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Orange County adds 730 COVID-19 cases, breaking record for second day in a row

The region fears its hospitals are facing a crisis.

Orange County health officials logged 730 new cases of COVID-19 overnight, exploding far past the worst 24-hour total that had been set the day before.

Orange County’s 730 new COVID-19 cases itemized in Thursday’s report topped the record count of 554 reported Wednesday, which topped the previous worst day total of 374, seen last week. It’s the second day in a row that Orange topped the previous worst day by more than 30%.

Similar dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases were reported Wednesday in most of the counties of greater Orlando. There were 127 new cases logged in Brevard County, a record high; 144 cases in Seminole County, the second-highest total ever seen there; 99 cases in Osceola County, and 95 new cases in Volusia County, according to the latest state report on the COVID-19 outbreak, which now is resurging like an out of control wildfire in Central Florida.

Lake County recorded 43 new cases in Wednesday’s report, a total that is much higher than what the county had experienced throughout May and early June, but not much different from what it has suffered most days over the past couple of weeks.

Part of the increase in raw numbers may be due to a larger batch of coronavirus infection test results that came back Wednesday, much higher than normal for most counties in Central Florida compared with recent days. Still, that larger batch did not dilute the positive rates much. Orange County saw  15% of the results come back positive; Osceola, 11%; and Seminole, 10%.

The dramatic growth in caseloads comes while Orange and Seminole health officials said Wednesday they were also seeing significant rises in the numbers of COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

Dr. Raul Pino, Orange County’s health officer with the Florida Department of Health, said Wednesday there were 168 COVID-19 patients in Orange County hospitals that day, including 35 who were in intensive care. Ten days earlier, on June 14, There were 15 COVID-19 patients in Orange County hospital intensive care units, Pino said.

To date, the rising patient census “has not impacted our health care system in a way that it cannot perform,” Pino said. “But this is what we want to prevent.”

That led Pino to urge everyone to wear masks in public, as did other officials.

“We have gone from 1% or 2% to having double-digit increases for the last ten days or so. That just shows you, the science is right. We have to be wearing masks and doing the social and hygiene things if we are going to operate in this new normal,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “And those out there that say you have a constitutional right not to wear a mask, I’d say you have a civic duty to wear a mask.”

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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