83.8 F
The Villages
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
83.8 F
The Villages

Top Story

Frustrated Villagers want answers about COVID-19 testing site at the polo fields

Consternation boiled over this week as exasperated Villagers sought answers about the UF Health Coronavirus drive-through testing site at the polo fields.

Letters

Bicyclists should stay to the right

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Fenney resident offers his ideas on bicyclists and safety.

I didn’t bargain for loss of community feel in The Villages

A Village of Belvedere defends points made - and roundly criticized - in a Letter to the Editor earlier this week.

Around Florida

DeSantis vows fixes to online system overwhelmed by unemployment claims

Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced plans to rapidly repair the online system Floridians are using to file for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 crisis.

Obituaries

Richard B. Dodge

As the City of St. Petersburg (FL) administrator, Rick Dodge led the efforts to attract the Salvador Dali Museum, a major league baseball park, and win an expansion franchise, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Health

Singer-songwriter David Olney died onstage of heart attack

The death of singer-songwriter David Olney, who suffered a heart attack and died while performing onstage, reminds us of the value of knowing CPR. Dr. Gabe Mirkin offers his thoughts.

Business

Wal-Mart limiting number of customers inside stores amid COVID-19 outbreak

A major chain store with locations in and around The Villages has made a sweeping change that will impact customers amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

Community leaders in The Villages deserve praise for quickly tackling COVID-19

We applaud District Manager Richard Baier, his staff members, local government officials, the powers-that-be at The Villages, highly responsible local businesspeople and a host of others who have done the right thing by canceling public events and gatherings and taking safety precautions as our country collectively tries to battle the Coronavirus.

Early on, the District jumped on COVID-19 – more than 145,600 people worldwide and 50 in Florida have been stricken by the pandemic disease that currently has no cure – and formed an internal team focused on all facets of the disease. Under Baier’s strong leadership – he has a history of tackling projects and issues head-on – they adopted a proactive strategy, from dispensing extra cleaning solution to employees to getting timely information to residents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Sumter County Health Department and the state.

Elena Buell cleans a railing Friday afternoon at City Fire in Lake Sumter Landing. The staff at the popular eatery and its sister restaurant in Brownwood are adhering to strict cleaning schedules every day as fears of the Coronavirus spread through The Villages.

Baier and company also took the lead in shutting down a host of District government meetings through next Friday, the Spring Craft Show at Lake Miona, SeaBreeze and Eisenhower Regional Recreation Centers, and a Community Development District orientation session. Those decisions weren’t made lightly, they didn’t happen overnight, and they took a great deal of behind-the-scenes conversations to determine the right thing to do, largely because we don’t know a great deal about COVID-19 with the exception that those in poor health and senior citizens – about 135,000 folks here meet that criteria – are among the most at risk of suffering serious illness or death from the disease.

Luckily for Villagers, Gov. Ron DeSantis – he declared a public health emergency after two people tested “presumptively positive” for the disease and predicted others would come down with it – his staff, the Florida Department of Health and our three local health departments have been extremely proactive in dealing with the Coronavirus. Area residents are receiving a barrage of information about the disease, including daily updates on the number of cases in Florida and ways to protect themselves against becoming infected.

The Sumter County Health Department quickly advised Villagers and other seniors to practice “social distancing.” That’s because COVID-19 can spread between people who are in close contact through respiratory droplets – liquid released when someone sneezes, coughs or talks – that infect people via the eyes, nose or mouth. They can land directly on someone or be transferred onto their body by people touching their face with contaminated hands.

Fortunately, many others in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown also have taken proactive approaches to COVID-19. They include:

Village of Springdale resident Diane Ealence uses the free hand sanitizer at City Fire in Lake Sumter Landing on Friday afternoon.

Not surprisingly, Villagers and area residents are constantly seeking information about how to avoid contracting the Coronavirus. Health officials say the best practice is to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – frequently. They also recommend using sanitizer products containing a minimum of 60 percent alcohol on your hands and surfaces that may have been exposed to respiratory droplets from infected people.

Villages resident Dr. Gabe Mirkin, a regular Villages-News.com health columnist, also suggests residents:

  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    Sick people should stay at home (e.g., from work or school).
  • Coughs and sneezes should be covered with a tissue, followed by disposal of the tissue.
    Frequently touched objects and surfaces should be cleaned regularly with an alcohol-based disinfectant.

There’s no question that we’re living in a scary time. People are frightened of the unknown, lives are being disrupted and major sporting events and other gatherings are being canceled at an alarming rate. But all of those steps clearly are necessary if our country hopes to get COVID-19 under control before it wreaks complete havoc and claims thousands of American lives.

City Fire owner Gina Buell cleans the door handles to her Lake Sumter Landing restaurant on Friday afternoon.

Currently, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in The Villages. We fully believe that’s because Baier, government leaders, staff members, local businesspeople and a bunch of concerned residents have done the right thing and taken this disease seriously.

That said, please take every precaution possible and take care of each other. It’s only a matter of time before a vaccine and cure is found for COVID-19. But until that day arrives, we all have a responsibility to take this disease very seriously and do whatever it takes to protect ourselves and our loved ones from it.

LIVE: Coronavirus Updates

Latest Posts

Bicyclists should stay to the right

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Fenney resident offers his ideas on bicyclists and safety.

I didn’t bargain for loss of community feel in The Villages

A Village of Belvedere defends points made - and roundly criticized - in a Letter to the Editor earlier this week.

Joe Diffie and many other musicians have died from COVID-19

Dr. Gabe Mirkin looks at the death of country performer Joe Diffie from COVID-19 and attempts to determine if musicians are somehow more at risk of the Coronavirus.

Richard B. Dodge

As the City of St. Petersburg (FL) administrator, Rick Dodge led the efforts to attract the Salvador Dali Museum, a major league baseball park, and win an expansion franchise, the Tampa Bay Rays.

More Headlines

Fenney food truck to re-open weeks after numerous violations

A food truck is returning to serve residents of the Village of Fenney after an inspection last month turned up several health code violations.

No tee times after 4 p.m. at any golf course in The Villages

Starting Wednesday, April 8, all Championship and Executive Golf Courses will close at 4 p.m. following the last tee time.

Photos

Opinions

Joe Diffie and many other musicians have died from COVID-19

Dr. Gabe Mirkin looks at the death of country performer Joe Diffie from COVID-19 and attempts to determine if musicians are somehow more at risk of the Coronavirus.

Crime

Wildwood police seeking help in locating stolen older-model Chevy pickup

Wildwood police officers are searching for a pickup truck that was stolen in the city recently.

Belleview man popped on multiple drug charges after ramming deputy’s patrol vehicle

A Belleview man was arrested Monday night after fleeing from Marion County sheriff’s deputies and then ramming into a patrol vehicle.