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Monday, January 24, 2022

Marion County reports spike in weekly COVID-19 cases

Marion County health officials are reporting a spike in weekly COVID-19 cases.

According to the Florida Department of Health, the COVID-19 weekly report for Friday, December 24, to Thursday, December 30 shows that the number of positive cases have quadrupled following the previous week’s uptick.

During the week, the county reported 1,543 positive COVID-19 cases, an average of just over 220 new cases each day. The previous week (December 17 to December 23) saw an average of nearly 52 new cases each day.

This is the highest number of cases since September when the county was in the midst of the summer spike.

Mark Lander, Department of Health in Marion County Administrator, anticipates an increase in positive cases over the upcoming weeks due to the holidays.

Lander said, “This jump was somewhat expected with the holidays, and the increased opportunity for crowded gatherings. But it also reminds us that the community must step up measures for self-protection and to attempt to slow the spread of the virus, including washing your hands frequently, staying home if you don’t feel well, and considering getting a vaccine or a booster, if you are eligible for one. For everyone, including children ages 5 or older, vaccines are the most effective way to prevent serious illness or hospitalization from COVID-19.”

Vaccines were administered to 961 residents, a decrease of 315 from the previous week. The report shows that around 62% of eligible residents, or 218,393, are currently vaccinated in Marion County. All residents ages 5 and older are considered eligible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending for everyone ages 16 and up to get a booster shot either six months after the initial Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna series or two months after their initial Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The CDC recently shortened its recommended time for isolation for people with COVID-19.

The Omicron variant was detected in the United States on Wednesday, December 1. According to Lander, the CDC remains the primary agency responsible for maintaining surveillance of Omicron, and the Department of Health in Marion County will respond to the variant as needed with mitigation efforts that include both prevention and treatment.

For more information on last week’s COVID-19 figures, visit the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 website.