COVID-19 positivity rate spikes in Orange County as cases are reported among children in Central Florida summer camps

click to enlarge Central Florida saw a massive rise in COVID-19 positivity rates as an outbreak was reported at a Brevard County summer camp. - Adobe
Central Florida saw a massive rise in COVID-19 positivity rates as an outbreak was reported at a Brevard County summer camp.

Orange County's COVID-19 positivity rate rose to meet the rest of Central Florida in the last week, hitting 12.3% in the week ending July 15 per the Florida Department of Health. The news of the continued climb in coronavirus cases comes as nearby Brevard County reported a startling outbreak among grade-schoolers and staff at a summer camp.

In all, 11 cases were reported at the Brevard County Public Schools summer camp held at Viera Elementary. While not all of those falling ill were students, officials are not reporting how many of the cases were in children. For the week ending July 15, Brevard County saw a 16% positivity rate among COVID-19 tests. The county reported over 1,400 new cases last week.

All counties in the Orlando metro area saw positivity rates in the teens last week. Seminole County had a rate of 15.9% with over 1,100 new cases. Osceola County reported 3,500 new cases and a rate of 12.7%. Lake County had over 1,600 new cases and a positivity rate above 12%. Volusia County reported 2,300 cases with an alarming rate of 16.5%.

The uptick in cases comes as the Delta variant of coronavirus sweeps across many regions of the United States. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state legislature passed executive orders and laws effectively barring local governments from issuing emergency mask mandates going forward, leaving local leaders at an impasse over how to handle the coming wave.

For a sense of how far beyond the former metrics of safety Central Florida has traveled, remember that a 14-day positivity rate of 5% was the threshold for safely ending masking and social distancing orders in Orange County.

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