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Marion County health official provides update on COVID-19 cases, trends

Mark Lander, the Florida Department of Health Administrator in Marion County, provided an update on COVID-19 cases within Marion County.

During Tuesday’s Marion County Board of County Commissioners meeting, Lander discussed COVID-19 cases within the county during the week of October 22 to October 29.

In total, there were 230 COVID-19 cases during the week, which is the lowest number since the beginning of July.

The positivity rate fell below 5% for the second consecutive week. For comparison, in the middle of August, the positivity rate was six times higher at 30%.

The county is averaging around 30 cases a day, and there are approximately 62 cases per every 100,000 people. These numbers continue to decease, moving further away from the spike of cases in mid-August.

Community testing is still available at the First Baptist Church of Ocala (2801 SE Maricamp Road). The site is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is currently no testing on Saturdays.

Anyone wanting to schedule a COVID-19 test is encouraged to visit the CovidTestFL website or call 866-826-8430.

Lander stated that COVID-19 trends will continue to be monitored, and the First Baptist Church will be able to increase hours for testing if there is ever a need for it. Testing will be available at the church until March 2022.

There were 4,900 COVID-19 tests during the week of October 22 to October 29. This is a 14% decrease from the previous week.

Lander pointed out that 211,161 county residents have currently been vaccinated. Age 12+: 65.7% are vaccinated (58.7% fully)

Age 18+: 67.7% are vaccinated (60.6% fully)

Age 65+: 86.1% are vaccinated (79.5% fully)

The Florida Department of Health is offering appointments for vaccines (walk-ins are also available). First dose, second dose, third dose, and booster shots are available Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.To schedule a vaccine appointment, visit the Florida Department of Health website or call 352-644-2590.Lander stated that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected to be available soon for children between the ages of 5-11. Discussions are already being made with pediatricians to ensure that offices are stocked with the vaccines to accommodate those children once approval is received.Lander discussed vaccine recommendations for a third shot (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech). Individuals with moderately to severely compromised immune systems might not build the same level of immunity to the two-dose series of vaccines. The third dose is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to the vaccine. The third dose is administered at least 28 days after second dose. Anyone seeking a third dose should first consult with their physician. Lander stated that any vaccine may be used as a booster, and that mixing vaccines is okay. While the Food and Drug Administration allows mixing, he stated that it is still recommended to consult with a physician prior to mixing the vaccines.For Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, a booster is recommended: 6 months after the second shot For anyone 65 years and older For anyone age 18+ who lives in […]

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