‘Slow, gradual increase in spread’: Health leaders seeing uptick in COVID-19 cases

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — As the end of the school year and summer months approach us, health experts are warning we could be headed for another COVID-19 surge.

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The 14-day rolling positivity rate in Orange County went up dramatically on Tuesday – more than a percentage point.

“The way this current virus is behaving for the last few months, it’s been a slow, gradual increase in spread,” said Dr. Tim Hendrix with AdventHealth CentraCare.

Hendrix said he is seeing a steady increase in patients testing positive for COVID-19 at AdventHealth Centra Care locations.

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“Right now, we’re looking at about 24% positivity rate at our Centra Cares, which is a surprise,” he said.

COVID-19 cases are climbing in at least 45 states, including Florida.

In Orange County, the 14-day positivity rate was 14.7%, which is up 3.5% from the week before.

These are just the cases being reported.

READ: BA2.12.1 variant: How prevalent is it; what are its symptoms?

“The percentages can be a little bit deceiving because we’re not seeing as many people coming in for tests because there’s a lot of home testing going on out there,” Hendrix said.

The U.S. is nearing a grim milestone: 1 million COVID-19 deaths.

The National Cathedral bell rang 1,001 times to remember the lives lost during the pandemic.

Hendrix said COVID-19 is not going away any time soon.

READ: CDC restates recommendation for mask mandate on public transportation

“Being maximally vaccinated with the available vaccines is what’s protecting people and keeping people out of the hospital at this point,” Hendrix said.

Hendrix said surges could be part of the new normal.

“We’re hoping that the less severe version of this virus holds and we don’t see an increase in hospitalizations, but you never know with these variants,” he said.

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