DeSantis drops COVID-19 vaccination age to 50 as two more local residents die

On the day when Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the eligibility age for COVID-19 vaccines will drop to 50 on Monday, two more local residents lost their battle with the virus and Florida reported an increase of more than 5,000 cases.

The latest local fatalities were both residents of Marion County. They are among the 1,739 tri-county area residents who have died of COVID-19, the 33,273 across Florida and the 540,430 across the country, according to statistics provided by the Florida Department of Health and Johns Hopkins University.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday during a press conference in Tallahassee that the eligibility age for COVID-19 vaccinations would drop to 50 on Monday.

DeSantis on Friday announced that with nearly two-thirds of Florida’s seniors vaccinated against the Coronavirus, he was signing an executive order to drop the eligibility age for the second time this month.

The governor also said during a press conference in Tallahassee that vaccinations could be opened up to all Floridians by May 1 or earlier. President Joe Biden, in his first primetime address earlier this month, directed all states, tribes and territories to make all American adults eligible for the vaccine by May 1, with the goal of small get-togethers among families and friends being a possibility by the Fourth of July.

All told, Florida is reporting 1,999,257 COVID-19 cases – an increase of 5,140 from Thursday to Friday. Of those, 1,962,360 are residents. A total of 82,358 COVID-19 cases have been reported in long-term care centers and 31,391 in correctional facilities. Across the state, there have been 33,273 deaths and 83,189 people have been hospitalized.

Locally, 44 new COVID-19 cases were reported Friday in and around The Villages. Those include:

  • The Villages (Sumter, Lake and Marion counties) up 13 for a total of 4,385;
  • Leesburg up 11 for a total of 3,969;
  • Oxford up 5 for a total of 484;
  • Lady Lake up 4 for a total of 1,571;
  • Fruitland Park up 4 for a total of 720;
  • Wildwood up 3 for a total of 984;
  • Summerfield up 3 for a total of 1,778; and
  • Belleview up 1 for a total of 1,237.

Below is a breakdown of other COVID-19 activity in the local area:

TRI-COUNTY AREA

  • Cases: 62,931 – increase of 145
  • Deaths: 1,739
  • Hospitalizations: 3,809

SUMTER COUNTY

  • Cases: 8,472 – increase of 30
  • Deaths: 242
  • Hospitalizations: 535
  • Vaccinations: 50,993 (32,675 both doses)
  • Areas/cities with most cases: The Villages (4,029), Wildwood (984), Bushnell (894), Coleman (839) and Oxford (484).

LAKE COUNTY

  • Cases: 25,895 – increase of 64
  • Deaths: 593
  • Hospitalizations: 1,374
  • Vaccinations: 95,546 (57,847 both doses)
  • Cities with most cases: Clermont (6,801), Leesburg (3,969), Eustis (2,277), Mount Dora (1,941) and Tavares (1,858). The Villages also is reporting 175 cases.

MARION COUNTY

  • Cases: 28,564 – increase of 51
  • Deaths: 904
  • Hospitalizations: 1,900
  • Vaccinations: 76,889 (44,269 both doses)
  • Cities with most cases: Ocala (20,948), Summerfield (1,778), Dunnellon (1,303), Belleview (1,237) and Silver Springs (606). The Villages also is reporting 181 cases.

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