‘We are on our way up:’ Orange County sees ‘significant increase’ in coronavirus cases

Mayor reminds residents to wear masks in public

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – As is the case with the rest of the state, Orange County is seeing more and more COVID-19 patients with the numbers hitting a height the area hasn’t seen in weeks.

The director of the Department of Health in Orange County Dr. Raul Pino broke down the figures using charts and graphs illustrating where we are versus where we were in weeks prior dating back to around May 4.

As of Thursday, Orange County has had 2,678 cases since the virus was first detected here in March, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.

Right now, during week 24 of the year, the incidence rate per 100,000 is 24.1, which is the highest the area has seen since the pandemic began. The former record was an incident rate of 21.4 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people during the week of March 23.

“We are on our way up, there is no other way to describe it,” Pino said.

The daily case count for Wednesday was also up noticeably from the days prior.

“You see how we slowly have increased our number to the point today that we have seen a significant increase with regard to the prior days. That is also something that we are looking at and taking into account,” Pino said.

He noted that 21% of those diagnosed lately have been asymptomatic, which is about double what it once was, half of the new cases are people between 20 and 40 years old and the median patient age in Orange County is 32.5, which is lower than the statewide average of 41.

That may explain why hospitalizations have not seen a significant increase despite the uptick in cases, according to Pino.

While the upward trend is concerning, Pino said the overall positivity rate remains low at 3.57%.

He also said the county’s targeted approach of seeking out infected individuals by doing expansive testing where outbreaks are detected could be another reason why cases are climbing.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said the figures prove the pandemic isn’t over and residents can’t let their guard down.

“We don’t have a problem yet, we don’t want to have a problem,” Demings said.

He reminded residents to wear masks, social distance and practice good hygiene in order to reduce the risk of transmission.

As the economy begins to reopen, with even the major theme parks operating again, the mayor said consumers shouldn’t patronize businesses that aren’t taking responsible steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.

He said it’ll take every citizen and business owner following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines in order to avoid another shutdown.

“We’re not at the point yet, where it is necessary to do a shelter in place and shut things down, we don’t want to get there,” Demings said.

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