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Thursday, November 24, 2022

Marion County’s latest bi-weekly report shows uptick in new COVID-19 cases

The latest bi-weekly report from local health officials shows an uptick in new COVID-19 cases in Marion County.

During the week of Friday, June 24 to Thursday, June 30, the county reported 964 cases, which is an average of nearly 138 cases per day. The updated statistics were released as part of the Florida Department of Health bi-weekly COVID-19 situation report.

The state’s report does not include at-home tests in Marion County that were not reported.

As of June 30, Marion County’s community transmission risk is listed as ‘high,’ according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The new report clearly shows that COVID-19 still infects a significant portion of our community,” said Sherry Duncan, assistant director of the Florida Department of Health in Marion County.

Duncan continued by stating, “We continue to emphasize that good personal hygiene, beginning with handwashing, and staying home if you are sick are important to slowing the spread of the virus. We also recommend that our residents take any other precautions they believe are necessary to maintain their own good health.”

Vaccines were administered to 115 residents, which is an increase of 67 from the previous reported week (June 10 to June 16). The latest report shows that 60% of eligible residents are currently vaccinated in Marion County. All residents ages 6 months or older are considered eligible.

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County provides free COVID-19 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. No appointment is necessary, and walk-ins are welcome.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for all age groups. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available for anyone ages 18 and older.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children ages 5 to 11 with moderately or severely compromised immune systems may receive an additional primary dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine after waiting at least 28 days from receiving their second dose in the primary vaccination series.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also reduced the wait time for a booster dose for people 18 and older who have completed either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccination series.

Adults and children ages 12 to 17 are now eligible for a booster shot five months after their primary series is completed.

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 still 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 is continuing to provide 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.

For more information about COVID-19 locally, call the Florida Department of Health in Marion County at 352-644-2590.