Orange County mayor recommends masks for vaccinated people as COVID-19 cases spike

Coronavirus

(Getty Images for WFLA)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) — Orange County officials released new information regarding the positivity rate of COVID-19 in the area, among others things, during a briefing on Monday.

The positivity rate has jumped significantly over the past two weeks, officials said. It is now 7.78%. That’s up from 4.28% two weeks ago, WESH 2 News learned. Also, Mayor Jerry Demings is recommending that both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents return to wearing face masks in crowded, indoor settings.

According to the county’s health officer, Dr. Raul Pino, on Sunday alone, there were 400 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Orange County and every one of them was an unvaccinated patient.

There have also been eight new COVID-19 deaths in Orange County since last Thursday and all of those patients were unvaccinated.

The rise in cases has put Orange County in a high-risk category by the CDC for community transmission of COVID-19 and the plea now from local officials is to those who still have not gotten vaccinated, to do it.

Because of the rise in cases, Demings is returning the county to a status that recommends that everyone, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear masks when they are in crowded settings where social distancing is not possible. It is not a mandate, it is a recommendation, and when asked what that may mean for schools this fall, the mayor said he was only referring to very crowded settings where people may be just inches apart.

The school board votes on a mask policy for the fall at its meeting on Tuesday. The mayor said his intention is not to return to a mask mandate. To prevent that, the plea was for everyone who can to get vaccinated.

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