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Orlando area COVID-19 caseload continues rapid rise

Cases are up 30% in one week.

Orange County and other counties making up the greater-Orlando area saw their caseloads of COVID-19 infections increase by 30% in the past week, according to the latest state reports.

Orange County continued at a near record pace, adding 151 new cases on Monday, the fourth consecutive day of at least 150 new infections revealed as both testing continues to expand and positive test rates climb. On Saturday Orange County logged 189 new cases, the most seen in one day since the coronavirus pandemic hit with earnest in mid-March.

That’s according to Tuesday’s coronavirus report posted by the Florida Department of Health, covering information compiled through Monday.

Seminole County added 46 cases Monday, Brevard County 43, Volusia County 22, Osceola County 18, and Lake County 16. That’s 296 cases in one day in Central Florida, compared with under 100 cases combined for the six counties for most days throughout much of May and the first days of June.

For the seven-day period ending Monday, Orange County’s caseload increased 36% over the previous week. Lake’s grew even more, by 48%, and Seminole’s by 43%. The region added 1,624 cases during the week ending Monday, a 30% increase over the total of COVID-19 infections found in Central Florida during all of the first 12 weeks combined of the pandemic.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has contended the increases seen across Florida were almost entirely due to rapidly increasing testing for the coronavirus. The more people who are tested, naturally the more cases are found.

But Monday Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings disagreed. And he and other Orange County officials cautioned the increased testing would not result in increased positive-test rates, which is being seen in most Central Florida counties. Demings expressed concern that, with the economy reopening, people are dropping mask and social distancing precautions, resulting in the virus spreading again. He urged residents to resume care.

From the first week of June to the second week of June, Orange County’s positive test rate jumped from 2.4% of 13,000 tests administered to 5.4% of 16,000 tests administered. Seminole’s positive test rate increased from the 1.2% in the first week of June to 5.6% the second week, with just over 4,000 tests given each week. In Lake County, the positive test rate increased from 0.6% to 3.3%, also with just over 4,000 tests being administered during each week.

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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