On the day when Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the eligibility age for COVID-19 vaccines will drop to 50 on Monday, two more local residents lost their battle with the virus and Florida reported an increase of more than 5,000 cases.
The latest local fatalities were both residents of Marion County. They are among the 1,739 tri-county area residents who have died of COVID-19, the 33,273 across Florida and the 540,430 across the country, according to statistics provided by the Florida Department of Health and Johns Hopkins University.
DeSantis on Friday announced that with nearly two-thirds of Florida’s seniors vaccinated against the Coronavirus, he was signing an executive order to drop the eligibility age for the second time this month.
The governor also said during a press conference in Tallahassee that vaccinations could be opened up to all Floridians by May 1 or earlier. President Joe Biden, in his first primetime address earlier this month, directed all states, tribes and territories to make all American adults eligible for the vaccine by May 1, with the goal of small get-togethers among families and friends being a possibility by the Fourth of July.
All told, Florida is reporting 1,999,257 COVID-19 cases – an increase of 5,140 from Thursday to Friday. Of those, 1,962,360 are residents. A total of 82,358 COVID-19 cases have been reported in long-term care centers and 31,391 in correctional facilities. Across the state, there have been 33,273 deaths and 83,189 people have been hospitalized.
Locally, Marion County is reporting 28,564 COViD-19 cases – an increase of 51 in a 24-hour period. There have been 904 deaths and 1,900 people have been hospitalized.
Ocala continues to lead Marion County with 20,948 cases – an overnight increase of 39. Others have been identified in Summerfield (1,778), Dunnellon (1,303), Belleview (1,237), Silver Springs (606), Citra (478), Ocklawaha (461), Fort McCoy (293), Reddick (291), Anthony (271), Weirsdale (223), The Villages (181), Salt Springs (49), Flemington (34), McIntosh (30), Sparr (22), Orange Lake (22), Lowell (19), Candler (19), East Lake (11), Fairfield (8), Orange Springs (8) and Morriston (6).
Below is a breakdown of other COVID-19 activity in the local area:
- Cases: 62,931 – increase of 145
- Deaths: 1,739
- Hospitalizations: 3,809
- Cases: 25,895 – increase of 64
- Deaths: 593
- Hospitalizations: 1,374
- Vaccinations: 95,546 (57,847 both doses)
- Cities with most cases: Clermont (6,801), Leesburg (3,969), Eustis (2,277), Mount Dora (1,941) and Tavares (1,858).
- Cases: 8,472 – increase of 30
- Deaths: 242
- Hospitalizations: 535
- Vaccinations: 50,993 (32,675 both doses)
- Areas/cities with most cases: The Villages (4,029), Wildwood (984), Bushnell (894), Coleman (839) and Oxford (484).