News about the global pandemic is moving at lighting speed, and we want to keep you updated along the way. Email your questions to or call 352-753-1119, ext. 5374 to leave your question.

Reader from the Village of Fenney: How many cases have been confirmed here?

The Florida Department of Health reported 4,950 cases as of Sunday night out of 50,528 test results. In the tri-county area, 45 positive cases in Sumter County, 40 in Lake County and 21 in Marion County have been reported.
The state also reported 633 hospitalizations and 60 deaths.

Reader from village of Chula Vista: What’s the most important thing us residents can do to protect ourselves?
Stay at home. If you must go out for medical care, food or shopping needs, practice social distancing in which you avoid groups of people of 10 or more, giving each other space in those environments. And wash your hands with soap and water after having coming into contact with another person or handling objects.

Reader from the village of Hacienda: What is the latest on the drug chloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria?
Last week, the FDA indicated it needed more data. On Sunday, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine received emergency FDA approval for use on COVID-19 infected patients. “We learn more everyday,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday of the drug’s anecdotal success in some cases. DeSantis said Florida has secured shipments of the drug.

Reader from the village of Liberty Park: Is there a benefit to wearing latex protective gloves?

It’s not part of the CDC’s recommendation for general public. Wearing the same pair of gloves throughout the day can actually help spread bugs, which is why medical professionals dispose of gloves after each patient contact. Your best practice is wash your hands with soap and water after contact with others, including accepting items. Self-infection could occur when a person wears gloves continuously and touches their face.

Reader from the Village of Tamarind Grove: I have had a sore throat and sniffles. Should I be tested?
Good question, but one best posed to your medical provider in a phone call. In the meantime, avoiding others is recommended, especially if you develop a fever, just in case you have something that might be shareable.

Reader from the Village of Largo: There are no supply problems, so why all the hoarding, and why don’t stores limit quantities?
Human behavior, coupled with misinformation or the unknown, started a buying frenzy for many products. Retailers are now starting to limit buying quantities on scarce items. Manufacturers have told government officials they are ramping up production.

Reader from Village La Zamora: Does someone on Social Security get a stimulus check?
Qualifying income for The Coronavirus Aid Act is earned income, Social Security benefits and pensions of at least $2,500 in 2019, so retirees also can qualify. Those earning more than $75,000 (adjusted gross income), but less than $99,000 will receive a reduced amount.
Reader from the Village El Santiago: Why are some people stocking up on water? Is there a remote chance the water supply in The Villages will be affected?
COVID-19 is an airborne transmitted illness, passed on through respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected individual. The CDC reports COVID-19 has not been detected in the drinking water. Conventional water treatment systems use filtration and disinfection, which the CDC says should remove or inactivate the virus.

Reader from the Village of Country Club Hills: Can the virus be transmitted via laundry washing different people’s clothing together?
The combination of water that is filtrated and disinfected by your utility provider, coupled with laundry soap, is a good defense against viruses, just like simple handwashing with soap and water is the best weapon for your skin.

Reader from the Village Rio Grande: Can you explain why the dog parks are closed? Is it a matter of sanitization, or perhaps a liability issue?
The District is following CDC guidelines to avoid scenarios in which people could cluster together. That’s the greatest risk for spread of COVID-19 virus, person-to-person, so avoiding group contact opportunities is a responsible step, according to the White House task force. So closing venues like dog parks helps provide that protection for residents.

Reader from the Village Rio Grande: What is the name of the town in China where it was first discovered and what was the date it first became known world wide? The media keeps us up to date on current news and statistics but not the history of this one-of-a-kind crisis.
The epicenter of the outbreak was Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The initial patients had a link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-human spread, according to the World Health Organization. Later cases did not have access to the animal market, suggesting the virus had moved to person-to-person transmission. WHO said the first case was reported to its country office Dec. 31.

Reader from the Village of Hadley: How long did it take after the Wuhan area of China locked down for the rate of new COVID-19 cases to decline?
The World Health Organization’s first awareness of “cluster of pneumonia cases” was Dec. 31. WHO reported the epidemic, eventually named COVID-19 on Feb. 11, had peaked and leveled off between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2, with declining cases following that.

