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As Marion County COVID-19 cases climb, health official says ‘we can control how high this goes’

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Marion County is seeing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases already this month.

The county added 183 new cases on Thursday with a test positivity rate of 13 percent. And five more deaths were recorded.

Marion County Health Department Administrator Mark Lander regularly updates the County Commission on the COVID-19 pandemic. Image: Marion County video

County Health Department Administrator Mark Lander says the community was already seeing an increase in cases before Thanksgiving.

“In the past when we started getting spikes, you were usually seeing huge facility outbreaks,” he says. But this “seems to be a little more widespread throughout our community.”

The uptick in cases could be tied to family gatherings and college students coming home for the holiday. Lander hopes this won’t be like the summer surge, when residents were unprepared.

“Now that we’re seeing those numbers, it’s a lot easier to get that message out that we can control how high this goes based on good mitigation practices..”

He also noted an increase in nursing home cases. About 83 percent of the 389 lost to the virus in Marion County have been 65 or older.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.