On the day when Florida clamped down on COVID-19 “vaccine tourism,” the tri-county area reported 24 more deaths connected to the fast-spreading virus.
The state issued new guidelines Thursday in an attempt to keep visitors to the Sunshine State from getting vaccines instead of full-time residents and snowbirds. State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees signed a Public Health Advisory that clearly prioritizes Floridians for the vaccines. That action follows statements by Gov. Ron DeSantis making it clear that the doses should be reserved for Florida residents, not “tourists” or “foreigners.”
“We want to put seniors first, but we obviously want to put people that live here first in line,” DeSantis said during a recent press conference.
Meanwhile, 15 of the latest local fatalities were residents of Lake County, while seven lived in Sumter County and two called Marion County home. They are among the 1,121 tri-county area deaths, the 25,128 in Florida and the 408,877 across the country.
Locally, 103 new COVID-19 cases were reported Thursday in and around The Villages. Those include:
- The Villages (Sumter, Lake and Marion counties) up 28 for a total of 3,175;
- Leesburg up 29 for a total of 3,202;
- Lady Lake up 14 for a total of 1,173;
- Belleview up 13 for a total of 954;
- Fruitland Park up 9 for a total of 536;
- Summerfield up 8 for a total of 1,408;
- Wildwood up 1 for a total of 800; and
- Lady Lake portion of Sumter County up 1 for a total of 96.
Below is a breakdown of other COVID-19 activity in the local area:
- Cases: 49,580 – increase of 486
- Deaths: 1,121
- Hospitalizations: 3,020
- Cases: 6,605 – increase of 52
- Deaths: 170
- Hospitalizations: 433
- Areas/cities with most cases: The Villages (2,981), Coleman (811), Wildwood (800), Bushnell (719) and Oxford (383).
- Cases: 20,128 – increase of 231
- Deaths: 393
- Hospitalizations: 1,102
- Cities with most cases: Clermont (5,240), Leesburg (3,202), Eustis (1,791), Mount Dora (1,539) and Tavares (1,470). The Villages also is reporting 132 cases.
- Cases: 22,847 – increase of 203
- Deaths: 558
- Hospitalizations: 1,485
- Cities with most cases: Ocala (16,795), Summerfield (1,408), Dunnellon (1,003), Belleview (954) and Silver Springs (401). The Villages also is reporting 62 cases.
All told, Florida is reporting 1,613,884 cases – an increase of 12,873 from Wednesday to Thursday. Of those, 1,584,442 are residents. A total of 72,913 cases have been reported in long-term care centers and 24,739 in correctional facilities. Across the state, there have been 25,128 deaths and 69,282 people have been hospitalized.