ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A massive medical expo has decided to cancel its conference at the Orange County Convention Center days before health professionals were set to meet.
The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses was scheduled to host its global surgical expo from Aug. 7 through Aug. 10.
In a statement on its website, AORN announced it would be calling off the conference, citing the “dramatic surge” in coronavirus cases in Orange County.
“The mayor of Orange County, Florida - where Orlando is located - yesterday declared the county is facing a COVID-19 ‘crisis’ from the Delta variant,” the statement reads.
AORN leaders said with the positivity rate nearly tripling to almost 14% in a month’s time, Florida has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. with nearly a fifth of the nation’s cases.
Emphasizing it was a tough decision, AORN said it will instead focus exclusively on its virtual conference rather than risk the safety and well-being of attendees and potentially burdening Orlando’s healthcare system with 5,000 visitors during this public health issue.
On Monday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced the area is seeing nearly 1,000 new coronavirus infections a day.
“Those are the numbers we saw at the highest peak last year,” Demings said during a regularly scheduled COVID-19 briefing. “A thousand a day is extraordinary. We are now in crisis mode.”
Demings said he and fellow county leaders are working to take action and slow the spread of the virus. He plans to announce changes to the county’s coronavirus guidelines and restrictions Wednesday afternoon.