On the day when seven more local residents lost their battle with COVID-19 and Florida reported 89 additional deaths and more than 4,100 new cases, the head of a major cruise ship operator threatened to pull its operations out of Florida.
Four of the latest local fatalities were in Lake County, with two in Sumter County and one in Marion County. They are among the 1,880 deaths in the tri-county area, the 36,346 in Florida and the 580,776 across the country, statistics provided by the Florida Department of Health and Johns Hopkins University show.
Frank Del Rio, CEO of Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, threatened to keep its ships out of the Sunshine State because of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ legislation banning businesses from requiring customers to show proof they’ve received COVID-19 vaccines. Del Rio claimed the legislation goes against guidelines from federal health officials that would allow cruise ships to sail in U.S. waters if the majority of passengers and crew members have been vaccinated.
Del Rio, whose company owns Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, vowed to continue discussions with DeSantis. But he also made it clear that if his company can’t operate out of Florida, it can move its operations to other states or the Caribbean.
All told, Florida is reporting 2,262,598 COVID-19 cases – an increase of 4,165 from Thursday to Friday. Of those, 2,220,240 are residents. A total of 85,097 COVID-19 cases have been reported in long-term care centers and 32,509 in correctional facilities. Across the state, 91,848 people have been hospitalized.
Locally, Marion County is reporting 31,181 COVID-19 cases – an increase of 70 in a 24-hour period. There have been 965 deaths and 2,173 people have been hospitalized. A total of 136,315 people have been vaccinated, with 107,486 receiving both doses.
Ocala continues to lead Marion County with 22,802 cases – an overnight increase of 55. Others have been identified in Summerfield (1,928), Dunnellon (1,449), Belleview (1,372), Silver Springs (686), Ocklawaha (525), Citra (512), Fort McCoy (323), Reddick (315), Anthony (301), Weirsdale (252), The Villages (183), Salt Springs (50), Flemington (34), McIntosh (31), Sparr (27), Orange Lake (26), Candler (20), Lowell (19), East Lake (12), Fairfield (8) and Orange Springs (8).
Below is a breakdown of other COVID-19 activity in the local area:
- Cases: 70,258 – increase of 155
- Deaths: 1,880
- Hospitalizations: 4,290
- Cases: 29,736 – increase of 75
- Deaths: 638
- Hospitalizations: 1,538
- Vaccinations: 168,642 (134,926 both doses)
- Cities with most cases: Clermont (7,970), Leesburg (4,457), Eustis (2,607), Mount Dora (2,166) and Groveland (2,047).
- Cases: 9,341 – increase of 10
- Deaths: 277
- Hospitalizations: 579
- Vaccinations: 83,856 (72,095 both doses)
- Areas/cities with most cases: The Villages (4,263), Wildwood (1,092), Bushnell (1,040), Coleman (853) and Oxford (541).