Orange County positivity rate down to 6.4%, Demings relaxes employee mask rules

ORANGE COUNTY, Florida. – Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says Orange County’s 14-day mobile positivity rate for COVID-19 is down to single digits.

Demings held a press conference Thursday afternoon to provide an update on COVID-19 in the county.

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Demings said the county’s positivity rate was 6.4%, down from 40.81% on Jan. 10 and 25.8% on Feb. 2.

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Epidemiologists say a 5% infection rate is a good indicator that COVID is under control in the community.

As a result, the county will relax mask mandates for county employees, except employees of correctional and health care facilities.

Countywide, hospitals report treating just 160 patients for COVID-19, down significantly from August, when 1,600 patients were treated.

During this time, the county’s COVID-19 testing sites will remain open, as will the vaccination site in Barnett Park. About 76% of residents aged five and older have received one or more injections of the COVID vaccine.

Demings said 2,680 people in the county have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County did not send a representative to the monthly COVID-19 update because Director of Health Dr. Raul Pino is still suspended. Demings said the health department was in communication with the county government, but there was a “deficit” in communication without Pino or a permanent director.

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Demings said he had been in communication with Pino and was doing well, but felt anxious about not knowing the fate of his work. Demings said he was “beginning to realize that he might be forced to be able to look at other job options.”

The Florida Department of Health issued this statement regarding the investigation into whether Pino violated COVID mandate rules by reprimanding Department of Health employees for not receiving the vaccine on Thursday:

“The employee in question was placed on paid administrative leave and the file was forwarded to the Office of Inspector General. The Department does not have any updates at this time.

Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond also announced that county resort tax development revenue was $22,414,000, an increase from January of last year.

It was lower than the January 2020 collections of $3.6 million.

Last month, Diamond announced that Orange County Tourism Development Tax collections broke a record in December 2021.

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Diamond said $28,244,100 was reported for the TDT collection, an increase of 164.3% from December 2020 and an increase of $2.4 million from December 2019.

January collections were lower than December collections by $5.8 million.

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