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The Villages
Sunday, April 18, 2021

DeSantis at odds with government leaders as COVID-19 cases rise rapidly

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.

Some city and government leaders are challenging Gov. Ron 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.

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:

TRI-COUNTY AREA

  • Cases: 33,117 – increase of 497
  • Deaths: 823
  • Hospitalizations: 2,553

SUMTER COUNTY

  • 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).

LAKE COUNTY

  • 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.

MARION COUNTY

  • 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.

Restaurants in The Villages desperate due to staffing shortages

Restaurants in The Villages and across Florida are trimming their hours and offering drive-through only as they face an historic labor shortage.

Villagers’ daughter to appear on Food Network with Martha Stewart

A mother and father in The Villages are filled with pride as their daughter has been selected to appear with Martha Stewart on a Food Network cooking competition show. Villages-News.com's David Towns has the story.

Trendy coffee shop coming to Magnolia Plaza in The Villages

Foxtail Coffee Co. has reportedly signed a lease for a location at Magnolia Plaza at The Villages.

Restaurants in The Villages desperate due to staffing shortages

Restaurants in The Villages and across Florida are trimming their hours and offering drive-through only as they face an historic labor shortage.

Villagers’ daughter to appear on Food Network with Martha Stewart

A mother and father in The Villages are filled with pride as their daughter has been selected to appear with Martha Stewart on a Food Network cooking competition show. Villages-News.com's David Towns has the story.

Trendy coffee shop coming to Magnolia Plaza in The Villages

Foxtail Coffee Co. has reportedly signed a lease for a location at Magnolia Plaza at The Villages.

Ohio teen apprehended after chase on I-75 through Sumter and Marion counties

An Ohio teenager was apprehended after leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase Friday afternoon on Interstate 75 through Sumter and Marion counties.

3 more local residents die of COVID-19 as Florida reports 74 more fatalities

Florida added more than 6,300 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday as 74 more people succumbed to the virus across the Sunshine State.

Villager takes wild ancestry journey to find his father and half-siblings

It took more than 70 years for Villager Larry Moran to find out who his father was and learn that he had half-siblings. He met those siblings last week for the first time in a “family reunion.”

Lake Deaton debacle

A Village of Virginia Trace resident, in a Letter to the Editor, contends that Village of Lake Deaton residents should have known more than they claim they knew about actions of a fraudulent contractor.

Too many apartments springing up in The Villages

A man who describes himself as a “future homeowner” in The Villages contends there are too many apartment buildings going up in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown. Read his Letter to the Editor.

Little pity for Villagers scammed by contractor

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of La Belle resident says he has little pity for the Villagers who claim they were scammed by a contractor who cut down trees in a protected wetland near their homes.