On the day when tensions continued to rise between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the leaders of several Florida cities over COVID-19 precautions and mandates, the number of new cases across the state took a massive jump and eight more local residents succumbed to the virus.
Seven of the latest fatalities were residents of Lake County and the other one lived in Marion County. That brought the death toll in the tri-county area to 823.
With new cases of COVID-19 being reported at an alarming rate, some mayors and government leaders are pushing back against the governor’s continual drive to fully reopen Florida – the state has seen a 1,911 percent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases since DeSantis announced Phase Two of his reopening plan on June 3.
Some cities are challenging DeSantis by enacting local ordinances allowing for fines against those who fail to comply with face-covering and social distancing mandates. And many are continuing to loudly question why the governor won’t issue a statewide mask mandate.
Accusations also are continuing to mount that DeSantis put politics over health in the weeks leading up the presidential election by downplaying COVID-19 statistics in an effort to help President Trump’s re-election campaign. Health departments across the state basically went quiet in providing COVID-19 updates, especially when it came the number of deaths being reported.
County health departments started reporting backlogged deaths after the election but DeSantis has vehemently denied being involved in any kind of manipulation of COVID-19 statistics. And even though he all but went silent after the election and stopped doing his almost daily press briefings, he released a Facebook video on Friday touting a “historic week” for the country because of the COVID-19 vaccine and vowed to “keep fighting” for Floridians.
Meanwhile, on Friday Florida reported 1,181,483 COVID-19 cases – an increase of 13,000 from Thursday to Friday. Of those, 1,161,953 are residents. A total of 61,024 cases have been reported in long-term care centers and 26,504 in correctional facilities. Across the state, there have been 20,690 deaths and 59,602 people have been hospitalized.
Locally, 155 new COVID-19 cases were reported Friday in and around The Villages. Those include:
- The Villages (Sumter, Lake and Marion counties) up 48 for a total of 1,783;
- Summerfield up 29 for a total of 832;
- Leesburg up 22 for a total of 2,086;
- Wildwood up 16 for a total of 602;
- Lady Lake up 16 for a total of 698;
- Belleview up 16 for a total of 623;
- Oxford up 5 for a total of 237;
- Fruitland Park up 2 for a total of 339; and
- Lady Lake portion of Sumter County up 1 for a total of 71.
Below is a breakdown of other COVID-19 activity in the local area:
- Cases: 33,117 – increase of 497
- Deaths: 823
- Hospitalizations: 2,553
- Cases: 4,313 – increase of 92
- Deaths: 109
- Hospitalizations: 364
- Areas/cities with most cases: The Villages (1,649), Coleman (728), Wildwood (602), Bushnell (496) and Oxford (237).
- Cases: 13,157 – increase of 191
- Deaths: 283
- Hospitalizations: 936
- Cities with most cases: Clermont (3,487), Leesburg (2,086), Eustis (1,077), Tavares (1,038) and Mount Dora (1,030). The Villages also is reporting 75 cases.
- Cases: 15,647 – increase of 214
- Deaths: 431
- Hospitalizations: 1,253
- Cities with most cases: Ocala (11,890), Summerfield (832), Dunnellon (648), Belleview (623) and Citra (273). The Villages also is reporting 59 cases.