Central Florida COVID-19 positivity spikes amid slow testing during the holidays

Fewer people were getting tests over Christmas weekend.

Central Florida’s COVID-19 caseload has slowed even as the rates of positive tests have risen in the days following Christmas — due perhaps to small numbers of new COVID-19 tests reported in recent days.

The greater Orlando area’s recent COVID-19 reports have been based on new testing totals that have been much smaller than in the weeks before Christmas.

On Monday, the latest report from the Florida Department of Health showed 1,385 newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases across Central Florida. That total is significantly lower than the more than 1,500 new cases tallied on each of the previous two Mondays. The total reported on Sunday also was considerably lower than the previous two Sundays.

Yet the 11,059 test results returned Sunday was one of the smallest batches seen in many weeks for Central Florida residents. So were the batches reflected in Sunday and Saturday reports.

In the latest batch, returned Sunday, the region’s positive test rate was 10.7%, the highest seen in weeks.

In Monday’s report, there were 641 new cases confirmed in Orange County, 222 in Osceola County, 210 in Brevard County, 118 in Lake County, 104 in Seminole County, and 90 in Volusia County.

Lake County residents who took the COVID-19 test had the highest rate of confirmed infections in Sunday’s batch, with 13.3% of the tests coming back positive. In Orange County, the rate was 11.4%; in Osceola County, 10.9%; Brevard County, 9.6%; Seminole County, 9.2%; and in Volusia County, 8.8%.

The state reported Monday that 12 more people with COVID-19 were admitted to hospitals across Central Florida, less than half of what the region has typically seen in daily new hospital admission counts in recent weeks. The latest hospital admissions included five new patients in Orange and five in Osceola.

The state reported 15 deaths have been newly attributed to COVID-19 in Central Florida. That’s a little higher than what’s been typically seen in recent weeks. Deaths included six people in Brevard County, four in Orange County, three in Lake County, and two in Seminole County.

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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