Orange County COVID-19 positivity rate on the rise, mayor recommends masks inside crowded places

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — New numbers show another spike in COVID-19 cases in Orange County.

After staying below 5% for a while, the rolling positivity rate is now close to 8% in Orange County, adding nearly 500 new cases a day.

Health and city leaders say it’s time for people to stop thinking only of themselves and stop dragging out the pandemic for everyone else. Mayor Jerry Demings said that includes recommending that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks inside places where social distancing isn’t possible.

READ: Orange County officials concerned about recent uptick in COVID-19 cases

At the end of May, the Florida Department of Health stopped publicly releasing COVID-19 information on a daily basis, saying the state was returning to normal, with less than a 5% positivity rate and vaccines widely available.

That’s now changing.

READ: Concerns mount over coronavirus cases in Orange County as new school year looms

Over the last week there’s been a spike in cases, close to 500 a day. It’s a trend the county hasn’t seen since April.

The county health department said there are more cases in the 25 to 34 age group than any other, almost all of them people who are unvaccinated.

READ: City of Orlando to offer COVID-19 vaccines at several mobile sites this week

Officials said they hope anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated yet will find a location, like one of the dozen popping up in Orlando over the next two weeks, and do their part by getting vaccinated.

“It’s all about whether you want to save your life and the life of your family. 99% of the people that are being hospitalized, and certainly those who’ve died, are not vaccinated,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said.

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.