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Friday, January 15, 2021

COVID-19 still spreading at alarming rate as Florida gears up for vaccines

With Florida on the verge of vaccinating residents and employees of long-term care facilities and high-risk front-line healthcare workers, COVID-19 is showing no signs of slowing down across the tri-county area.

Two more local residents have died as a result of the virus – one in Sumter County and the other in Lake County – bringing the death toll in the tri-county area to 810. A total of 2,495 local residents also have been hospitalized.

Local officials are gearing up to start administering a vaccine manufactured by Pfizer in the coming days. That vaccine requires two shots administered 21 days apart and is 95 percent effective after the second dose, according to Mark Lander, administrator of the Department of Health in Marion County.

A second vaccine made by Moderna should soon begin arriving in the Sunshine State as well. It requires two shots 28 days apart and also is 95 percent effective after the second dose, Lander said.

Other vaccines made by AstraZeneca, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson also are expected to be available soon. Landers said there is great excitement connected to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because it only requires one dose.

Locally, Lake County is reporting 12,571 cases – increase of 136 in a 24-hour period. There have been 275 deaths and 913 people have been hospitalized.

Leesburg is reporting 1,995 cases – an increase of 17 in a 24-hour period. Others have been identified in Clermont (3,338), Eustis (1,030), Tavares (1,005), Mount Dora (976), Groveland (883), Lady Lake (649), Minneola (338), Sorrento (333), Fruitland Park (314), Mascotte (292), Umatilla (275), Montverde (174), Grand Island (138), Howey-in-the-Hills (97), Astatula (91), The Villages (76), Altoona (64), Astor (57), Paisley (55), Yalaha (36), Okahumpka (21), Ferndale (8) and Mount Plymouth (6).

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


  • Cases: 31,716 – increase of 306
  • Deaths: 107
  • Hospitalizations: 355


  • Cases: 4,067 – increase of 30
  • Deaths: 107
  • Hospitalizations: 355
  • Areas/cities with most cases: The Villages (1,502), Coleman (728), Wildwood (576), Bushnell (478) and Oxford (215).


  • Cases: 15,078 – increase of 140
  • Deaths: 428
  • Hospitalizations: 1,227
  • Cities with most cases: Ocala (11,508), Summerfield (765), Dunnellon (617), Belleview (592) and Citra (265).

All told, Florida is reporting 1,143,794 cases – an increase of 9,411 from Monday to Tuesday. Of those, 1,124,742 are residents. A total of 59,915 cases have been reported in long-term care centers and 26,331 in correctional facilities. Across the state, there have been 20,365 deaths and 58,612 people have been hospitalized.

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