On the day when a classroom of COVID-19-exposed students at The Villages Charter School were sent home to quarantine and Florida fared poorly in a study on virus safety, 21 more local residents lost their battle with the deadly illness.
Twelve of the local fatalities were in Marion County, while seven lived in Lake County and two resided in Sumter County. They are among the 1,644 tri-county area deaths, the 31,955 in Florida and the 519,316 across the country.
Parents of charter school students who were exposed to COVID-19 were called and emailed Thursday and told that their children needed to be picked up from school immediately. They were told that their children would need to quarantine through March 14 because they had been potentially exposed to someone in the classroom or school that tested positive for the Coronavirus. They also were told that their children could return to the school on March 22 – following spring break – assuming they were symptom-free.
The emails says that getting tested for COVID-19 is a “family decision” but it won’t shorten the quarantine period. It adds that the classroom involved is moving to online learning and the teacher will provide an assignment schedule.
Meanwhile, a study released Thursday showed that Florida ranked 44th out of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. when it comes to staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, which was conducted by the personal finance website WalletHub, took into account the vaccination rate, testing rate, hospitalization rate, death rate and transmission rate of the virus.
Texas, New Jersey, Delaware, the District of Columbia, New York, Georgia and Virginia ranked worse than Florida. The states that fared the best were Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, New Mexico and South Dakota.
Locally, 38 new COVID-19 cases were reported Thursday in and around The Villages. Those include:
- The Villages (Sumter, Lake and Marion counties) up 10 for a total of 4,206;
- Leesburg up 14 for a total of 3,857;
- Belleview up 4 for a total of 1,201;
- Wildwood up 3 for a total of 952;
- Fruitland Park up 3 for a total of 679;
- Summerfield up 2 for a total of 1,744;
- Oxford up 1 for a total of 461; and
- Lady Lake portion of Sumter County up 1 for a total of 128.
Below is a breakdown of other COVID-19 activity in the local area:
- Cases: 60,932 – increase of 177
- Deaths: 1,644
- Hospitalizations: 3,586
- Cases: 8,125 – increase of 30
- Deaths: 243
- Hospitalizations: 510
- Areas/cities with most cases: The Villages (3,856), Wildwood (952), Bushnell (859), Coleman (829) and Oxford (461).
- Cases: 24,928 – increase of 87
- Deaths: 574
- Hospitalizations: 1,302
- Cities with most cases: Clermont (6,524), Leesburg (3,857), Eustis (2,213), Mount Dora (1,880) and Tavares (1,812). The Villages also is reporting 169 cases.
- Cases: 27,879 – increase of 60
- Deaths: 827
- Hospitalizations: 1,774
- Cities with most cases: Ocala (20,485), Summerfield (1,744), Dunnellon (1,261), Belleview (1,201) and Silver Springs (583). The Villages also is reporting 181 cases.
All told, Florida is reporting 1,930,232 cases – an increase of 6,118 from Wednesday to Thursday. Of those, 1,894,722 are residents. A total of 81,379 COVID-19 cases have been reported in long-term care centers and 31,044 in correctional facilities. Across the state, 80,338 people have been hospitalized.