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Central Florida now with 1,400 cases

Osceola County now has one of the state’s highest infection rates.

The six-county Central Florida region now has more than 1,400 people infected with COVID-19, with five of the counties now counting patients in triple digits.

With Sunday morning’s latest report from the Florida Department of Health, Lake County surpassed the century mark with 101 cases, joining Orange County, now with 689, Osceola County with 220, Seminole County with 189, and Volusia County with 143. Brevard County has 77.

While Brevard’s total remains relatively low, especially considering its population is second only to Orange’s in Central Florida, the Space Coast county is seeing a rapid increase in cases just during the weekend. Brevard’s caseload increased by 26 patients, more than 50 percent, just since Friday.

The latest state COVID-19 report shows that Central Florida’s caseload has nearly tripled since the report given on Sunday morning, March 29, a week earlier.

The news comes after Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings declared on Friday afternoon that he is convinced the coronavirus outbreak must be handled in a regional way in Central Florida, because so much of the area’s health care is provided through regional hospital chains, and because so much of the region’s economy and culture are interwoven.

Demings said he was working with other counties’ leaders in the region to begin to develop such a strategy.

To date, there have been 17 deaths in Central Florida, with eight of those in Orange County.

There were 261 COVID-19 patients in hospitals throughout Central Florida, including 88 Orange County residents, according to the latest state report.

A week earlier, Central Florida had 518 total cases. That has increased to 1,414 COVID-19 patients by Sunday morning, a 173% increase.

Volusia’s caseload grew by 204% during the week, meaning it tripled. Orange’s caseload increased by 180%, Brevard’s by 175%; Lake’s by 166%, Osceola’s by 165%; and Seminole’s by 142%.

Osceola County has what appears to be the region’s worst coronavirus outbreak, at least on a per-capita basis.

With 220 cases, four deaths, and 21 people in the hospital, Osceola’s outbreak is one of the worst per-capita in the state, outside of the three-county epicenter of Florida’s crisis in South Florida, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

The rate of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Osceola County is about 6.0 per 10,000 residents so far. Orange County’s rate is about 5.0 cases per 10,000 residents; Seminole’s, 3.9 cases; Lake’s, 2.8 cases; Volusia’s, 2.6 cases; and Brevard’s, 1.3 cases.

Miami-Dade’s infection rate was 14.7 cases per 10,000 residents Sunday morning; Broward’s, 9.6 cases; and Palm Beach’s, 6.7 cases.

Collier County also had a higher rate than Osceola’s but just barely, at 6.1 cases per 10,000 residents.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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