I've been documenting and compiling all the latest news and updates as it relates to coronavirus in The Villages since this saga began. I'll update this page as often as I can to get the information out to you.
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February 25, 2022
- Long COVID patients stuck with symptoms seek treatment clues (The Villages Daily Sun)
- COVID-19 in Lake, Sumter counties: Steady decline in new COVID infections continues (Daily Commercial)
January 27, 2022
January 21, 2022
- Omicron's Spread Pushes Sumter's Positivity Rate Higher (The Villages Daily Sun)
January 13, 2022
As of January 13, 2022, over the last 7-day period there have been 823 new cases, 50 hospitalizations, and 0 deaths from Covid-19 in Sumter County.
January 7, 2022
We were doing so good! Damn you Omicron!
- COVID testing lines start to grow (The Villages Daily Sun)
- Church in The Villages warns congregation after some contract COVID-19 after Christmas Eve services (WFTV)
October 9, 2021
Even though things seem to be getting better, I think this is a smart idea. This event tends to get pretty crowded:
- The Villages cancels annual Government Day due to COVID-19 (Villages-News)
September 21, 2021
“At UF Health Central Florida’s two hospitals, 66 patients were being treated for COVID-19 on Monday. That includes 30 at The Villages Hospital. Both numbers are down by about 60% since each peaked in mid-August.”
- Booster shots evolve in fight against virus (The Villages Daily Sun)
September 14, 2021
More (potentially) good news:
- Experts see signs Delta may have peaked (The Villages Daily Sun)
September 6, 2021
The recent uptick in coronavirus cases seems to be letting up:
- State records first significant drop in 10 weeks (The Villages Daily Sun)
September 4, 2021
While most events around The Villages continue full speed ahead, there are a couple of events getting the ax:
September 1, 2021
Sumter County still leads the way as far as vaccination rates go:
- COVID-19 vaccination rates in Florida: Which counties are the most and least vaccinated? (Fort Myers News-Press)
August 28, 2021
A monoclonal antibody treatment center opened inside the Barnstorm Theater at Brownwood Paddock Square this week:
- DeSantis touts Regeneron center in The Villages (Daily Commercial)
August 20, 2021
There’s more discouraging news this week on the local COVID-19 fight:
August 13, 2021
As is the case in most of the country, coronavirus cases are on the rise here:
- Cases climb as Delta spreads (The Villages Daily Sun)
Opinions on where we stand seem mixed though.
On one hand there are residents protesting the vaccine at Lake Sumter Landing:
- Villagers for Trump protest vaccine mandates at town square (Villages-News)
And on the other hand, there are residents wondering why nobody wants to wear a mask:
- Why Savannah Center? (Talk of The Villages)
August 6, 2021
July 23, 2021
Delta Variant fuels rise in hospitalizations (The Villages Daily Sun)
June 12, 2021
Friday, June 4, 2021
After this update, unless something crazy happens and we start sliding backwards, I'm going to start doing these coronavirus updates on an as needed basis only. It's been a crazy year (see below!) and I'm hoping that the future coronavirus updates are few and far between!
Curtain up: Amenities returning to normal (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday, May 28, 2021
Next week will be a big week! Golf, as well as indoor & outdoor recreation facilities return to normal operations on Tuesday, June 1. District Government offices return to normal operations as well, with walk-in visits welcome. (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday, May 21, 2021
The Villages is now up to 4,653 total positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic. If my math is correct, that's only about 21 fresh cases in a two week period.
Also, grocery stores are getting back to normal…
Friday, May 14, 2021
I didn't see any updated numbers come through Friday but I'll add them here as soon as I see them.
Lake, Sumter COVID vaccines surpass 256,000 (Daily Commercial)
Friday, May 7, 2021
This week The Villages again saw an increase of 21 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,632.
Friday, April 30, 2021
This week The Villages again saw an increase of 22 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,611.
Friday, April 23, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 22 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,589.
On the bright side though, Sumter County is leading the state in percentage of residents who have been vaccinated, beating most other counties in Florida by a country mile.
Friday, April 16, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 33 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,567.
