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Orange County’s Post Memorial Day Coronavirus Surge

Photo: Kelly Sikkema

Coronavirus cases in Orange County have surged as lockdown restrictions eased after Memorial Day. The health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, Dr. Raul Pino said 58% of all COVID-19 cases in the county have been diagnosed since June 11th. 

“So since Memorial Day weekend, we have had a very very active transmission in our community,” said Pino.

“And we have a lot of social activity that had happened since Memorial Day.”

Pino said it’s safe to assume a correlation between activities happening since memorial day and the high number of cases now.  3,764 cases have been diagnosed in Orange County in the last two weeks, and 56 people have died since the start of the pandemic. 

Pino said 168 people were hospitalized as of 11 a.m. Wednesday in Orange County, including 35 patients in ICU beds. On June 14th he said there were only 15 people in ICU. Pino said county hospitals still have plenty of capacity.

Asked whether businesses should shut down again as cases spike, Pino said the answer is for people to wear masks and follow the other health guidelines.

Some bars and restaurants have voluntarily closed again after staff tested positive for coronavirus, and a UCF area bar had its liquor license suspended following an outbreak among staff and customers. 

Pino said people need to follow the three ‘W’s- wear masks, wash hands and watch their distance. 

“I don’t think that we need to close anything. What we need to do is to wear masks.”

Orange County mayor Jerry Demings says additional penalties could be a next step for failure to wear masks or follow other directives. 

“We’ve been intentional about not doing that, at this point, but in terms of the public policy, if we don’t see where we’re gaining compliance, then I’m going to make an adjustment, you know, to gain the kind of compliance that we want to see within the community.”

The county has published an amended emergency executive order clarifying where and when masks are to be worn.

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About Matthew Peddie

Matt Peddie