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The Villages

Lake County shuts down COVID-19 vaccinations at college after running out of doses

More than 211,000 Floridians have been vaccinated against the deadly COVID-19 virus, but in Lake County those seeking to be inoculated will have to do so on a first come, first served basis.

The county staged a vaccination clinic at Lake-Sumter State College on Friday morning that quickly ran out of the needed doses and shut down around noon. The county originally took appointments for those much-heralded vaccines but is no longer doing so, according to a release from the health department.

The Department of Health in Lake County shut down its COVID-19 vaccination station at Lake-Sumter College early on Friday after running out of doses, according to law enforcement officials at the clinic.

Those with previously scheduled appointments can come to the college on Saturday or to the Clermont Arts and Recreation Center at 3700 S. Hwy. 27, according to the health department’s Twitter feed. The vaccination sites are scheduled to be open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. depending on availability.

“Our goal in this first phase, is to safely and quickly distribute every vaccine allocated to Lake County,” said Aaron Kissler, administrator for the Department of Health in Lake County. “We recognize that the first come, first served approach has its drawbacks but it best supports our primary goal of offering immunization to as many people as possible.”

Because of the rapid disbursement of vaccines, Lake County is expected to receive a shipment of the Pfizer vaccines next week. Lake County commissioners purchased an ultra-cold freezer in early December that will accommodate storage of that vaccine, which must be kept at -60 to -80 degrees.

So far, more than 40,000 Marion County residents have registered for COVID-19 vaccinations. Staff members at the health department were busy Friday calling those residents to schedule appointments for the coming week. Marion County residents wishing to sign up for vaccines can click HERE.

Drive-through COVID-19 testing also will take place over the next two weeks on a first come, first served basis at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion in Ocala. The free testing will be available from 10 a.m.-noon on Jan. 5 and 6, and again on Jan. 12 and 13.

No new information was available about Sumter County vaccinations on Friday. The health department in the county that contains the vast majority of Villages homes announced this past Wednesday that it had received 2,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine – not nearly enough to vaccinate its more than 130,000 residents. Sumter County residents can call (352) 569-3102 starting Monday, Jan. 4 to book an appointment.

Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Health didn’t issue its daily COVID-19 updates on Friday because of the New Year’s Day holiday. The reports will return on Saturday, Jan. 2, according to a tweet from the state’s department of health. The department also didn’t release reports on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

The lack of updated information comes on the day after Florida reported its biggest jump in the number of new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic first hit the state last spring. All told, the Sunshine State reported 1,323,315 COVID-19 cases on Thursday – an increase of 17,192 from the previous day. Of those, 1,300,528 were listed as residents. A total of 64,835 cases had been reported in long-term care centers and 27,337 in correctional facilities. Across the state, there had been 21,990 deaths and 62,868 people had been hospitalized.

On Thursday, the tri-county area reported 38,443 cases – an increase of 840 in a 24-hour period. There had been 878 deaths and 2,714 people had been treated in area hospitals.

The breakdown Thursday of local counties included:

SUMTER COUNTY

  • Cases: 5,085 – increase of 134
  • Deaths: 120
  • Hospitalizations: 378
  • Areas/cities with most cases: The Villages (2,128), Coleman (732), Wildwood (682), Bushnell (556) and Oxford (286).

LAKE COUNTY

  • Cases: 15,559 – increase of 358
  • Deaths: 295
  • Hospitalizations: 995
  • Cities with most cases: Clermont (4,140), Leesburg (2,483), Eustis (1,259), Mount Dora (1,202) and Tavares (1,169). The Villages was reporting 104 cases.

MARION COUNTY

  • Cases: 17,799 – increase of 348
  • Deaths: 463
  • Hospitalizations: 1,341
  • Cities with most cases: Ocala (13,340), Summerfield (1,026), Dunnellon (770), Belleview (708) and Silver Springs (304). The Villages was reporting 58 cases.

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