I’ve been hearing from my newsletter readers on a daily basis with questions about the coronavirus impacts on life in The Villages.
Rather than answering each person individually I thought it might be best to create a page where you can find out all the latest news and updates as it relates to coronavirus in The Villages.
I’ll update this page as often as I can to get the information out to you.
Saturday, April 4, 2020
Sadly, coronavirus has claimed its first victim in The Villages.
Villager dies of Coronavirus after health rapidly declines (Villages-News)
Villages takes big steps to help small businesses (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday, April 3, 2020
Florida is now on a statewide stay at home order, but with some exceptions, most Villagers have been staying at home as much as possible anyway.
Recreation and sports courts, including pickleball and tennis, are now closed. Nature trails, walkways, cycling areas, golf courses and fishing ponds will remain open.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Drive thru testing starts back Wednesday at The Polo Fields. You can request an appointment here: https://ufhealthcovid.com/
These results show evidence of initial community spread; however, it does not appear to be widespread, at least so far. We are continuing to closely monitor the situation,” Michael Lauzardo, a doctor and deputy director of the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute, said in a prepared statement.Study shows evidence of rapid COVID-19 spread in the Villages (Orlando Weekly)
Monday, March 30, 2020
UFHealth has announced that drive-thru testing will begin again at The Polo Fields as soon as supplies are available.
38 Villagers test positive for Coronavirus (Villages-News)
The Villages has also been mentioned in some national publications over the last few days:
Coronavirus spreading in The Villages (Politico)
Saturday, March 28, 2020
According to The Villages Daily Sun Facebook page:
Results of the first three days of UFHealth drive-thru testing at the Polo Club found only eight positive virus cases among 420 people with symptoms who received FDA-approved clinical tests (1 in Lake County, one in Marion County and 6 in Sumter County). Results of the first two days of another 600 asymptomatic people who received tests through a research arm showed zero positive results – a critical finding to learning how the virus spreads. Results of the last few days of testing will be published as they become available, and officials hope to resume testing as supplies become available.Officials urge diligence amid promising results (The Villages Daily Sun)
Waterfront Inn shuts down at Lake Sumter Landing (Villages-News)
Friday, March 27, 2020
Villagers coming together in new ways during a time of uncertainty (The Villages Daily Sun)
24 Sumter County residents have tested positive for Coronavirus (Villages-News)
Coronavirus mutes happy hours in The Villages, but golf goes on (Orlando Sentinel)
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
As of 8pm last night, all recreation centers and dog parks in The Villages will be closed until further notice. For now, Parks, Fenney Putt & Play, outdoor exercise equipment and sports courts remain open.
Monday, March 23, 2020
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Monday appointment slots for drive-thru coronavirus testing at The Villages Polo Club went pretty quick but you can make an appointment for future dates here: http://UFHealthCovid.com
Ghosted: The Villages town squares empty out as coronavirus strikes close (Daily Commercial)
Saturday, March 21, 2020
From The Villages Daily Sun:
University of Florida Health is teaming up with The Villages Health and state health and emergency management officials to bring drive-thru virus testing to the region Monday.
The large-scale effort expects to test hundreds of people daily for the next five days at a site now in place at The Villages Polo Club.
Participants are asked to arrive by golf cart, but those in cars also will be tested.Read the full article here.
Friday, March 20, 2020
Today Gov. DeSantis ordered the closure of all bars and restaurants in Florida for on-site consumption.
Some restaurants have closed completely, but some remain open for to-go orders.
Gov. DeSantis cited The Villages as an example of responsible social distancing:
People out golfing, but wiping down carts, not shaking hands, not touching flagstick. Says it’s a more “sustainable model” of social distancing.
Governor: ‘Golf cart’ drive-thru coronavirus test site at The Villages possible (Channel 6 News Orlando)
Here’s a video update from The Villages District Manager:
Thursday, March 19, 2020
The Villages was mentioned in an article in the Miami Herald today:
DeSantis said the state was also working with the University of Florida to provide more testing in The Villages, the nation’s largest retirement community. He spoke with Gary Lester, vice president of The Villages, on Wednesday morning, according to DeSantis’ calendar.
“They’re playing golf, but they’re social distancing,” DeSantis said, referencing precautionary measures taken by Villages residents. “They’re taking their own cart.”Miami Herald
The Villages was also mentioned in an article in The New York Times:
In The Villages, a sanctum of sunshine, golf and afternoon happy hours, the first nearby case was reported on Tuesday in Lake County, though most of the retirement community is in neighboring Sumter County.