COVID vaccinations in Lake, Sumter: Here's what you need to know (Daily Commercial)
Friday, April 9, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 35 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,534.
COVID vaccines in Lake, Sumter exceed 210,000; 1 new area death reported (Daily Commercial)
Friday, April 2, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 39 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,499.
Friday, March 26, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 75 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,460.
Starting Monday, anyone 40 or over in Florida can get the vaccine, and starting April 5, anyone over 18 can get it.
State opens vaccines to all adults April 5 (The Villages Daily Sun)
Let there be
How our community faced the pandemic (The Villages Daily Sun)
Recreation options get up and running (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday, March 19, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 78 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 4,385.
For anyone having a hard time finding a vaccine near The Villages, you might like to know that on Monday Orange County (Orlando Area) will begin allowing anyone over 40 to get vaccinated at the Orange County Convention Center. You can learn more and sign-up here.
Friday, March 12, 2021
One year after we started tracking the coronavirus' effects on The Villages, the community has seen 4,307 positive cases of the virus. That's an increase of 88 cases from last week.
Keep in mind, not everyone who wants the vaccine in The Villages can get it right now, as distribution is currently limited to those 65 and over. But that changes on Monday.
Florida’s vaccine age drops to 60 Monday. You can sign up now. (Tampa Bay Times)
Friday, March 5, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 101 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 4,219.
Friday, February 26, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 164 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 4,118.
That's quite a bit more than last week, but it sounds like vaccines are flowing pretty good now so hopefully that helps:
Friday, February 19, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 88 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 3,954.
I know we can't complain too much about our weather, considering what many others throughout the country are going through right now, but it sure is hampering our coronavirus vaccine efforts.
The first problem was rain, which turned the vaccination site at Buffalo Ridge Plaza we've been talking about the last few weeks into a mud pit.
This forced an emergency move of the site to The Villages High School, which apparently did not go smoothly.
Then it moved to the Wildwood Community Center, and things seemed to have improved.
But by Wednesday the site had been moved all the way to Lake-Sumter State College.
Global Medical Response sets up shop far outside The Villages (Villages-News)
Then, on top of that, the weather in other parts of the country is making it tough for vaccines to even get to Florida, so places like Publix have had to cancel many appointments this week.
Friday, February 12, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 127 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 3,866.
The vaccine seems to be flowing a little better, and Publix is now offering them in Lake and Sumter counties (previously was just Marion county).
Friday, February 5, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 181 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 3,739.
Governor DeSantis was back in The Villages this week (might have to start charging him the amenities fee soon!) with the promise that the shuttered vaccination site would reopen soon with an initial stockpile of 4,000 doses, and he said it would remain open as long as the flow of vaccines to Florida continued.
And just like that, the site reopened on Thursday:
Friday, January 29, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 209 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 3,558.
It still remains difficult (ok, nearly impossible) to get a vaccine, though some people that had reservations at the vaccination site touted by the Governor are now getting shots from the Sumter County Health Department:
I've read that some Villagers are traveling to other parts of the state to try to get the vaccine, including the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando (Talk of the Villages).
Some Publix stores in Florida are providing the vaccine (if you are one of the lucky ones to secure an appt. online) but none of the Lake or Sumter County Publix stores are doing this yet.
The Daily Commercial (out of Leesburg) has a guide to securing a shot for residents of Lake and Sumter:
COVID vaccinations in Lake, Sumter: Here's what you need to know (Daily Commercial)
Just this week, the state launched a new website where residents can supposedly pre-register for the vaccine, and be notified when it's their turn to go get it. It's far too early to say whether this site will accomplish what it is intended to do, but I don't see how it could hurt to put your name on the list if you qualify:
This week, The Villages Recreation and Parks Department announced that it would cancel a number of events and postpone others, including the February Camp Villages event, Lake Sumter Line Excursions, Recreation-sponsored February socials at recreation centers, February Resident Lifestyle Volunteer Group Showcases, the February Outdoor Expo, February outdoor concerts and movies and the Senior Games in April.
As of the time of this writing, the entertainment department has not made any adjustments to their schedule.
Friday, January 22, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 366 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 3,349.
