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The Villages
Saturday, June 12, 2021

7 more local COVID-19 deaths as cruise ship chief threatens to leave Florida

Frank Del Rio
Frank Del Rio

On the day when seven more local residents lost their battle with COVID-19 and Florida reported 89 additional deaths and more than 4,100 new cases, the head of a major cruise ship operator threatened to pull its operations out of Florida.

Four of the latest local fatalities were in Lake County, with two in Sumter County and one in Marion County. They are among the 1,880 deaths in the tri-county area, the 36,346 in Florida and the 580,776 across the country, statistics provided by the Florida Department of Health and Johns Hopkins University show.

Frank Del Rio, CEO of Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, threatened to keep its ships out of the Sunshine State because of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ legislation banning businesses from requiring customers to show proof they’ve received COVID-19 vaccines. Del Rio claimed the legislation goes against guidelines from federal health officials that would allow cruise ships to sail in U.S. waters if the majority of passengers and crew members have been vaccinated.

Del Rio, whose company owns Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, vowed to continue discussions with DeSantis. But he also made it clear that if his company can’t operate out of Florida, it can move its operations to other states or the Caribbean.

Norwegian cruise ship
Frank Del Rio, CEO of Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, has threatened to keep his company’s ships out of Florida because of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ legislation banning businesses from requiring customers to show proof they’ve received COVID-19 vaccines.

All told, Florida is reporting 2,262,598 COVID-19 cases – an increase of 4,165 from Thursday to Friday. Of those, 2,220,240 are residents. A total of 85,097 COVID-19 cases have been reported in long-term care centers and 32,509 in correctional facilities. Across the state, 91,848 people have been hospitalized.

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

  • Leesburg up 11 for a total of 4,457;
  • Wildwood up 2 for a total of 1,092;
  • Fruitland Park up 2 for a total of 844;
  • Belleview up 2 for a total of 1,372;
  • Lady Lake up 1 for a total of 1,712; and
  • Summerfield up 1 for a total of 1,928.

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

TRI-COUNTY AREA

  • Cases: 70,258 – increase of 155
  • Deaths: 1,880
  • Hospitalizations: 4,290

SUMTER COUNTY

  • Cases: 9,341 – increase of 10
  • Deaths: 277
  • Hospitalizations: 579
  • Vaccinations: 83,856 (72,095 both doses)
  • Areas/cities with most cases: The Villages (4,263), Wildwood (1,092), Bushnell (1,040), Coleman (853) and Oxford (541).

LAKE COUNTY

  • Cases: 29,736 – increase of 75
  • Deaths: 638
  • Hospitalizations: 1,538
  • Vaccinations: 168,642 (134,926 both doses)
  • Cities with most cases: Clermont (7,970), Leesburg (4,457), Eustis (2,607), Mount Dora (2,166) and Groveland (2,047). The Villages also is reporting 186 cases.

MARION COUNTY

  • Cases: 31,181 – increase of 70
  • Deaths: 965
  • Hospitalizations: 2,173
  • Vaccinations: 136,315 (107,486 both doses)
  • Cities with most cases: Ocala (22,802), Summerfield (1,928), Dunnellon (1,449), Belleview (1,372) and Silver Springs (686). The Villages also is reporting 183 cases.

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