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Marion County COVID-19 positivity surges

By Florida Department of Health in Marion County

January 03, 2022

 

OCALA, Fla.—Marion County’s COVID-19 positivity rate rose sharply during the last week of 2021, reaching its highest level in more than three months, according to the most recent state report, released Friday.

Marion County reported 59,663 cumulative cases as of Dec. 30, with an increase of 1,543 new cases from the previous week. Marion County’s reported COVID-19 cases between Dec. 24 and Dec. 30 had a positivity rate of 17.4%. That was up from 5% last week.

The new positivity rate is Marion County’s highest since Sept. 16, when the county’s rate was reported at 17.9%.

Overall, the daily positivity rate for all new COVID-19 cases throughout Florida was 26.5%.

“We anticipated this increase to some degree because of the holidays, and the possibility of crowded gatherings, especially with guests from out of town. But we’re concerned that we’ve reached a point with new infections that we have not seen in a few months,” said Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander. “We encourage our community to heed the guidance for slowing the spread of the virus. That includes frequent hand-washing, staying home if you are sick, and considering obtaining a COVID vaccine or a booster, if you are eligible for one. We reiterate that vaccines are the most effective way to prevent serious illness or hospitalization from COVID-19 for everyone age 5 or older.”

Because of the surge in the positivity rate, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has downgraded Marion County’s community transmission rate to “high,” which is defined as having more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people over the seven-day reporting period and having a positivity rate of 10% or higher. 

The state’s new report indicates 961 people in Marion County received vaccines between Dec. 24 and Dec. 30. That was a decrease of 315 vaccines from the previous week. Despite that, the ratio of Marion County residents age 5 or older who have been vaccinated increased from 61% to 62% during the latest reporting period.

The state’s new report also indicates that Marion County has reported its highest daily average of new cases since the week of Sept. 10-16. 

From COVID-19 cases reported during the week of Dec. 24 to Dec. 30, Marion County saw:

  • An average of 220.4 new cases per day
  • 17.4% positivity rate
  • A total of 961 people vaccinated

For the week of Dec. 17 to Dec. 23, Marion saw:

  • An average of 51.9 new cases per day
  • 5% positivity rate.
  • A total of 1,276 people vaccinated

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

COVID-19 vaccine availability 

COVID-19 vaccines for anyone 5 or older are now available at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County.

To make a vaccination appointment, go to tinyurl.com/MakeMarionFLVaxAppt. The vaccine is available for free. 

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

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 approved only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for all age groups. People 18 and older may choose from the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pfizer vaccine for children under 12 has the same active ingredients as the vaccine given to adults and adolescents, but the dose for 5- to 11-year-olds is only one-third the amount in the adult vaccine. The vaccine also is administered with smaller needles designed specifically for children.

Besides the Department of Health in Marion County, vaccines can be obtained throughout the county at many pharmacies, doctor’s offices, clinics and health centers.

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

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.

Call CovidTestFL.Org at 866-826-8430 for additional details about testing.

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 who seek to be tested 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 will only be tested if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 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.

COVID-19 treatment

Monoclonal antibody therapy is widely available in Florida. Monoclonal antibody treatments can prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death in high-risk patients who have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19. 

Anyone 12 and older who is considered at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 is eligible for this treatment. 

For more information about this treatment, including locations where it is administered, visit floridahealthcovid19.gov. 

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.