The topic on everyone's mind is vaccines.
A week after Gov. DeSantis was in The Villages promoting a new vaccination site, the site is (currently) shut down.
This article offers a few answers, and suggests the shutdown might be temporary as they wait for the nationwide supply of vaccines to increase:
Florida Must Wait on U.S. Government for Vaccines (The Villages Daily Sun)
And the Governor chimes in on the shortage:
Friday, January 15, 2021
This week The Villages saw an increase of 266 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 2,983.
Governor DeSantis was in The Villages again this week at a new vaccination site that officials hope will be able to serve 800 to 1,000 people per day.
This week a few articles like this one from the Wall Street Journal talked about people from out of state and even out of the country coming to Florida to get vaccinated.
While in The Villages, Governor DeSantis sought to downplay those reports.
DeSantis says ‘we’re not doing any tourists’ at vaccine sites (Orlando Sentinel)
Friday, January 8, 2021
The Villages is now up to 2,717 total positive cases since this all began, an increase of 427 since last week.
Some residents have been able to get the vaccine, but many more are frustrated by how slow the roll-out has been.
Residents will have two more opportunities this week to get the vaccine.
Friday, January 1, 2021
Florida ended 2020 with a bang, reporting its highest single day of positive coronavirus cases…17,192…on Wednesday.
As of that day, The Villages stood at 2,290 positive cases since all of this began, a weekly increase of 277.
Florida did not report Thursday's cases on Friday because of the New Year's holiday.
Meanwhile, residents are frustrated by the clunky vaccine distribution process so far.
While they wait for the vaccine, experts are urging residents to be diligent.
Experts: Be diligent as COVID cases surge (The Villages Daily Sun)
Saturday, December 26, 2020
As of Christmas Eve, The Villages stood at 2,013 positive cases since everything began back in March.
This is a roughly 230 case increase week over week, but reporting seems a little delayed due to the Christmas holiday.
Covid-19 vaccinations have begun in Florida and The Villages.
Governor: Seniors go first on vaccines (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday, December 18, 2020
This week The Villages saw an increase of 219 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 1,783.
The director of the local health department is urging residents to protect themselves.
Friday, December 11, 2020
This week The Villages saw an increase of 205 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 1,564.
This week, Jeffrey Lowenkron, MD, the Chief Medical Officer of The Villages Health put out a statement on what they're seeing with the numbers of both infections, and hospitalizations right now. Here's an excerpt:
Hospitalization has been climbing with average daily totals moving from the 20s to 30s to 40s over the last three weeks and now at 50. Hospitalization peaked on July 21 with a total of 81 patients at the two hospitals. While it is true that the number of positive cases is related to more widespread testing, the increase in percentage testing positive indicates an actual increase in spread.
You can read the full statement on The VHA Facebook page.
Officials urge diligence to ease COVID-19 risk (The Villages Daily Sun)
One CDD Supervisor is urging residents to “do their research” on the coronavirus vaccine and stating that she does not plan to get it. The article does not mention if she is a doctor or has any medical training.
Friday, December 4, 2020
This week The Villages saw an increase of 140 positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 1,359.
As will be the case throughout most of the country, residents of long-term care facilities in and around The Villages will be among the first to receive the vaccine.
Friday, November 27, 2020
This week The Villages added 245 new positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this began to 1,219.
From what I've read, it sounds like the larger than normal increase is owed at least in part to a “data dump” from the Florida Department of Health, but it is nonetheless concerning.
We also learned this week that more than 20% of local cases can be attributed to either long-term care centers or correctional facilities.
Friday, November 20, 2020
This week The Villages added 67 new positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total since all of this started to 974.
We haven't seen numbers like this since July.
Leaders of The Villages Health say that they are prepared to ramp up testing as needed.
Pre-holiday testing plentiful in Villages (The Villages Daily Sun)
Five Florida hospitals have been named as the first in line to receive Covid-19 vaccine doses, and despite the governor's multiple coronavirus related news conferences from The Villages, and recent visits from both Vice President Pence and President Trump, UF Health The Villages isn't one of them.
