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Friday, September 10, 2021

Marion County still in midst of highest COVID-19 spike as thousands more seek vaccine

While Marion County residents are testing positive for COVID-19 at a higher rate than ever before, thousands more are seeking the vaccine.

According to this week’s COVID-19 update from the Florida Department of Health, 4,507 people received the vaccine in Marion County last week. That’s over 20% higher than the previous week (3,720) and over 120% higher than the week before that (2,025). 

Comparatively, during the first week of July only 969 residents sought out the vaccine. 

Health officials says the positivity rate continues to rise to its highest levels and sits at 27%, with the county averaging 343 new cases per day. 

There are approximately 179,085 residents in Marion County that have been vaccinated out of a population of 372,469. Records show that of eligible residents (i.e., those over the age of 12), 55 percent have been vaccinated. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), of 365,579 Marion County residents, only 157,318, or just under 44%, are considered “fully vaccinated.” An additional 26,000 residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. For the CDC case rate, data is good through Sunday, August 8, while the percent positivity rate is good through Friday, August 6.

“We are glad to see that more and more Marion County residents are getting vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander. “There are many opportunities in Marion County to get the vaccine, which is a critical tool to prevent severe illness with COVID-19.” 

In addition to getting vaccinated, Lander said it’s important to follow basic mitigation measures, including avoiding others when sick, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, avoiding large crowds where distancing may be difficult, and using masks where determined appropriate. People who are older or more medically vulnerable should consult their health care provider to see if additional precautions should be taken.

“It is extremely important that people stay home when they are sick,” said Lander. “And with students returning to school, it is critical that parents do not send sick children to school or day care.”

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County provides COVID-19 vaccinations at its main office (1801 SE 32nd Ave., Ocala) and at sites across the community. 

The department provides walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations Monday through Wednesday from 8–11 a.m. and 1–3 p.m. at its main office. Appointments for the main office are available Monday through Friday. To make an appointment for vaccination or obtain more information, call 352-644-2590.