On the day Gov. Ron DeSantis promised to drop the eligibility age for COVID-19 vaccinations, 20 more local residents succumbed to the fast-spreading illness.
Seventeen of the local fatalities occurred in Marion County – where DeSantis was speaking Friday – and the other three were in Lake County. They are among the 1,664 tri-county area deaths, the 32,093 in Florida and the 521,290 across the country.
The governor held a press conference Friday at On Top of the World, where 3,300 Pfizer vaccines are being administered. He said Marion County was identified as needing extra vaccine because just 44 percent of the nearly 110,000 seniors ages 65 and older have been vaccinated. The average among most Florida counties is between 50-60 percent.
DeSantis also said the age for Coronavirus vaccine eligibility will be lowered to either 60 or 55 sometime this month. He said the decision will depend on vaccine supply and when the age is lowered, anyone in the age group regardless of occupation will be eligible for the shots.
All told, Florida is reporting 1,936,207 cases – an increase of 5,975 from Thursday to Friday. Of those, 1,900,598 are residents. A total of 81,532 COVID-19 cases have been reported in long-term care centers and 31,071 in correctional facilities. Across the state, 80,632 people have been hospitalized.
Locally, Marion County is reporting 27,957 COVID-19 cases – an increase of 78 in a 24-hour period. There have been 844 deaths and 1,785 people have been hospitalized.
Ocala continues to lead Marion County with 20,536 cases – an overnight increase of 51. Others have been identified in Summerfield (1,746), Dunnellon (1,265), Belleview (1,208), Silver Springs (587), Citra (471), Ocklawaha (441), Reddick (283), Fort McCoy (280), Anthony (264), Weirsdale (219), The Villages (181), Salt Springs (49), Flemington (34), McIntosh (29), Sparr (22), Orange Lake (22), Lowell (19), Candler (18), East Lake (11), Fairfield (8), Orange Springs (7) and Morriston (6).
Below is a breakdown of other COVID-19 activity in the local area:
- Cases: 61,114 – increase of 182
- Deaths: 1,664
- Hospitalizations: 3,608
- Cases: 25,010 – increase of 82
- Deaths: 577
- Hospitalizations: 1,312
- Cities with most cases: Clermont (6,553), Leesburg (3,859), Eustis (2,215), Mount Dora (1,888) and Tavares (1,819).
- Cases: 8,147 – increase of 22
- Deaths: 243
- Hospitalizations: 511
- Areas/cities with most cases: The Villages (3,868), Wildwood (955), Bushnell (862), Coleman (830) and Oxford (462).