Florida could see over 7,000 deaths at peak of COVID-19 pandemic, Orange County mayor says

County officials pinpoint infection hotspots by zipcode

In an update given by Orange County leaders, Mayor Jerry Demings said the state of Florida could see up to 7,000 deaths at the peak of the disease’s infection.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – In an update given by Orange County leaders, Mayor Jerry Demings said the state of Florida could see up to 7,000 deaths at the peak of the disease’s infection.

As of Wednesday morning, Florida has 6,955 COVID-19 cases, which includes 87 deaths statewide.

The numbers released shortly before noon show 214 new cases and two new deaths compared to 6 p.m. Tuesday, which is the last time the Florida Department of Health released an update.

Demings cited a recently released study that sought to predict when states would see peak infection numbers and consumption rates of critical supplies for COVID-19 treatment.

That study claims Florida won’t see its peak in infection and resource demand until May 3, with an estimated shortage of 843 intensive care unit beds and 2,029 ventilators. At this peak, Florida may see 136 deaths per day as a result of the pandemic.

“A model from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluations shows that our COVID-19 cases will peak somewhere between the end of April and the first part of May,” Demings said. “When we reach this peak in Florida we will be experiencing more than 170 deaths per day statewide. If these models are accurate - which I believe they are - we will have nearly 7,000 deaths in the state of Florida during this time frame.”

[MORE COVERAGE: Florida may not see peak of COVID-19 infections until early May, study shows]

Health officials compiled a map showing regions where Orange County was experiencing the highest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases by zip code. The zip codes with the most confirmed cases of coronavirus were: 32801, 32822, 32839, 32837, 32824, 32828.

Dr. Raul Pino, heath officer for FDOH, broke down the cities that have the most confirmed cases, all of which are very near each other geographically.

“The city of Orlando has the highest number of cases in our county with 272,” Pino said. “Winter Park has 21 cases, Windermere has 16, Ocoee 12, Apopka eight cases, Winter Garden eight cases, and Maitland seven cases.”

Demings said the Orange County drive-thru testing facility located in the Orange County Convention Center’s parking lot had to close just before noon Wednesday after the site had reached capacity, quickly filling its daily allotment of 250 tests.

In a news conference Tuesday, test site officials say they did expect a surge in people wanting to be tested for COVID-19 after restrictions placed on age and occupation were lifted from testing criteria.

Demings also announced that financial assistance for those in rental housing was closed due to an incredibly high response rate from Orange County residents.

“As we announced yesterday, due to the overwhelming response of residents and with over 30,000 applications as of 1 p.m. today Orange County government has closed its COVID-19 rental assistance program effective today,” Demings said. “Over 30,000 applications. That really just speaks to the gravity of the need in the community for financial assistance related to this pandemic.”

Demings said the stay-at-home order effective for Orange County would likely need to be extended to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

“I am glad to see the governor’s statewide order and we are deciphering what it means to us here in Orange County," Demings said. “We are deciphering what it means to the executive order that we have here for stay-at-home. We will likely need to extend our stay-at-home order.”

DeSantis said the statewide stay-at-home order will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday. Residents will still be allowed to go out to get essential supplies, including food and groceries.

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About the Author:

Erin began her career at News 6 as an assignment editor, then became a show producer. She is now a digital storyteller as part of the Click Orlando team.