence and making himself at home.

Ocala man who called 911 ends up being the one charged with domestic battery

A 67-year-old Ocala man who called 911 to report a woman had locked herself in a bedroom and was acting highly emotional ended up being arrested and charged with battering her.

11 more local COVID-19 deaths as Florida surpasses 3 million Sunshine State residents vaccinated

Eleven more local residents have succumbed to COVID-19 as Florida surpassed 3 million vaccinations among Sunshine State residents.

University of Florida chooses Marion County Public Schools for national COVID-19 study

Marion County Public Schools will participate in a national study conducted by the University of Florida’s Lastinger Center for Learning to discover more about student learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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