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Ocala

Florida tops 30,000 COVID-19 deaths as virus claims 8 more local residents

Florida surpassed 30,000 COVID-19-related deaths on Friday as eight more local residents lost their battle with the fast-spreading virus.

Florida is now reporting 30,214 deaths connected to COVID-19 since the pandemic was first reported in the Sunshine State in March. Those victims include three more residents of Lake County, three in Marion County and two who lived in Sumter County. They are among the 1,482 tri-county area deaths and the 495,015 deaths across the country.

All told, Florida is reporting 1,856,427 cases – an increase of 6,683 from Thursday to Friday. Of those, 1,822,644 are residents. A total of 80,264 COVID-19 cases have been reported in long-term care centers and 30,637 in correctional facilities. Across the state, 77,408 people have been hospitalized.

Locally, Marion County is reporting 26,832 COVID-19 cases – an increase of 84 in a 24-hour period. There have been 722 deaths and 1,670 people have been hospitalized.

Ocala continues to lead Marion County with 19,755 cases – an overnight increase of 57. Others have been identified in Summerfield (1,687), Dunnellon (1,217), Belleview (1,134), Silver Springs (541), Citra (455), Ocklawaha (415), Reddick (274), Fort McCoy (265), Anthony (254), Weirsdale (210), The Villages (176), Salt Springs (47), Flemington (34), McIntosh (28), Sparr (21), Orange Lake (21), Lowell (18), Candler (17), East Lake (9), Fairfield (8), Orange Springs (7) and Morriston (5).

Below is a breakdown of other COVID-19 activity in the local area:

TRI-COUNTY AREA

  • Cases: 58,332 – increase of 168
  • Deaths: 1,482
  • Hospitalizations: 3,410

LAKE COUNTY

  • Cases: 23,786 – increase of 58
  • Deaths: 534
  • Hospitalizations: 1,243
  • Cities with most cases: Clermont (6,216), Leesburg (3,721), Eustis (2,113), Mount Dora (1,815) and Tavares (1,757).

SUMTER COUNTY

  • Cases: 7,714 – increase of 26
  • Deaths: 226
  • Hospitalizations: 497
  • Areas/cities with most cases: The Villages (3,617), Wildwood (924), Bushnell (842), Coleman (822) and Oxford (439).

Photos in Ocala, Florida

Crime

Ocala man behind bars for shooting near elementary school with classes in session

An 18-year-old Ocala man was jailed Thursday night in connection with a shooting that took place last year near an Ocala elementary school – while classes were in session.

Marion sheriff searching for thieves connected to car burglaries and recent shooting

Marion County sheriff’s detectives are seeking help in identifying vehicle burglars involved in a recent shooting.

Umatilla woman charged with DUI after drinking at Big Scrub

An Umatilla woman was arrested on a DUI charge Monday night after drinking at a bar near the Big Scrub Campground in the Ocala National Forest.

Ocala woman jailed after “whopping” man who had her phone

An Ocala woman was arrested after admitting she “whopped” a man in the back of the head while retrieving the cell phone he took away from her during a domestic spat.

Business

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’

The chief of the Ocala Police Department believes the legalization of marijuana will produce more violent crime in the city of Ocala.

CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion offering live workshops via Zoom platform

CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion will resume live employability workshops beginning Monday, Jan. 11 with Job Specific Resume Development.

World Equestrian Center coined ‘Disney World of Horse Industry’ by Marion County Chairman

The Marion County Commission Chairman coined the new World Equestrian Center as the "Disney World of the horse industry" recently.

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Headlines

Health inspector shuts Ocala fast-food eatery over roach and food temperature issues

A popular Ocala fast-food eatery was shut down recently after a health inspector cited 11 violations – the most egregious of which involved roach excrement and food temperature issues.

Ocala man behind bars for shooting near elementary school with classes in session

An 18-year-old Ocala man was jailed Thursday night in connection with a shooting that took place last year near an Ocala elementary school – while classes were in session.

Marion sheriff searching for thieves connected to car burglaries and recent shooting

Marion County sheriff’s detectives are seeking help in identifying vehicle burglars involved in a recent shooting.

20 more local COVID-19 deaths as outbreak hits staff at Coleman federal prison

The local death toll from COVID-19 continued to rise at a rapid rate Saturday as the federal prison in Coleman reported a significant number of cases of the fast-spreading virus among staff members.

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