Orange County COVID-19 numbers continue to improve, mayor says

10th consecutive day COVID-19 rolling positivity rate below 5%, data shows

Jillian Kalier translates what is said by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings at a coronavirus news conference in Orlando. (Erik Sandoval, Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County officials announced they will most likely decide next week whether the state of emergency in the county will be lifted.

Mayor Jerry Demings addressed the county’s improving COVID-19 numbers, as well as plans to roll out booster vaccines, during a news conference Thursday.

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According to Demings, and data provided by Dr. Raul Pino with the Florida Department of Health, the county is up to 231,363 COVID-19 cases and 2,147 deaths.

Since the latest COVID-19 update on Oct. 14, Demings reported 21 new deaths, including a county employee.

“Sadly, we had another member of our Orange County family, one of our corrections officers, who passed, died of the coronavirus,” Demings said. “Our hearts continue to go out to all the family members who have lost loved ones and our staff.”

He added that the county’s 14-day rolling positivity rate is now 4.09%, marking the 10th consecutive day it has been at or below 5%, an effort that couldn’t have been achieved without the dedication of Florida Department of Health workers, such as Pino.

Orange County Emergency Manager Chief Lauraleigh Avery presented Pino and his staff with a distinguished service award for his committed and dedicated service to the community in response to the pandemic.

“The strong leadership that the Department of Health provided to all of us throughout this pandemic, and is continuing to provide us, is just incredible. So, I know, I’m saying this from all of us, we’re just very thankful,” Avery said.

Pino and his team are working with Orange County Public Schools to prepare for a possible vaccine rollout for children ages 5 to 11. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel will meet Nov. 2-3 to discuss administering low-dose shots to children in that age group.

“Of course parents have to be present so we’ll make sure that it’ll happen after school and they’ll be able to pick up their child at their elementary school. We’ll do (different) locations throughout the county. We’ll make sure they’re publicized well in advance. We will allow them to come in and be able to do that through our through Health Hero,” said Scott Howat, chief communications officer of Orange County Public Schools.

This news conference comes hours after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the Florida legislature would return for a special session to combat vaccine mandates and protect jobs as the federal government prepares to release an executive order requiring vaccinations.

Demings also fired back a response in reference to the Orange County battalion chief who was fired earlier this week for failing to follow a direct order over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Stephen Davis, the battalion chief, joined DeSantis, railing against the policy. Orange County employees are facing an Oct. 31 deadline to be fully vaccinated as part of a county-issued mandate.

About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.