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‘We haven’t seen the worst:’ Orange County hasn’t reached peak in coronavirus cases, mayor says

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Days after a countywide stay-at-home order was issued, the number of novel coronavirus cases in Orange County continues to climb.

According to Monday morning’s numbers from the Florida Department of Health, 293 cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Orange County, making it the county with the highest number of confirmed cases in Central Florida. Officials said four coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Orange County.

In a news conference Monday afternoon, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said that number had likely already surpassed 300, but updated numbers from the state won’t be released until Monday evening.

[RELATED: Orange County makes changes to stay-at-home order amid coronavirus outbreak | Everything you need to know about Orange County’s stay-at-home order]

Demings said that based on conversations with medical professionals, like Dr. Raul Pino, the director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, the current number of cases reflects the spread of COVID-19 that took place before the countywide stay-at-home order was issued last week.

Pino said Orlando is the state’s fourth-highest city in Florida when it comes to the number of cases of COVID-19.

[CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: Interactive map shows Florida cities with coronavirus cases]

According to Pino, Winter Garden is also seeing high numbers. Those cities, as well as the Orlando International Airport, will be further analyzed to determine if they’re considered “clusters,” where several cases have been reported in a certain area. Pino said an eighth TSA agent at OIA tested positive for COVID-19.

That data is expected to be analyzed this week, according to Pino.

Pino also said an additional four people died at area hospitals over the weekend due to issues related to the coronavirus. Because those victims were not residents of Orange County, they will not be included in the county’s death toll.

The mayor said he hopes the measures that are now in place to slow the spread of the virus will prevent an increase in cases in the future but still doesn’t believe the county has reached its peak to begin seeing a decrease in the number of cases reported.

He said when the county does finally reach its peak number of cases, leaders want that to be at a manageable number in hopes of not overwhelming area hospitals.

Demings said county officials are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.

The stay-at-home order, which went into effect Thursday night, is expected to last two weeks, according to Demings.

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump extended social distancing guidelines through the end of April. Demings said it’s possible that the countywide executive order could be extended but that officials want to analyze more data before making that call.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina on Monday echoed what Demings said in an update Friday, that most people are abiding by the order, which the mayor says was put in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Mina said no arrests were made over the weekend but that deputies did receive reports that some businesses that are not considered to be essential under Demings’ executive order were still operating. Mina said deputies responded to those businesses, which later shut down to adhere to the order.

Overall, on a scale of 1-10, Mina rated Orange County’s efforts to stay home at a 7 or 8 but said that residents and businesses should strive to do better.

“We’re at a ‘C’ or a ‘B’ but we want to be at an ‘A+,’” Mina said.

Anyone who thinks a business is operating when it shouldn’t be under the stay-at-home order is encouraged to report it to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at 407-836-4357.

Demings said that in order to protect themselves, residents should act as though everyone they come in contact with has the virus.

At last check, 5,704 cases of Florida-related cases of COVID-19 and 71 deaths have been reported, according to state health officials. Most of the state’s cases have been reported in South Florida, numbers show.

Click here for a full breakdown of the numbers.

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter or go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.

Copyright 2020 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.


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We need help to find a way to prevent COVID-19

COVID-19 studies are enrolling now.

Those who qualify:*

  • may receive the investigational vaccine or placebo at no cost
  • may receive compensation for time and travel
  • may receive free testing for COVID-19