This kind of surprised me, considering the priority supposedly being given to protecting the most vulnerable populations.
But maybe someone can snag a few doses from UF Health Jacksonville, which was one of the chosen hospitals.
While we wait for the vaccine, a new UF Health program in The Villages will test the use of blood thinners to reduce bad outcomes in COVID-19 patients, part of a study tied to Operation Warp Speed.
UF Program In The Villages Will Do Research Focused On Seniors Health (Health News Florida)
Friday, November 13, 2020
This week The Villages added 40 new positive coronavirus cases, bringing the grand total since all of this began to 907.
Despite the fact that new weekly positive cases are still relatively high, it sounds like capacity restrictions that have been in place for nightly entertainment at the town squares is going away soon:
Friday, November 6, 2020
This week The Villages added 42 new positive coronavirus cases, brining the total since all of this started to 867.
The Villages Health is offering rapid testing, but availability seems to be very limited.
When you visit The Villages Health's Covid-19 testing website you are greeted with this message:
As (sic) this time, scheduling for Rapid COVID-19 screening tests is not currently available.
Testing slots re-open each Sunday to Thursday morning at 8am at this web address for the scheduling of rapid tests the following day (i.e. testing opens Sunday at 8am for testing slots available on Monday).
Friday, October 30, 2020
This week The Villages added 46 new positive covid-19 cases, which brings the total since the beginning of all of this to 825.
Various services continue to reopen. This week, pools go back to 100% capacity.
Friday, October 23, 2020
This week The Villages added 28 new positive coronavirus cases, bringing the grand total since all of this began to 779.
The Villages Health began offering free COVID-19 rapid tests this week, and you do not have to be a TVH patient to get one.
You do, however, need to make an appointment. You can do that here.
Friday, October 16, 2020
This week The Villages added 47 new positive coronavirus cases, bringing the grand total since all of this began to 751.
The virus seems to be making the rounds at The Villages Charter School, and this week the school stopped reporting the number of cases there to the local school district.
While researching this week's update I realized it had been a little while since I'd seen anything about coronavirus from The Villages Health.
Their chief medical officer did give an update to the media earlier this month on the number of covid-19 related hospitalizations, but the most recent coronavirus update on their website is from mid-August.
Friday, October 9, 2020
This week The Villages added 42 new positive coronavirus cases, bringing the grand total since all of this began to 704.
Gov. DeSantis was in The Villages earlier this week to talk about a delivery of 400,000 coronavirus test kits Florida received recently.
Speaking about The Villages, the Governor said:
“The Villages has shown you have to have a sustainable approach to this,” DeSantis said. “You just can’t say that people can never leave their house. That is not viable, that causes a lot of problems as well.”Governor ushers in era of rapid test kits (The Villages Daily Sun)
The Villages is a popular place this week, and Vice President Pence will be in The Villages Saturday. But some people are wondering if fears of coronavirus will keep people from coming out.
(I kinda doubt it.)
Friday, October 2, 2020
This week The Villages added 44 new positive cases of coronavirus, bringing our total since this all began to 662.
It's can be difficult though to look at those numbers (which date to the beginning of all this) and get a fair sense of how we're doing right now.
The number of people currently being treated in local hospitals might be a better barometer.
Unless you just crawled out from under a rock, you probably know that President Trump was hospitalized Friday, October 2, positive with coronavirus.
Just one year ago (October 3, 2019) he was here in The Villages to give an address on Medicare at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center.
Friday, September 25, 2020
This week The Villages added 24 new positive cases of coronavirus, bringing the total since all of this began to 618.
On Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Florida would now move into Phase 3, lifting all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses.
Here's what that means:
Phase 3 in Florida: Here's what it means (Wesh2 News)
Now, just because the governor says its o.k. to open restaurants and bars at full capacity, it does not mean that everyone will all of a sudden do away with the precautions they've put in place.
Friday, September 18, 2020
20 new positive cases in The Villages this week puts us at 594 total positive cases since all of this began.
The pastor of a local church, his family all being survivors of Covid-19, have started a support group for those struggling with various aspects of the virus.