Catherine Hardy, 64, a Villages resident, said her weekly card game was canceled, though her husband was still golfing. Her friend Cindy Comer, 64, who returned home from Cincinnati last week, placed herself in isolation to protect her 87-year-old parents who live down the street.A Deadly Coronavirus Mix in Florida: An Aging Population and Lots of Young Visitors (The New York Times)
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
The first Sumter County resident has tested positive for COVID-19 at UF Health Leesburg Hospital. At the present time there are conflicting reports as to whether or not the person is a resident of The Villages.
Like the case of the first Lake County person to test positive, this case has also been deemed travel-related.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
A Lake County woman is confirmed as the first case of the coronavirus in the Lake-Marion-Sumter “Tri-County” area. The case is believed to be travel-related.
Also, Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced that all bars and nightclubs in Florida will close for 30 days beginning at 5 p.m. tonight. Restaurants will be limited to 50% capacity, with staggered seating.
Monday, March 16, 2020
Update posted on the District Government website at Noon today:
The safety of residents, guests, staff and visitors in The Villages community continues to be of utmost importance to the District. As the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Florida Department of Health and Governor DeSantis on the prevention of COVID-19 continues to update, the District is implementing the following facility and schedule changes that will take effect on Tuesday, March 17, 2020: Recreation Activities – the following changes will be in effect until March 31, 2020
- The operating hours of the Recreation Centers will be 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- All scheduled indoor activities in the recreation centers are cancelled.
- All Sports Pool activities other than Combo Swim are cancelled.
- All scheduled outdoor activities of 50 or more people are cancelled.
- The Enrichment Academy (TEA) courses scheduled between March 14th and March 31st are postponed and will be rescheduled. Participants will be notified by email of alternate course dates.
- The Irish American Parade scheduled for Tuesday, March 17th is cancelled.
- Outdoor Excursions and Lake Sumter Line Boat Tours are cancelled.
- Parks, Dog Parks, Fenney Putt & Play, Outdoor Exercise Equipment, Sports Courts & Swimming Pools remain open.
- All Fitness Clubs will be closed.
- The Southside Hot Tub will be closed.
- The Mark Twain Library will be closed.
District Board & Committee Meetings are cancelled for the month of March:
- Architectural Review Committee
- Amenity Authority Committee Budget Workshop
- Project Wide Advisory Committee Budget Workshop
- North Sumter County Utility Dependent District (NSCUDD)
- Sumter Landing Community Development District
- Brownwood Community Development District
- Village Community Development District No. 5
- Village Community Development District No. 6
- Village Community Development District No. 8
- Village Community Development District No. 9
- Village Community Development District No. 10
The following other District Meetings and Events are cancelled through March 31, 2020:
- NSCUDD Solid Waste Management Plan Special Workshop
- CDD Orientation
- Resident Academy
- The Villages Public Safety Department
- Smoke detector changes
- CPR classes
As additional information is received by the CDC and the Florida Department of Health, event cancellations and facilities closures will continually be reassessed.
Florida Senior Communities Try to Maintain Normalcy While Preparing for Coronavirus ( The Wall Street Journal)
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Here’s what I shared in my weekly email to readers:
Just when you think you’ve seen it all.
Readers have been writing in all week asking what’s going on right now in TheVillages?
My answer can be summed up in just one word: CANCELLED
Trisha Yearwood Show at The Sharon: Cancelled
Matches at The Villages Polo Club: Cancelled
St. Patrick’s Day Festival: Cancelled
All nightly entertainment on the Town Squares: Cancelled
Farmers Markets in Brownwood: Cancelled
Spanish Springs Car Cruise In: Cancelled
Something tells me that over the coming weeks and months we’re all going to be alittle less focused on what lawn ornaments in our neighbors yards might be againstthe deeds and restrictions, and a little more focused on what we can do to protect our health and that of those we love.
Here’s what I’m reading this week:
It seems like early in the week, some residents were kind of skeptical of the media reporting about the virus.
But by the end of the week, people were busy getting ready to hunker down:
Friday, March 13, 2020
Local hospital statement, provided Friday afternoon:
To date, to the best of our knowledge, no patients have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, at UF Health Leesburg Hospital, UF Health The Villages® Hospital or anywhere else in Lake or Sumter counties,” said Don Henderson, CEO of UF Health Central Florida. “Both hospitals have implemented extensive policies and procedures to counter the threat of COVID-19.
Here are links to a few articles and websites I’ve found useful.
Florida Department of Health Coronavirus Dashboard – Track the number of cases by county