Orange County Officials 'Very Concerned' About Surge in Coronavirus Cases
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says he’d like to enforce a mask mandate but can't because an executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis that outlaws local government restrictions.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says he recommends that vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks indoors as coronavirus cases surge.
Demings says the rolling 14-day positivity rate in the county is 11.2 percent; three weeks ago it was 4.28 percent.
Almost all of the new cases reported in the county since Friday have been unvaccinated people, which is why Demings is also recommending vaccines to stop the spread.
"You can protect yourselves by simply getting vaccinated," he said.
Dr. Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, echoed Demings when it comes to wearing masks and practicing good COVID-19 protocols.
“We are concerned, very concerned where things are," he said. "Just to give you an idea, our numbers and cases are reflective of January of this year," when state infections peaked. "So, in the number of cases, we are back to January.”
Demings said there 517 new cases on Sunday alone, with "numbers as high as 700-plus over this past weekend."
He said all of the cases were unvaccinated individuals.
Pino said hospitalizations and intensive care visits have stabilized in the area, but emergency room visits are rising again. He says most of the new coronavirus cases have been in unvaccinated people between the ages of 15 and 44.
County data show that 61 percent of residents older than 12 have gotten at least one dose of the COVID vaccines.
Demings said he’d like to enforce a mask mandate, but his hands are tied by an executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis that outlaws local government restrictions.
“This is a statewide issue and Floridians should hold the governor and legislature accountable for the continued spread of the virus in our communities," he says. "They hold the cards at this time.”
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