An infant has died of COVID-19, Orange County officials disclosed Monday.
The infant is believed to be the first child resident of Orange County to have died of the coronavirus, Dr. Raul Pino, Orange County’s health officer with the Florida Department of Health, said during the county’s COVID-19 update news conference Monday morning.
The death was one of 56 COVID-19 fatalities reported in Orange County since Demings’ last news conference, last Thursday.
Neither Pino nor Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings disclosed any additional details about the baby who died, because details could lead to the identity. Among the details not disclosed is when the infant died.
The vast majority of the deaths announced Monday occurred in recent weeks, but one occurred in May and one in July, Pino noted.
The infant’s death and those of the other 55 COVID-19 patients cast a pall on what otherwise was a good-news briefing on the county’s pandemic. Case numbers and positive result rates for COVID-19 tests continue to fall, while vaccination rates continue to climb, Demings and Pino said.
Pino said he believes the summer 2021 surge peaked at least two weeks ago. However, he would not predict whether the COVID-19 deaths have peaked, saying, “It is difficult to say.”
Orange County’s positive-test rate fell to 13.3% for a 14-day rolling average the county monitors. Demings said that rate “is still high, but down form the 20-21% we saw not long ago.”
The county’s vaccination rate increased to 71% of all eligible residents, those age 12 or older. That shows a one-month increase from 66% on Aug. 13, and an increase from 60% on July 15.
Pino attributed the county’s falling caseload to “all of the above” factors: higher vaccination rates, a usual cyclical nature of COVID-19 surges, and renewed precautions among the public.
“We have seen this before, this type of cycling approach to the disease. But also, you know, we took all the steps. People started masking up. The (Orange County) state of emergency was declared. The schools masked two weeks ago. That all has a compounding effect. It’s not all one thing,” Pino said.