Retiree-loaded Sumter County continues to lag in tri-county COVID-19 testing

Sumter County continues to lag far behind the remainder of the tri-county area in testing for the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus.

In fact, just 12.3 percent of those tests have been conducted in the county that holds the majority of Villages homes and residents who are among the age group most susceptible to the virus. In contrast, 49 percent of the 34,745 tri-county residents who have been tested are in Lake County and 38.6 percent are in Marion County.

Another potentially alarming statistic provided by the Florida Department of Health is that six percent of those tested in Sumter County were found to have the COVID-19 virus. In the Lake and Marion counties where considerably more residents were tested, just two percent in each were identified with the virus.

As of Monday, the testing breakdown by county was as follows:

  • Sumter (4,269 tested, 4,011 negative, five inconclusive and 23 awaiting testing);
  • Lake (17,052 tested, 16,738 negative, 10 inconclusive and nine awaiting testing); and
  • Marion (13,424 tested, 13,172 negative, two inconclusive and 306 awaiting testing).

UF Health claims to have offered testing to 3,955 people when it recently had a site set up at The Villages Polo Fields, divided among 1,855 people with symptoms and 2,100 asymptomatic residents. Testing times at that site in March and April were difficult for Villages residents to book and created mass frustration among many, including resident Carol Lynch, whose daughter said she desperately tried to get a test before succumbing to the Coronavirus. It’s also unclear if any of those numbers touted by the out-of-town healthcare provider are included in the daily reported released by the Florida Department of Health.

Sumter County’s 253 cases are divided among 180 men, 72 women and one non-resident. There have been 17 deaths and 44 people have been hospitalized.

Of the Sumter County cases, 62 are in The Villages and 121 are in Bushnell, with all of those apparently being at the Sumter Correctional Institution (105 inmates and 16 staff members). Other cases have been identified in Lake Panasoffkee (22), Oxford (16), Wildwood (9), Webster (8), Lady Lake portion of the county (6), Sumterville (5) and Coleman (3). The federal prison in Coleman also has identified seven cases among three inmates and four staff members.

Lake County is reporting 304 COVID-19 cases, an increase of three since Sunday. Those are divided among 137 men, 153 women and 14 non-residents. There have been 15 deaths and 77 people have required some form of hospital care.

Nine of the Lake County cases are in The Villages and 17 are in Lady Lake. Others have been identified in Clermont (95), Leesburg (47), Eustis (27), Tavares (20), Groveland (17), Mount Dora (17), Mascotte (12), Minneola (6), Fruitland Park (5), Sorrento (4), Montverde (4), Howey-in-the-Hills (3), Altoona (2), Okahumpka (1), Umatilla (1), Grand Island (1), Paisley (1) and Yalaha (1).

Marion County is reporting 250 cases, an increase of just two in a 24-hour period. Those are comprised of 107 men, 137 women and six non-residents. There have been seven deaths and 35 people have been treated at area hospitals.

The overwhelming majority of Marion County cases – 177 – have been reported in Ocala, with another 27 in Summerfield and at least one in The Villages portion of the county. Others have been reported in Dunnellon (11), Citra (10), Belleview (8), Ocklawaha (4), Anthony (3), Reddick (2) and Silver Springs (1).

All told, Florida is reporting 56,830 COVID-19 cases – an increase of 667 in a 24-hour period. Of those, 55,415 are residents. There have been 2,460 deaths and 10,231 people have been hospitalized across the Sunshine State.

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