Coronavirus Close-Up Dominant

The number of Citrus County’s COVID-19 cases continues to level off after a one-day spike earlier this month.

As of Monday, Sept. 14, Citrus had 2,477 cases, up 145 from the Sept. 8 update. Deaths rose from 64 to 73.

About 10% of Citrus County tests are positive for COVID-19, data shows.

Data from the Florida Department of Health shows six of 12 Citrus County long-term care facilities reporting a total of 178 COVID-19 cases among residents, employees or both. That number jumped from 88 that were recorded on Sept. 8.

As of Sunday, Citrus Health and Rehabilitation Center in Inverness had 60 residents and 24 employees currently testing positive for COVID-19, according to Monday’s FDOH report. The report states 28 residents who tested positive were transferred to other facilities.

Lecanto-based Life Care Center of Citrus County showed 40 positive cases — 23 residents and 17 employees. Four of the residents who tested positive were transferred from the facility, the report states.

The Chronicle attempted to contact administrators at both facilities and did not receive return calls.

The county’s daily number of positive cases has not exceeded 33 since Sept. 4, when 86 cases were reported on that single day.

Citrus County Commission Chairman Brian Coleman, who monitors COVID-19 case numbers and speaks once or twice a week with county health director Ernesto “Tito” Rubio, said Rubio had attributed the Sept. 4 spike and reported cases around that date to the case increase in nursing homes.

Rubio was unavailable for comment. The health department had no specific explanation for the Sept. 4 spike or case numbers at Citrus Health and Rehab, which are among the highest in Florida. Only four other long-term care facilities in the state shows higher number of positive cases among residents.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a single-day spike of cases like the one you are referring to on 9/4, including laboratories uploading a large quantity of results into our system prior to the weekend and an increase in testing at long-term care facilities in staff and residents,” Citrus health department spokeswoman Audrey Stasko wrote in an email to the Chronicle. “Both of these factors, on top of the newly acquired cases we are seeing daily, can contribute to the potential for a single day increase in new cases.”

Outside that spike, though, Citrus County’s weekly totals are holding steady or dropping.

“Definitely, the numbers are coming down,” Coleman said.

Here are the number of Citrus County cases by zip code:

  • 34452 (Inverness, Floral City, Inverness Highlands North and Inverness Highlands South): 467, an increase of 15 since Sept. 8.

  • 34465 (Beverly Hills, Black Diamond, Citrus Springs, Lecanto and Pine Ridge): 240, up 17.

  • 34461 (Black Diamond, Citrus Hills, Homosassa Springs, Lecanto, Pine Ridge and Sugarmill Woods): 241, up 13.

  • 34446 (Homosassa, Homosassa Springs, Lecanto and Sugarmill Woods): 215, an increase of seven.

  • 34429: (Crystal River, Ozello, Homosassa Springs, Lecanto and Black Diamond): 188, an increase of eight.

  • 34453 (Inverness, Citrus Hills, Hernando, Inverness Highlands North and Lecanto): 213, up by 24.

  • 34428 (Crystal River, Red Level and Inglis): 169, up eight from a week ago.

  • 34442 (Citrus Hills, Citrus Springs, Hernando, Lecanto and Pine Ridge): 161, an increase of 15.

  • 34434 (Dunnellon, Citrus Springs, Hernando and Pine Ridge): 147, up eight.

  • 34450 (Inverness and Inverness Highlands South): 112, up four.

  • 34448 (Homosassa, Homosassa Springs, Sugarmill Woods, Lecanto and Crystal River): 100, up by three.

  • 34433 (Dunnellon, Citrus Springs and Pine Ridge): 93, up seven.

  • 34436 (Floral City): 101, up five.

  • 34445 (Holder, Citrus Springs, Hernando and Pine Ridge): Less than five, no change.

  • 34449 (Inglis and Yankeetown): 0, no change.

Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com.