Surge in test results drives up new COVID-19 case numbers in Central Flordia

Bigger batch of test results contains bigger total of positives.

Suddenly, the number of new COVID-19 test results coming in for Central Florida residents more than doubled on Friday.

And largely as a result, the number of newly-confirmed cases also shot up throughout the region.

Friday’s daily COVID-19 report from the Florida Department of Health tallied 1,763 newly-confirmed cases across the six counties of greater Orlando, up from fewer than a thousand tallied for either of the previous two days.

Yet the latest new caseload total came from a huge set of test results returned Thursday, more than 28,000 across the region. Central Florida’s positive-test results rate continued to trend downward, to 5.7% for that batch, even as the total of new cases appeared to surge.

There also were 21 new deaths newly-attributed to COVID-19 Friday, a little lower than previous days tolls, but still higher than what typically was seen until recent weeks.

In Orange County, 736 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Friday’s report, more than double what was reported on Wednesday or Thursday. In Brevard County, 306 new cases were reported; in Osceola County, 216; in Lake County, 189; in Volusia County, 187; and in Seminole County, 129.

Orange County received news of the 1,000th resident whose death has been attributed to the disease since the pandemic began in Florida last March. In Friday’s report, 11 new COVID-19-caused deaths were reported in Orange, bringing the county’s 11-month toll to 1,001 fatalities.

There also were six new deaths reported in Lake County, three in Brevard, and one each in Seminole and Volusia counties in Friday’s report. State officials reduced Osceola’s running total of COVID-19 deaths by one.

More encouraging news came in the test result rates. Positive test rates normally decline with large batches of results, and that may have been a factor Friday. Still, Friday’s overall rate continued a trend that’s been seen fairly steadily for several weeks. In late December and early to mid-January the region’s composite positive test rate was early always over 10%, sometimes over 12%.

On Friday, Lake County saw a positive test rate of 6.6%; Osceola County, 6.4%; Brevard County, 5.9%; Orange County, 5.6%; Volusia County, 5.4%; and Seminole County, 4.6%.

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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