Couple begins local virus support group (The Villages Daily Sun)
And last week I mentioned bars in Florida were reopening. This week I'm hearing a rumor that the “bait shacks” (bars) in the town squares will reopen, and entertainment will start back on October 5.
A post I read said that town square restaurants, shops, and entertainers have been notified, but I've yet to verify that from a reputable source.
I'll keep my ears open and keep you posted though!
UPDATE: This rumor is now confirmed as TRUE!
The Villages’ social lifestyle comes back (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday, September 11, 2020
Just 14 new positive cases this week brings The Villages to a total of 574 positive coronavirus cases since this all began.
Also this week, it was announced that Florida bars can serve alcohol again starting Monday at 12:01 a.m.
Florida to reopen bars starting Monday after monthslong COVID-19 shutdown (Orlando Sentinel)
Friday, September 4, 2020
34 new positive cases of coronavirus this week brings us to 560 total since everything started back in March.
This week Florida Governor Ron DeSantis paid another visit to The Villages, in part to talk about what a great job the community has done.
He was joined by Dr. Scott Atlas, a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force, who said “The Villages is something, a huge success story. And it’s a model for other senior-frequented facilities.”
Friday, August 28, 2020
A week ago today we were at 494 positive cases, and today we sit at 526. That's similar to the amount of growth we saw the week prior, so if nothing else, we're staying steady.
Last week I mentioned that school was starting back. Unfortunately, one student has already tested positive for covid-19.
Villages High School student tests positive for COVID-19 virus (Villages-News)
Friday, August 21, 2020
Last week The Villages saw a rise in cases of around 15. This week we crept back up to about 30.
As seems to be the case throughout much of the country, long-term care facilities continue to be the hardest hit.
To date, 75 people have died at the local UF owned hospitals, though you can assume that not all of those who died were Villages residents.
Like most schools around the country, The Villages Charter School is back in session, though things look just a bit different than pre-covid-19.
First day of VCS’ very different school year (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday August 14, 2020
After several weeks of 50+ new positive cases of coronavirus in The Villages, this week we only saw around 15. There has been a similar decline around the state, though The Villages' drop in positive cases seems to be more pronounced.
Another bright spot in the fight is faster test results.
Faster test results help make decisions (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday, August 7, 2020
Like the rest of Florida, this week The Villages seemed to be trending down just a tad as far as the number of new positive coronavirus cases is concerned, ending the week at around the 450 positive cases mark. Long-term care facilities continue to be the hardest hit.
Friday, July 31, 2020
The Villages added just over 60 new cases this week, bringing the number of residents to have tested positive for Covid-19 since this all began to just over 400.
Friday, July 24, 2020
The Villages added about 50 new positive coronavirus cases this week, bringing the number of residents to have tested positive to 340.
The Villages was the focus of an article in The New York Times about the rise in coronavirus cases among retirees this week:
‘If It’s Here, It’s Here’: America’s Retirees Confront the Virus in Florida (The New York Times)
The Villages was also featured in an article in the LA Times this week:
While we learn to live with coronavirus, cleaning will be a top priority for keeping businesses open and minimizing the spread as much as possible. Here's how some local businesses are going about that.
Constant cleaning is good for business (The Villages Daily Sun)
That said, what a business does is only part of the equation. Customers have to be of the same mindset for it to work.
Villager troubled by lack of masks in Villages restaurant (Villages-News)
Friday, July 17, 2020
Villages-News is now reporting 290 positive coronavirus cases in The Villages.
A Dr. from the first office n The Villages to offer coronavirus testing is reminding everyone to “Be safe, wear a mask, be safe for your fellow man.”
It is possible though, to enjoy much of what The Villages offers while also staying safe.
Villages Residents Find Ways to Keep Things Socially Distanced (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday, July 10, 2020
Another record setting week for positive coronavirus tests in The Villages. According to Villages-News we are now up to almost 240 positive cases.
According to hospital officials, the number of patients being treated for the virus at UF The Villages Hospital and UF Health Leesburg Hospital is up 60% from the same time last week.
‘People need to take this seriously’ (The Villages Daily Sun)
Judging from the lines of people waiting for tests, as well as the amount of positive cases being seen, the availability of testing seems pretty important.
