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Friday, May 24, 2024

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.

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.

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.

Locally, Lake County is reporting 29,736 COVID-19 cases – an overnight increase of 75. There have been 638 deaths and 1,538 people have been hospitalized. A total of 168,642 people have been vaccinated, with 134,926 receiving both doses.

Leesburg is now reporting 4,457 cases – an overnight increase of 11. Others have been identified in Clermont (7,970), Eustis (2,607), Mount Dora (2,166), Groveland (2,047), Tavares (2,043), Lady Lake (1,712), Minneola (920), Sorrento (861), Fruitland Park (844), Umatilla (766), Mascotte (612), Grand Island (371), Montverde (363), Astatula (223), Howey-in-the-Hills (223), Altoona (202), The Villages (186), Paisley (164), Astor (112), Yalaha (83), Okahumpka (57), Mount Plymouth (13) and Ferndale (9).

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).

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).

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