ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – August has been named the deadliest month of the pandemic so far, according to Orange County leaders, with at least 388 deaths, and more are expected to be added to the tally.
Dr. Raul Pino, of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, announced 13 more deaths from the coronavirus that had been reported within the county since last Friday. Of those deaths, three of them were from August.
“We could see this number (of deaths in August) getting closer to 400 before the end of this month,” Pino said.
One of the reported deaths was from April and the remaining nine happened in September. Pino added that the average age for deaths in both August and September is 69 years old.
The 13 deaths reported also include an Orange County employee who died from the disease on Friday. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings added that several more county employees remain in the hospital with COVID infections.
“We still have employees who remain hospitalized in critical care units, and we’re trying to be prayerful about the recovery of those individuals,” he said.
Despite the rise in deaths, Orange County leaders said that number of new infections is decreasing and the positivity rate has also decreased. The 14-day rolling positivity rate is now 11.29%, according to Demings.
“Essentially, this validates that our strategy of driving up the rate of vaccinations and increasing testing and also returning to the wearing of facial coverings has worked,” Demings said.
Demings added that more than 72% of the eligible population in Orange County had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The mayor also announced that the county’s three free COVID testing sites, as well as its free vaccination site at Camping World Stadium, will remain open through the end of October.
Pino also addressed the news that Pfizer was looking to seek authorization for use of its vaccine in children ages 5 to 11.
“Having access to vaccines for that age group is going to mean the beginning of the end of the pandemic,” Pino said. “Because when you open it up to a larger segment of the population, then we can really be more effective of interfering (with) transmission. That’s an important segment — it has been about 25% to 20% of the new infections — so, if we are able to increase vaccination rates among 5 to 11 (year olds) to 70%, 80%, we will be in good shape.”