ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says Orange County’s 14-day rolling positivity rate for COVID-19 is back down to single digits.
Demings held holding a news conference Thursday afternoon to provide an update on COVID-19 in the county.
Demings said the county’s positivity rate is 6.4%, compared to 40.81% on Jan. 10, and 25.8% on Feb. 2.
Epidemiologists says a 5% infection rate is a good indicator that COVID is under control in the community.
As a result, the county will relax mask mandates for county employees, except for employees at correctional and health facilities.
Countywide, hospitals report treating only 160 patients for COVID-19, down significantly from August, when 1,600 patients were treated.
Meanwhile, the county’s COVID-19 testing sites will stay open, as will the vaccine site at Barnett Park. About 76% of residents ages five and older have had one or more shots of the COVID vaccine.
Demings said 2,680 people in the county have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
The Florida Department of Health in Orange County did not send a representative to the monthly COVID-19 update, as health director Dr. Raul Pino is still under suspension. Demings said the health department is in communication with the county government, but there was a “deficit” of communication without Pino or a permanent director.
Demings said he had been in communication with Pino, and he was doing well, but was feeling anxious about not knowing the fate of his job. Demings said he is, “beginning to come to the realization that he may be forced to be in a position to look at other employment options.”
The Florida Department of Health provided this statement with regard to the investigation into whether Pino broke COVID mandate rules by chiding health department workers for not getting the vaccine on Thursday:
“The employee in question was placed on paid administrative leave, and the case was referred to the Office of the Inspector General. The Department has no updates at this time.”
Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond also announced that the county tourist tax development receipts were $22,414,000, an increase of over January of last year.
It was lower than the January 2020 collections by $3.6 million.
Last month, Diamond announced collections from the tourism development tax in Orange County broke a record in December 2021.
Diamond said $28,244,100 was reported for the TDT collection, an increase of 164.3% from December 2020 and a $2.4 million increase compared to December 2019.
The January collections were lower than the December collections by $5.8 million.