OCALA, Fla.—To help protect the health of those most vulnerable to the threat of COVID-19, the Florida Department of Health in Marion County is strongly urging attendees of large community events and mass gatherings to not attend if they:
- are or have been in contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19
- are over the age of 65 and have underlying health conditions
- are immune-compromised
- are ill
- have been exposed to someone with a respiratory illness in the last 14 days
- have chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease
- have traveled internationally within the last 14 days, especially to destinations under a level 3 travel advisory (China, Iran, Italy and South Korea)
- have traveled to or from a geographic area with widespread community transmission of COVID-19
“We are providing these recommendations based on CDC and Florida Department of Health guidelines,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander. “We all have a role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. This includes modifying our personal behaviors in the interest of protecting the health of the community.”
While large-scale gatherings of more than 1,000 people are discouraged, event planners may choose to proceed based on the lack of community transmission or other relevant information. These events should incorporate a screening tool to assist with the assessment of attendees to determine recent travel history, potential/past exposure to COVID-19 and current health status.
Additionally, everyone is encouraged to:
• Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.
***SPRING BREAK remains on the normal calendar from March 16-20. However, all school-based and extra-curricular activities in MCPS are canceled or postponed through March 24.***
This is a list of some of the canceled events
• Charlie Dixon Elementary Music Festival at First Baptist Ocala, Thursday
• Belleview High School’s trip to Miami to see “Hamilton”
• West Port High School’s JROTC trip to a national competition in Virginia next week
• Wreaths Across America education visit to Hammett Bowen Jr. Elementary on Friday
• Howard and Dunnellon middle school trip to Washington, D.C., next week
• Visits to colleges and universities canceled due to state directive to move those campuses to online platforms
• Marion Technical College nursing student visits local nursing homes and assisted living facilities
Marion County Public Schools Director of Public Relations Kevin Christian said the cancellations are just a precaution.
Christian said events, including club-based outings, district events, extracurricular and sporting competitions, or events attracting a crowd of 250 or more will be canceled.
For more information on mass gatherings, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html
For MCPS information visit https://www.marionschools.net/marionfl