Central Florida county deemed ‘rapid riser’ for COVID-19 cases

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The White House said the only county in the entire state reporting a “rapid rise” in COVID-19 cases is here in Central Florida.

Local data scientist Dr. Eric Solomon said he’s not concerned about the new label.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

The last time the Orange County Department of Health posted about its 14-day rolling positivity rate, it had dipped to 2.38%, but that was in the middle of November, before people headed out to meet with their families on Thanksgiving.

Nearly two weeks later, county leaders said they are aware of the White House report and continue to monitor cases in the community.

READ: Coronavirus: Long-hauler patient goes home after 158 days in Colorado hospital

Orange County said they expected cases to rise after people gathered for Thanksgiving and other holiday celebrations. Officials said they are in constant communication with community partners, local hospitals, stakeholders and the health department to stay on top of all the COVID-19 developments.

Florida continues to be among states with the lowest rate of COVID-19 cases with mostly “moderate” level of transmission.

READ: States ramp up contact tracing efforts as delta and omicron cases rise

“The number of virus cases in Florida was flat, really not much change,” Solomon said.

He said after the Thanksgiving stretch we are seeing a slight creep up in cases, but nothing too significant or scary.

“Hopefully, this is a blip. It’s not part of a trend,” Solomon said.

READ: International travelers must show negative COVID-19 test 24-hours before coming to the U.S.

To be designated as a “rapid riser” area, Solomon said you have to have a significant increase in the number of cases, and a significant increase in the percentage of cases.

Over the last three weeks, Orange County has reported 673 cases, 718 cases, and 905 cases.

READ: Omicron concerns drive Central Florida residents to get COVID-19 vaccine boosters

While Orange is the only county in the state with this classification, other counties like Dade and Broward are seeing way more weekly cases than Orange. But they didn’t get labeled “rapid riser” because their percent increase wasn’t as sharp.

“Frankly I’m not worried about this,” Solomon said.

The county said it is continuing to encourage residents to get vaccinated or receive their booster shots. The vaccination and testing location at Barnett Park will remain open through the end of the year.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.