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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Amid COVID uptick, UCF epidemiologist says stay calm and mask up if at risk

Red and gray 3D model of COVID-19. Looks like a sphere with red trees on it.
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention
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Epidemiologist Elena Cyrus echoes other experts in saying recent COVID numbers are no where near previous surges and the dominant variant is less severe than previous ones.

COVID cases are rising in Orange County and across Florida, but one University of Central Florida epidemiologist says this shouldn’t be cause for concern.

The 14-day rolling positivity rate in Orange County continued to hover around 8.4 percent over the past week, corresponding with an increase in local cases and hospitalizations.

But UCF epidemiologist Elena Cyrus echoes other experts in saying these numbers are no where near previous surges and the dominant variant is less severe than previous ones.

Cyrus this means people who are at high risk of contracting the virus should continue to mask up and use other established COVID protocols.

“For those who consider themselves to be at increased risk or have a particular vulnerability, I’m sure they will be a little bit more vigilant than others,” Cyrus says.

Cyrus says the greater Orlando region continues to report some of the highest rates of COVID transmission in the country.

“You know, we may no longer be in a pandemic, because it’s not impacting every single country at the same rate. But we have still a local epidemic, which is more regionalized, and certainly for Florida and for Orange County we’re still one of the most at-risk geographical locations throughout the United States.”

Cases in South Florida counties are also increasing at a high rate.

Miami-Dade and Broward saw cases double over the course of two weeks. Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties reported 50% increases during that time.

This past week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical officer to President Joe Biden, said the nation is in a "transitional phase" of COVID, after initially telling NPR the pandemic phase was over.

In his clarification, Fauci said the world is still experiencing a pandemic but the number of cases has decelerated and the virus is hopefully under more control.

Vaccinations and residual immunity were among the reasons given by Fauci for the improved state of the pandemic.