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Department of Health in Marion County announces first positive COVID-19 case

By Florida Department of Health in Marion County

March 20, 2020


OCALA, Fla.—Marion County received notice of its first positive case of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, today. The person ill with the virus is a 59-year-old female.

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County (DOH-Marion) is now conducting its contact investigation and working on identifying and notifying individuals who will need to self-monitor for symptoms for a 14-day period. Contact investigations are a critical way for staff epidemiologists to track and prevent the spread of disease.

As Marion sees its first confirmed case, DOH-Marion Administrator Mark Lander emphasized the importance of mitigation practices in preventing the spread of the virus.

“We anticipate that we will continue to see cases of COVID-19 appear in our community due to the contagiousness of the virus and its current spread in the world. However, if we work together using mitigation practices, we can reduce COVID-19’s impact on our community,” Lander said. “Practicing social distancing, staying home when you are sick, frequently washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes and following other prevention guidelines are important ways to stop the spread of the virus.”

Social distancing measures that have included the closure of schools and recommendations to cancel gatherings of more than 10 individuals are two of the ways that health officials hope to prevent the speed of the virus’ spread in the state. Preventing the speed and spread of the virus would “flatten the curve” and prevent overwhelm of health care systems. 

DOH-Marion has been monitoring COVID-19 since its emergence and been in contact with Marion County Emergency Management and medical providers to prepare response activities in the event we were to see cases in Marion.


COVID-19 symptoms and treatment

The symptoms of COVID-19 can mirror illnesses such as influenza. Patients with COVID-19 typically display symptoms such as fever (100.4°F or higher), cough, and/or shortness of breath within 2 to 14 days of exposure to the virus. Approximately 80% of those affected with COVID-19 report mild to moderate illness and experience a complete recovery. Some experience more severe illness. People who are more vulnerable to the illness include individuals who are over age 65 with underlying health conditions, immunocompromised, ill or have underlying chronic health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes.

Many cases of COVID-19 can be managed at home by treating symptoms, and this is encouraged. However, if you develop worsening symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or inability to drink fluids, contact 911 and advise them of your symptoms as you may need treatment at a hospital.


COVID-19 overview, symptoms, and general prevention

COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus; coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals. Other coronaviruses include the common cold and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 is believed to have emerged from an animal source and is now capable of spreading from person-to-person. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 visit and


Local Call Center Available 24/7

Individuals can call DOH-Marion’s COVID-19 call center 24/7 at 352-644-2590 for general questions about the virus. Individuals can also continue to contact the statewide COVID-19 hotline 24/7 at 866-779-6121 or Health care providers should continue to call DOH epidemiology staff if they have questions regarding testing.