Drop in Orlando area new COVID-19 cases driven by fewer tests

Positive test rates remain high.

President Donald Trump was right: Less testing means fewer COVID-19 cases.

The latest state reports show steep drop-offs nearly across the board in the numbers of new cases for counties in the greater Orlando area. But local officials cannot find much encouraging news because there also were big drops in the numbers of test results returned Sunday.

The result: new cases plummeted but positive-test rates remained high in most Central Florida counties, according to the latest Florida Department of Health reports posted Monday.

Orange County saw its lowest total of new cases in a week, with just 343 new cases, down from 834 in the previous report and a peak of 1,062 seen in Friday’s report. Still, the new batch of cases pushed the county’s total for the entire coronavirus crisis over the 10,000 plateau, to 10,014.

In Orange, only 2,200 new test results were returned Sunday, compared with 3,900 the day before and 4,800 on Friday. According to the latest report, 13.3% of Orange County’s coronavirus test results came back positive on Sunday, also the lowest since the previous Sunday, but still well above the double-digit threshold that local officials say is their point of worry.

Seminole County recorded its sixth straight day of more than 100 new cases. Yet the 111 reported Monday was the lowest daily total in that time. Seminole’s positive test rate, due to a significant drop in newly-reported results, was up slightly for Sunday, to 13.2%.

In Volusia County, the 91 new cases reported Monday was fewer than half the total seen the day before, and the lowest tally in five days. Volusia also saw a steep drop off in reported test results, so its positive test rate climbed by 3 percentage points to 12.7% Sunday.

In Osceola County, 86 new cases were reported Monday, also less than half of what was reported the day before, and the lowest total in five days. Yet there were only 325 test results that came in Sunday, and Osceola’s positive test rate spiked to 20.7%, up more than 2 percentage points.

In Brevard County, 85 new cases were reported, about the same as the day before but way below the 250 confirmed on Friday. But because the total of new test results that arrived Sunday also was much lower, Brevard’s positive test rate of 10.3% was actually higher than Friday’s test rate, and higher than Saturday’s.

In Lake County, the 60 new confirmed of COVID-19 cases in Monday’s report also represented a steep drop from the previous three days. However, unlike other Central Florida counties, Lake’s positive test rate also  fell, more than 2 percentage points to 8.6% for the batch returned Sunday.

Scott Powers

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 [email protected]


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