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‘The pandemic is getting a lot younger:’ 42% of Orange County coronavirus cases are under 30 years old

County monitoring outbreaks at area businesses including bars, restaurants

Signs remind guests of new safety measures in place at SeaWorld as it reopened, Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. The park had been closed since mid-March to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Signs remind guests of new safety measures in place at SeaWorld as it reopened, Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. The park had been closed since mid-March to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – About 42% of the people with coronavirus in Orange County are younger than 30 years old, the county’s leading health official said Thursday, following a record-number of new cases in younger residents around the state.

During a news conference Thursday, Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino, with the Florida Department of Health, said the median age of the virus in Orange County has dropped over the past two weeks. That’s also when the state as a whole started seeing cases among younger residents.

Now, 42% of the 3,900 cases in Orange County are between the ages of 20 and 29, according to the county numbers. The median age is 29 years old.

“So the pandemic is getting a lot younger in our county,” Pino said, adding, “It may have to do with some of the activity we have seen.”

There are 152 cases linked to the zip codes with University of Central Florida student housing, health officials have determined. The median age of UCF students with the virus is 21 years old, Pino said.

County health officials have also determined younger people with the virus can be tied to outbreaks found in multi-generational living situations.

“We are seeing older people who have younger people in the house and in some cases, we can establish the transmission to the younger person coming into the house,” Pino said. “It is critically important that when we have multi-generational living, we protect people who are 65 years or older, and (who) have pre-existing conditions.”

Several bars in the UCF area and around Central Florida have closed due to recent cases of the virus.

Pino said the county is also monitoring outbreaks connected to other area business including a nightclub, four restaurants, five bars, one grocery store, one liquor store, two agricultural facilities, a manufacturing facility and a construction company.

“It’s all over the place,” Pino said.

This week the county was alerted to an outbreak at a long-term-care facility by Orange County EMTs after they transported several individuals with symptoms to the hospital. On Tuesday, everyone at the facility was tested and state infection disease nurses arrived to monitor practices.

The facility has 40 residents, 16 have tested positive for the virus and five staff members also have COVID-19, Pino said. He did not name the facility.

“At the time that we were notified by EMS from the county, we didn’t have any knowledge of any case in the facility,” Pino said.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19, is as “simple as wearing a mask when you go out in public.”

A new mandate issued by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings that goes into effect Saturday at 12:01 a.m. will require all residents to wear a mask in public.

“We have continued to see a significant increase, triple digit increase sustain and new transmissions of the COVID-19 virus within our community,” Demings said. “For the last 10 days or so, we’ve seen that number continue to go up. So that’s very concerning to me.”

Here’s a breakdown of the latest numbers in Orange County as of Thursday evening:

3,900 COVID-19 cases: Since March 1, the county has reported 3,900 cases.

3.8% positivity rate: The county has seen an increased positivity rate of new cases. The county’s lowest rate was 2.9% and now it is at 3.8%, according to Pino, a jump of nearly 1 point.

100,000 tested: More than 100,000 people have been tested since March in Orange County, according to Pino.

383 hospitalizations: Those are the cases in Orange County who have required hospitalization.

48 dead: On June 13, a woman with underlying health conditions became the 48th COVID-19 in the county.

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