Police investigating COVID-19 parties around Florida

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. (WESH)— COVID-19 parties are reportedly attended by people who are either trying to get the virus or people who think they just won’t be impacted.

Sheriff’s officials say the crowds at the parties in Kissimmee range from teenagers to people in their 20s and early 30s, which they believe has a direct correlation to the spike in COVID-19 cases in that age bracket.

According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, the parties don’t just pose a health risk. They’ve led to drug and alcohol related incidents as well as gunfire and even a death.

“People are showing up with drugs, drinking, partying, they’re armed with firearms and they’re usually local people from Central Florida, or near the Florida areas. Unfortunately, some of these situations get violent. We’ve seen fights, we’ve seen shootings, and in one incident in April, there was a homicide,” Osceola County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer, Major Jacob Ruiz, said.

Sheriff’s officials say the worst part is when they arrive on scene to break the party up, they’re met with resistance. Some attendees have even thrown fireworks at deputies. When the deputies try to get in contact with the property owner, it’s usually a vacation home company from out of state.

“The truth of the matter is a lot of young people are not taking it serious and the rise in cases and the median age of those being infected, we can see why. Because of things like this,” Ruiz said.

The sheriff’s office is now working with vacation rental companies, with the communities where the parties are being held, and with county commissioners to create some sort of ordinance to help stop these parties from happening.

They say they need the communities help as well. If you hear of a COVID-19 party happening in your area, give them a call as soon as possible.

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