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Marion County’s COVID-19 positivity rate rises slightly

By Florida Department of Health in Marion County

December 17, 2021

 

Ocala, Fla.— Marion County’s COVID-19 positivity rate rose slightly over the past week, according to the most recent state report released on Friday.

Marion County reported 57,745 cumulative cases as of Dec. 16, with an increase of 179 new cases from the previous week. Marion County’s reported COVID-19 cases between Dec. 10 and Dec. 16 had a positivity rate of 3.3%. That was up from 2.4% last week.

The daily positivity rate for all new COVID-19 cases throughout Florida over that same period was 5.4%.

That is the highest positivity rate that Marion County has reported since Nov. 4.

“The slight increase in this week’s report is a reminder to everyone that we still have work to do with regards to stopping the spread of this virus,” said Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander.

“We know the rate could potentially increase even more over the holidays. That’s why we want to encourage the community to be aware of ways to reduce the spread, including frequent hand-washing, staying home if you feel ill, and considering getting a vaccine or a booster. Vaccines remain the most effective way to prevent serious illness or hospitalization from COVID-19, including for children age 5 or older.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now describes Marion County’s community transmission rate as “moderate.”

The state’s new report also indicates 969 people in Marion County obtained vaccines between Dec. 10 and Dec. 16. That was a decrease of 176 vaccines from the previous week. Still, the ratio of county residents age 5 and older who are vaccinated remained at 61%, the report shows.  

Marion’s number of new cases also continued to remain relatively low compared to the summer and early fall.

From COVID-19 cases reported for the week of Dec. 10 to Dec. 16, Marion saw:

  • An average of 25.6 new cases per day
  • 3.3% positivity rate
  • A total of 969 people vaccinated

For the week of Dec. 3 to Dec. 9, Marion saw:

  • An average of 20.9 new cases per day
  • 2.4% positivity rate.
  • A total of 1,145 people vaccinated

For the week of Nov. 26-Dec. 2, Marion saw:

  • An average of 23.6 new cases per day
  • 3% positivity rate
  • A total of 1,358 people vaccinated

For the week of Nov. 19-25, Marion saw:

  • An average of 17.7 new cases per day
  • 2.9% positivity rate.
  • A total of 1,249 people vaccinated

For the week of Nov. 12-18, Marion saw:

  • An average of 18.4 new cases per day
  • 2.6% positivity rate
  • A total of 1,198 people vaccinated

 For the week of Nov. 5-11, Marion saw:

  • An average of 18.3 new cases per day
  • 2.6% positivity rate.
  • A total of 1,034 people vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccine availability

Anyone age 5 or older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County.

On Dec. 9, the CDC broadened its recommendation for booster shots to adolescents who are 16 and 17. Per the CDC’s recommendation, anyone who seeks a booster shot, including those ages 16 and 17, must have completed their initial vaccine series at least six months ago.   

The department provides vaccinations by appointment from 8:30–11 a.m. and 1–4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at its main office, 1801 SE 32nd Ave., Ocala.

Parents, guardians, or caregivers who are interested in obtaining a vaccination for their children, or adults seeking a new vaccine or a booster, can make an appointment by visiting tinyurl.com/MakeMarionFLVaxAppt.

The vaccines are available for free. 

The department encourages those with questions about vaccines, whether for themselves or their children, to consult with their health care provider.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for anyone under 18.

According to the CDC, the Pfizer vaccine for children under 12 has the same active ingredients as the vaccine given to adults and adolescents, but the dose is only one-third the amount in the adult vaccine. The vaccine also is administered with smaller needles designed specifically for children.

People 18 and older may choose from the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

County residents also can obtain vaccines from other providers throughout Marion County, including many pharmacies, doctor’s offices, clinics and health centers.

Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator to learn more about vaccine locations.

New COVID-19 treatment will soon be available

Today, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo visited Ocala to announce a preventative monoclonal antibody treatment that will soon be available in the state.

Following a recent emergency-use authorization by the FDA, AstraZeneca’s Evusheld could be administered as a COVID-19 preventative treatment for certain people 12 and older.

Research has shown that Evusheld can provide pre-exposure protection from COVID-19 for up to six months.

Evusheld is authorized for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised or are taking immunosuppressive medications and may not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccines.

The treatment would also be available to people with a history of severe, adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines and/or vaccine components or ingredients.

People who are interested in this therapy and think they are eligible for it should contact their health care provider.

A list of locations that will provide Evusheld can be found at FloridaHealthCOVID19.gov. The Department of Health will update the public as more information about the federal government’s distribution of Evusheld becomes available. 

COVID-19 testing continues locally

COVID-19 testing remains available at the First Baptist Church of Ocala.

CovidTestFL.Org, a COVID-19 mobile clinical testing service, provides free drive-through testing at the church, 2801 SE Maricamp Road, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

CovidTestFL.Org will close the site on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Call CovidTestFL.Org at 866-826-8430 for additional details.

Another testing provider, Covid Test Express, will be open from 8–11:30 a.m. on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Covid Test Express is located at 11714 NE 62nd Terrace in The Villages.

CovidTestFL.Org offers a diagnostic PCR COVID-19 test that provides results within three days via a text message or an email containing a link to results on a web portal. Expedited test results are available for an additional fee.

People seeking a test must enter the church parking lot entrance on SE 30th Ave. To be tested, individuals should bring a valid photo ID; minors under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian in order to be tested.

People should be prepared to stay in their vehicles while awaiting testing.

Additionally, testing can be done at private labs, physicians’ offices, pharmacies and walk-in clinics throughout Marion County.

For more information, call the Department of Health in Marion County at 352-644-2590.

Find out more

Visit marion.floridahealth.gov,marionflcovid.org and twitter.com/flhealthmarion for the latest information on COVID-19 and vaccinations. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and use the Vaccine Locator and Testing Sites tools to find vaccination and testing sites near you.