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Friday, May 20, 2022

Marion County bi-weekly report shows increase in COVID-19 cases, vaccinations

Health officials are reporting that the number of COVID-19 cases in Marion County has increased for the third consecutive report.

During the week of Friday, April 29 to Thursday, May 5, the county reported 303 cases, an average of just over 43 cases each day. The updated statistics were released as part of the Florida Department of Health bi-weekly COVID-19 situation report.

This is the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Marion County since the last week of February when 419 new infections were recorded.

“This latest increase may reflect the seasonal ebb and flow that we’ve seen of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Thankfully, our numbers are still down significantly compared to the omicron spike at the beginning of the year,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander.

With cases on the rise again, Lander recommends that Marion County residents should take the following steps to help reduce the spread of the virus: practice good personal hygiene, remain at home when sick, and evaluate some lifestyle changes to become healthier. 

Vaccines were administered to 89 residents, an increase of 31 from the previous reported week (April 15 to April 21). The latest report shows that 64% of eligible residents, or 224,908, 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 11:30 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.