70.1 F
Saturday, May 21, 2022

Marion County bi-weekly report shows 99% drop in COVID-19 cases since record-high January spike

Health officials are reporting that COVID-19 cases in Marion County have dropped to the lowest levels recorded since the state switched to weekly reporting in June of 2021.

During the week of Friday, March 18 to Thursday, March 24, the county reported 56 positive COVID-19 cases, an average of eight cases each day. The updated statistics were released as part of the Florida Department of Health bi-weekly COVID-19 situation report.

Since the middle of January, when the county experienced a record-high 5,536 cases, the number of new cases has plummeted by 99%.

“This report is the best news our community has had with COVID-19 in quite some time. Hopefully, we have turned a corner with this virus,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander.

Lander encourages residents to maintain good habits. “While it’s tempting to relax on the measures that have gotten us here, we want to encourage members of our community to continue to practice good personal hygiene, stay home if you feel ill, and think about establishing a healthier lifestyle.”

Vaccines were administered to 87 residents, an increase of six from the previous report for the week of March 4 to March 11. The latest report shows that 64% of eligible residents, or 225,224, are currently vaccinated in Marion County. All residents ages 5 and older are considered eligible.

COVID-19 vaccines for anyone ages 5 and older are available for free at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. Visit the Florida Department of Health in Marion County COVID-19 vaccines webpage to make an appointment.

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County provides vaccinations Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., at its main office located at 1801 SE 32nd Avenue in Ocala.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for all age groups. Anyone ages 18 and older may choose from the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Anyone who has questions about vaccines, whether for themselves or their children, should consult with their health care provider.

In addition to the Florida Department of Health in Marion County, vaccines are available throughout the county at many pharmacies, doctor’s offices, clinics, and health centers. For more information on vaccines, or to find a vaccine location, visit the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine locator webpage.

Curative, Inc., a mobile lab service, offers free COVID-19 testing Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Florida Horse Park located at 11008 S County Road 475 in Ocala. Curative uses a shallow nasal PCR test with results available via email or text message within 24 to 48 hours. Walk-ins are welcome, but the company encourages anyone seeking a test to visit the Curative webpage to register for an appointment.

Monoclonal antibody therapy is available in Florida for anyone ages 12 and older who is considered at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19. Monoclonal antibody treatments can prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death in high-risk patients. Florida has also introduced AstraZeneca’s Evusheld, Pfizer’s Paxlovid, and Merck’s molnupiravir, which can be administered with a physician’s prescription.

For more information on the latest COVID-19 figures, visit the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 webpage, and click on the “Treatment Locator” tab at the top of the webpage for more information about monoclonal antibody treatment and other therapeutics.