So you kind of have to scratch your head at the decision to remove the mobile testing lab from The Villages a day earlier than originally scheduled.
No word just yet on if/when/where testing might take place next week but as soon as I hear I'll update this page.
Friday, July 3, 2020
According to Villages-News, we are now up to around 130 positive coronavirus cases in The Villages as we roll into the holiday weekend.
Florida is not doing too hot either, having crossed a new milestone with more than 10,000 new positive coronavirus cases reported on Thursday.
Walk-up testing will be available in the Laurel Manor Recreation Center parking lot Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (July 6-8), and then Thursday and Friday (July 9-10) at Rohan Recreation Center parking lot. Testing hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
Friday June 26, 2020
Today, Florida reported another record for daily new coronavirus cases, with more than 8,900 new cases.
It was a rough week in The Villages too, which now has more than 100 cases.
Seven more Villagers test positive for COVID-19 (Villages-News)
As you might expect, with numbers rising like they are, the brakes are being pumped on our “re-opening”, starting with bars.
Some businesses that have been open, are now shutting back down, either as a precaution, or as a result of their employees or customers contracting the virus.
Village Dental shut down due to COVID-19 (Villages-News)
Testing will be available this week at the New Covenant United Methodist Church in The Villages from Monday, June 29th through Thursday, July 2nd from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
Registration is required and you can do that here: http://sumter.floridahealth.gov/events/index.html
Friday June 19, 2020
While the state of Florida set a record for new daily coronavirus cases this week, The Villages only picked up a couple more cases.
I thought this Channel 9 news report was worth checking out in which health officials in Sumter County said unlike most of the state, COVID-19 cases have not gone up in the county.
Two of The Villages’ movie theaters, Old Mill Playhouse and Barnstorm Theater opened this week, albeit at just 25% capacity.
Villages movie theaters reopen today (The Villages Daily Sun)
Also, The Sharon announced their reopening plans which include stringent safety measures and very limited seating
Friday, June 12, 2020
The number of identified coronavirus cases in The Villages crossed the 80 mark this week, but it does not seem to be growing as fast as some other parts of the state.
While our numbers remain low, experts stress not to let our guards down just yet.
Coronavirus numbers at The Villages remain low, but experts worry (Orlando Sentinel)
One bright spot…the Brownwood Farmer's Market is back open!
Brownwood farmers return to sell wares (The Villages Daily Sun)
Also, softball is back!
Villages softball gets back in full swing (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday, June 5, 2020
Depending on which site you pull from and which day you do it, The Villages has somewhere in the range of 70 to 80 current coronavirus cases.
Lake, Sumter report 6 new cases of COVID-19 (Daily Commercial)
This week in The Villages, bars are starting to open and movie theaters (at least two of them) aren't far behind.
Bars opening today; cinemas coming soon (The Villages Daily Sun)
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Florida logged the largest single-day increase in reported cases since this all began.
Friday, May 29, 2020
To mask, or not to mask. That is the question.
When the community's amenities began to reopen in early May, face masks were required.
This week, that policy has shifted to face masks being requested.
However, for activities where 6 ft. of social distance cannot be maintained, face masks are still required.
Villagers have strong opinions about face masks (Villages-News)
Also this week we learned that The Enrichment Academy will resume select courses on June 1 with limited availability.
Antibody testing for virus comes here (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday, May 22, 2020
The Villages continued to open back up this week.
Gyms join eateries, retail in reopening (The Villages Daily Sun)
More churches are opening doors, setting plans (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday, May 15, 2020
Another week in the books, and thankfully it was another slow week for growth of the coronavirus, as the number of reported positive cases in The Villages held steady.
In fact, Don Henderson, CEO of UF Health Central Florida said, “We haven’t seen a new positive COVID-19 case in our hospitals for the last three weeks.”
UF hospitals resume medical procedures (The Villages Daily Sun)
There is one famous casualty to report this week. It was published that Katie Belle's, the once popular restaurant and dance hall in Spanish Springs would not reopen after the coronavirus closures.
Like most victims of the coronavirus, Katie's as it was affectionately known had some underlying conditions.
