COVID-19 has claimed the life of a local Florida Highway Patrol officer as the death toll from the pandemic continues to climb in the Sunshine State.
FHP announced on Saturday night the death of Compliance Investigator Ernest “Ernie” Brown, who served 30 years with the state law enforcement agency. He was serving in Troop I in Marion County at the time of his death. Prior to joining FHP, Brown began his law enforcement career with the Bushnell Police Department and was a member of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.
For the most recent week, the number of new COVID deaths in Florida was 389, up by 43 deaths from the previous week. There have been 43,979 COVID-19 deaths in Florida since the pandemic began.
Sumter County is reporting 87 hospitalizations per 100,000 people for the past week. That’s an increase of 47 percent over the previous two weeks.
Sumter County has benefitted from the state’s highest vaccination rate of 71 percent of its residents. Earlier this month a chaplain at UF Health-The Villages Hospital warned that the COVID-19 admissions have been unvaccinated people.
Sumter County has recorded nearly 300 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Earlier this month, Sumter County Detention Deputy Michael Taylor died of complications from COVID-19. He left a wife and four young children.
Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis visited The Villages to announce the opening of a monoclonal antibody treatment site at the Barnstorm Theater in The Villages.