Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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Is Orlando a COVID-19 Hotspot?

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said there was a “pandemic within a pandemic” beginning to occur locally in Orlando when he updated the community on the latest COVID-19 surge. Mayor Demings called for all residents to wear face masks indoors again while stating the 14-day rolling positivity rate “increased dramatically.” The Florida Department of Health is reporting that Orange County’s 14-day rolling positivity rate is now 7.78 percent, when just two weeks ago, it was only 4.28 percent.

Local officials did stress that the delta variant is primarily infecting non-vaccinated people. In Orange County, a majority of the new cases are concentrated in residents age 15 to 34, a group where vaccination rates are waning. In Orange County: 59.69 percent of the population (12+) has received at least one does of the COVID-19 vaccine. That is still short of the goal set by President Joe Biden and Democratic Mayors Demings and Buddy Dyer. Local officials report 150,277 total positive cases, and 1,370 total deaths.

Both Orange County, Florida and the Orlando region are categorized as a “hotspot” of COVID-19 transmission in a recent community profile issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mayor Demings said the CDC also considers the region at “high risk” for community transmission.

Because of the local COVID-19 surge, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings is once again strongly recommending that all residents – vaccinated and unvaccinated – consider wearing a face mask indoors while in a crowded environment. For all residents who are not vaccinated, Mayor Demings said “mask up to protect others.” However, Mayor Demings stopped short of addressing what this should mean for local theme parks like Universal Orlando Resort and Disney World, likely due to political pressure from tourism industry lobbyists.

Other local Democratic elected officials are also weighing in on the local COVID-19 surge. “It is aggravating and just a pain in the neck but wear a mask in public spaces indoors for sure,” State Senator Linda Stewart posted on social media. “I received Moderna but the Delta variant is infecting people anyway and Florida in particular, Orange County had a surge. Be safe.”

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