Marion County reaches new lows for COVID-19 cases, positivity rate

 

Ocala, Fla. The number of newly reported COVID-19 cases in Marion County and the local positivity rate both dropped to the lowest levels recorded since the state switched to a weekly reporting system last June.

According to the most recent state report, released Friday, the key points for Marion County during the week of March 18 to March 24 were:

  • New cases: 56. That was down from 125 recorded in the last state report on March 11. That is 25 fewer cases than the previous reported low of 81 new cases on June 18, 2021. The number of new COVID-19 infections has plunged 99% since Jan. 13, when a record 5,536 cases were reported. The number of new cases has dropped each week since reaching that high point.
  • The county’s cumulative case total as of March 24: 83,164. 
  • Positivity rate: 1.2%. That is down from 2.4% as noted in the state’s March 11 report. It is also the lowest recorded positivity rate since the state switched COVID-19 reporting procedures last June.
  • Statewide positivity rate: 2.3%.
  • Vaccines: 87. That was slightly up from the 81 vaccines noted in the state’s March 11 report. Percentage of county residents 5 or older who have been vaccinated: 64%.

“This report is the best news our community has had with COVID-19 in quite some time. Hopefully, we have turned a corner with this virus, said Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander.

“While it’s tempting to relax on the measures that have gotten us here, we want to encourage members of our community to continue to practice good personal hygiene, stay home if you feel ill, and think about establishing a healthier lifestyle.”

The Department of Health also reminds county residents that vaccines help reduce serious illness and hospitalizations.

From COVID-19 cases reported during the week of March 18 to March 24, Marion saw:

  • An average of 8 new cases per day
  • 1.2% positivity rate
  • A total of 87 vaccinated

For the week of March 4 to March 10, Marion saw:

  • An average of 17.9 new cases per day
  • 2.4% positivity rate
  • A total of 81 people vaccinated

For the week of Feb. 25 to March 3, Marion saw:

  • An average of 33.6 new cases per day
  • 3.6% positivity rate
  • A total of 119 people vaccinated

For the week of Feb. 18-24, Marion saw:

  • An average of 59.9 new cases per day
  • 6.9% positivity rate
  • A total of 128 people vaccinated

For the week of Feb. 11 to Feb. 17, Marion saw:

  • An average of 101.1 new cases per day
  • 10.3% positivity rate
  • A total of 161 people vaccinated

For the week of Feb. 4 to Feb. 10, Marion saw:

  • An average of 223.4 new cases per day
  • 17.7% positivity rate              
  • A total of 264 people vaccinated  

For the week of Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, Marion County saw:

  • An average of 374.4 new cases per day
  • 24.6% positivity rate
  • A total of 311 people vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccine availability 

The department provides free COVID-19 vaccinations from 8:30–11:30 a.m. and 1–4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at its main office, 1801 SE 32nd Ave., Ocala.

No appointment is necessary. Walk-ins are accepted.

The department encourages people with questions about vaccines 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.

Under the CDC’s latest guidelines, 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 CDC also has 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. To reiterate, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized for children under age 18.

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

Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov to learn more about vaccine locations.  

COVID-19 testing continues locally

Curative Inc., a mobile lab service, offers free COVID-19 testing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Florida Horse Park, 11008 S. County Rd. 475, Ocala. 

Curative uses a shallow nasal PCR test with results available via email or text within 24 to 48 hours. Tests are shipped out daily at the close of business. 

The tests are self-administered, but a site specialist provides customers guidance on how to best perform the test. 

Curative welcomes walk-ins. But the company says it is easier for patients to register for an appointment at Curative.com.

COVID-19 treatment options

Monoclonal antibody therapy is currently available in Florida. Monoclonal antibody treatments can prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death in high-risk patients. 

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

In addition to monoclonal antibody treatment, Florida has introduced the newest therapeutics, AstraZeneca’s Evusheld, Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s molnupiravir, which can be administered with a physician’s prescription.

For more information about monoclonal antibody treatment and other therapeutics, visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and click the “Treatment Locator” tab at the top of the page. 

Find out more 

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

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.


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