SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Now that we’ve moved past the peak of omicron, News 6 spoke with an emergency medicine physician about where we are now in terms of COVID-19 and what the landscape looks like as we move forward here in Central Florida.
“We are definitely in a much better place with COVID-19 today than we were many months ago,” Dr. Rajiv Bahl said.
According to data from the Florida Department of Health, the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate has seen a decline.
The first numbers released in January show the state’s positivity rate at 31%, but as of Feb. 25, that number now sits at 5.6%. Health officials say the rate should be between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.
Bahl attributes the decline to a couple of factors, including a boost in natural infection after many people contracted COVID-19 and the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This pandemic has really been hitting us for the past two years, and we’re starting to see the strong decline,” he said.
Data from the state’s health department show Central Florida counties following a similar trend.
According to the FDOH, the positivity rate has dropped in each Central Florida county from the beginning of the year to now.
For example, Orange County went from 36% to 9%, Osceola dropped from 36 to 10%, and in Seminole went from just under 37% to 12%.
The city manager of Altamonte Springs, Frank Martz, is also optimistic after looking at his area’s latest data.
He said the city saw a 35% reduction in viral concentration within its sewer service area compared to samples taken earlier this month.
“What we’ve been seeing over the last few weeks is a consistent decline,” Martz said.
Martz told News 6 the city’s sewer service areas include about 90,000 people in North Orange and South Seminole counties, calling it a good representation of what’s happening in the community overall.