New COVID-19 cases being traced back to UCF area once again

Leading doctor asks young residents to be careful, conscientious

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Although Orange County’s coronavirus data has improved during recent weeks, there’s one new resurging trend that has Dr. Raul Pino from the Florida Department of Health urging certain residents to be more cautious.

He said that 53% of all of Orange County’s COVID-19 cases are patients who are 15 to 35 years old.

“I have a message for anyone who is in that age range in our county: Please help us to control and keep the pandemic below 5% of our community. You are a very active segment of our population, and it is critically important that you follow CDC guidelines, protect yourself and protect others. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the ethical thing to do,” Pino said.

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While younger residents are less likely to experience severe symptoms that would require hospitalization, they are at risk of passing the deadly respiratory illness onto older, more vulnerable relatives.

“But for those who are in the older range, and if we continue to increase this age it will go into the older segment of the population again, if it goes there, we are going to have the same issues we experienced months ago. We have seen an increase in cases -- not the total of cases -- but the proportion of cases between 15 to 35 and there may be some specific areas of the county that may be seeing a little bit of an increase,” Pino said.

One of those areas, according to Pino, is near the University of Central Florida where classes have been back in session since August.

In mid-June, a few weeks after bars reopened near campus, Seminole County saw a spike in cases that led to the UCF area being deemed a hotspot. It was around that time that daily case totals for the state starting trending upward until they reached a peak in mid-July with upward of 10,000 new COVID-19 patients per day.

For comparison, Florida reported 1,533 new cases on Monday. Orange County’s cumulative totals sit at 42,219 cases, 1,443 hospitalizations and 516 deaths.

While the county’s two-week positivity rate is up from 4.4% to 4.8%, Pino said the region is fairing well overall and steps need to be taken to make sure we don’t experience a repeat of what happened in July.

“So we are, we are tracing back some cases to the surrounding areas of UCF. And when that happened in the other, you know, our previous cycle, that happened prior to a huge increase that we saw in our county. So I just following the data and alerting people that although our data is performing just absolutely fantastic, there are things that we have to watch for and if we don’t, we will regret it,” Pino said.

According to UCF’s coronavirus dashboard, 152 students tested positive for COVID-19 last week, bringing the university to a cumulative total of 716 student patients and marking the highest one-week increase thus far.

During the week that ended in Oct. 3 there were 30 student cases and 41 before that for the week that ended in Sept. 26.

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