Once a private club for residents and their guests, Katie Belle's was shut-down and remodeled a few years ago and then reopened to the general public. She never quite regained her step after that.
RIP Katie Belle's.
Governor DeSantis announced today that Florida will take further steps toward reopening beginning Monday, May 18. These steps include restaurants moving from 25% to 50% capacity for indoor seating and the reopening of gyms and fitness centers with proper social distancing.
In The Villages, some of the openings happening on Monday include:
- Beach Tennis
- Platform Tennis
- Sand Volleyball
- Softball – Practice Only
- Savannah Center Computer Lab
- Mark Twain Library
- Table Tennis
Friday, May 8, 2020
This week, Villagers began taking their first steps to get back to “normal” or what many are calling the “new normal”.
Recreation center staff, residents follow guidelines to enjoy first day back (The Villages Daily Sun)
According to the latest numbers, there are 77 reported positive cases of coronavirus in The Villages.
Friday, May 1, 2020
According to the latest information available, the number of Villagers testing positive for coronavirus is still under 80.
In last week's update I mentioned that President Trump had tweeted about The Villages success in keeping the virus from spreading, and Governor Ron DeSantis made similar statements this week during his press conference with Trump at the White House.
As I mentioned last week, Monday May 4 is the day that The Villages will begin the process of slowly reopening some recreation centers, pools, and other facilities.
Getting ready to reopen: What you should expect (The Villages Daily Sun)
Residents venturing out to any of the community's amenities are being asked to bring their own water, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and to wear a face mask for ALL indoor and outdoor activities:
In addition, residents are also being asked to limit their time at any facility or pool to 60 minutes at a time.
Also this week, Governor DeSantis said that starting Monday restaurants can re-open at 25% capacity inside.
Friday, April 24, 2020
According to the last update I read from Villages-News, The Villages continues to more or less hold steady with 76 cases of the Coronavirus.
The Villages also got some free publicity this week when President Trump sent this tweet to his 78.3 million Twitter followers:
If you've been following the news, the government has proposed opening the country back up in three phases. According to the District government, here's how that might look for The Villages:
Phase I – April 27th through May 3rd
- District Recreation & Parks staff will return to work the week of April 27 to May 3 to further clean and prep facilities.
- Efforts will include utilizing tables and chairs to establish 6 foot buffers in room layouts and swimming pool areas, so social distancing may be actively practiced.
- While residents will not have access to additional facilities this week, it will provide District staff the opportunity to prepare for Phase II.
Phase II – begins May 4th (if approved by local, state and federal agencies) and will continue through the month of May
Recreational activities that meet criteria of specific health department guidelines will begin opening. Some of the criteria taken into consideration will include limited exposure, high respiration activities, activity interaction and the interaction of persons/objects. While we are still evaluating which facilities will open, you can expect to see the following:
- Limited facility use
- Special social spacing accommodations
- All facilities will close by 8:00 p.m. to afford staff time for next day cleaning and preparation
- Villages IDs will be checked and cashless Trail Fee services will continue
- The District Administrative Offices at Lake Sumter Landing will open on an appointment only basis beginning May 11th.
Phase III – Not anticipated to take effect until after the month of May (dependent upon health guidelines from local, state & federal agencies)
- Will include opening non-regional recreation centers, additional outdoor facilities and a full opening of District Administrative offices.
- At this time, it is not anticipated that there will be any recreation sponsored or co-sponsored large events.
Local, state leaders eye safe, strategic reopening (The Villages Daily Sun)
Friday, April 17, 2020
More than 70 Villagers are now positive with coronavirus.
The Wall Street Journal published an article today about coronavirus in The Villages:
Watching and Waiting for a Coronavirus Surge at The Villages in Florida (The Wall Street Journal)
Earlier this week, Villages-News published a staff editorial about the problems residents have experienced with testing at The Villages Polo Fields:
Testing did open back up briefly on Friday, but as of 6:15pm this evening, scheduling is not available beyond this date.
Friday, April 10, 2020
Entertainers from around The Villages came together (but apart) to sing this great rendition of We Are the World.
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:
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)
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