Reader from the Village Alhambra: Should we be leery of possible scams taking advantage of this situation?
A: Unfortunately, yes. Florida’s chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis, reports his office has seen an escalation of COVID-19 related fraud and scams, including the threat of increased cyberattacks during this public health emergency. Patronis urges caution when you browse online, and if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Report suspected fraud to

Reader from the Village of Sunset Pointe: I make homemade cleaners to try and keep things natural. Is there one I can make that will help kill the virus?
The CDC recommends a bleach solution of 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, if appropriate for the surface. Alcohol solutions should be at least 70% alcohol. Check out for a list of products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Reader from the Village of Virginia Trace: Once we bring the groceries inside, should we not touch them for awhile to allow any possible virus germs to die?
The CDC reinforces that primary way that the virus is spread is from person-to-person. In an interview, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said while there is evidence that COVID-19 virus can exist on certain surfaces or objects for hours or even a couple of days for cardboard, in simulated laboratory settings only, he said there is no evidence that transmissions have occurred through the mail or delivery packaging. As a precaution, Adams said delivered packages can be left untouched for a few hours or sprayed with disinfect before opening.  

Reader from the Village of Calumet Grove: I heard you can’t visit anyone in the hospital, is that true?
In order to protect the health of patients and health care providers, no visitors are permitted at UF Health The Villages Hospital and UF Health Leesburg Hospital, except under special circumstances such as patients receiving end-of-life care or imminent birth of a child, according to Don Henderson, CEO of UF Health Central Florida.

Reader from the Village Santo Domingo: Are people who don’t have a fever being tested at the UF Health testing site?
There is a UF Health research project component in which samples of people without symptoms but still concerned about exposure went through the testing process.

Reader from the Village of Polo Ridge: We will be returning north shortly after spending the winter here. We are feeling fine. Should we quarantine ourselves once we arrive home?
Glad you’re feeling fine. There is a current push to practice social distancing and minimize public appearances that might jeopardize that distancing, designed to minimize the risk of virus spread — which we’re all encouraged to practice. If someone should develop symptoms then they should quarantine themselves and contact their medical provider.

Reader from the Village of Pennecamp: What would be the proper course of action for a ‘Snowbird’ here in The Villages who does not have a doctor if they suspect they
may be ill?
Step one, stay home. Step two, contact a primary care physician or urgent care facility to inform of them of your situation to see if they would establish an appointment or course of action for you. Always calling ahead is necessary is to ensure they’re prepared and it’s a safe environment for all, even if they offer a walk-in clinic. And of course, any urgent medical needs requires a call to 911.

Reader from the Village of Fernandina: Is it safe to use the golf cart?
Staying at home whenever possible is recommended, but if you must travel, a golf cart is one of your options. Of course, it’s wise not to share your cart with anyone other than your housemate to avoid close contact with others. And all vehicles should be disinfected periodically, including your golf cart.

Reader from Village of Linden: Can a person who has coronavirus get it a second time later?
Dr. Deborah Birx, a physician on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said, “We believe anybody who becomes positive and makes effective antibody, they can’t get re-infected.” 

Reader from Village Santo Domingo: I am almost 88 years old and live alone. I have no symptoms. Should I be tested as a precaution?  If so, where do I get tested?
Experts say only those who have symptoms should be tested, at the recommendation of a medical professional. Instead, you can practice strong hygiene, such as hand-washing, and practice social distancing to better protect yourself. 

Reader from Village Palo Alto: In the midst of this virus, where is our religious community? Being one of the biggest religious communities, they tend to cause large gatherings. Are they canceling services?
Many houses of worship have suspended worship services and other activities within their facilities, however, many offer online viewing of services. Some, like Live Oaks Community Church, have found social distancing with their drive-in worship concept that allows individuals to sit in their vehicles to watch services on a large outdoor screen with audio provided.

Reader from Village of Collier: I’m under 65 years old and a Villages resident. If I’ve traveled via commercial airlines within the USA in the last three to seven days, should I self-quarantine?  If so, for how long?
Air travel or not, the president is urging Americans to stay home whenever possible and avoid social gatherings of 10 or more. If you are ill, showing symptoms such as fever and cough, you should self-quarantine. The CDC recommendation is for those not tested to stay isolated at home until a full three days pass without a fever, other symptoms have improved and at least seven days after your first symptoms appeared. For those tested and confirmed positive, they can discontinue home isolation after the fever is gone, other symptoms improve and have two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart, the CDC states.