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As Central Florida testing increases again, so do COVID-19 cases

More than three-quarters of Central Florida’s COVID-19 cases confirmed in June.

The number of confirmed new cases of COVID-19 in greater Orlando began to rise again Wednesday as health authorities increased testing again after a relative lull the past couple of days.

Yet the latest COVID-19 report issued Wednesday morning by the Florida Department of Health also reveals how profound the outbreak was in the month of June.

The apparent control of the virus that had been seen through late April, all of May, and early June came to an end around June 10, as reports of new cases, and positive-test result percentages, began climbing dramatically from there.

State reports from June 1 and July 1 show that more than three quarters of the COVID-19 cases confirmed in the six-county Central Florida region were identified in that period, or 16,709 of the 21,311 total cases that have been seen since the outbreak began in early March. In Orange County, June brought 8,843 of the county’s 10,874 total cases, amounting to 81% of Orange’s four-month caseload.

Across Florida, June brought more than 100,000 of the 159,000 cases the state has logged since the coronavirus crisis emerged in early March.

In Orange County, 560 new cases were identified in Wednesday’s report, the first time since the weekend that number was over 350, but still well below the 1,062 new cases in one day logged last Friday, according to the state’s latest report. Across the six-county greater Orlando region, 1,205 new cases were confirmed in Wednesday’s report, a total that was again much higher than the past couple of days, while lower than what was seen late last week.

What has remained largely consistent throughout the past couple of weeks are the double-digit positive test results rates seen regardless of whether the region saw large numbers of test results returned, as it did last week, or smaller numbers, as it has the past three days.

In the latest state report, five of six Central Florida counties showed rates over 10%. Only Brevard County, with a positive test rate of 9.3%, was below the threshold that public health officials have held out as serious.

Also, Wednesday’s report was only the second time in the four-month coronavirus crisis that all six Central Florida counties, Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia, each logged at least 100 new cases. The only other time that happened was last Saturday.

In Orange County, the 560 newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases brought the county’s total to 10,874. On Tuesday, 15.4% of about 3,000 newly-returned test results came back positive for the virus.

In Seminole County, the caseload grew by 116 in Wednesday’s report, giving the county 2,682 cases since early March. In the latest report, Seminole received about 900 new test results on Tuesday, and 12.6% of those were positive for the virus.

Osceola County logged 138 new cases in Wednesday’s report, for a total to date of 2,164. The latest batch of test results that came in Tuesday covered about 600 tests, and 18.2% came back positive.

Volusia County picked up 114 new cases in the latest tally, for a total of 2,219. Tuesday’s batch of new test results included just over 900 new tests, and 10.9% were positive for the virus.

Lake County saw 108 new cases reported Wednesday, bringing its four-month total to 1,410. The just-under 800 test results that were returned on Tuesday had a positive-test rate of 12.2%.

Brevard County may have had the best positive-test result rate Tuesday, but it also had the steepest increase in tests, and in new cases. Brevard picked up 169 new cases according to the latest report, compared with under 90 for the previous three days’s reports. The new report gives Brevard 1,962 total cases during the crisis. The 1,700 or so new test results returned Tuesday more than doubled what Brevard had received the previous couple of days. Of the newest ones, 9.3% were positive.

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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