Orlando area in 'crisis mode' as COVID-19 cases spike

The mayor of Florida's Orange County, Jerry Demings, said Monday that that county, which includes Orlando, is "now in crisis mode" as COVID-19 cases surge the area. 

Demings said at a press conference Monday that after a conference call with counties and hospitals within the region, "all of them were sounding their alarms," as they are seeing “alarming numbers of critically ill individuals entering their hospitals.”

Demings noted that the positivity rate in the county for COVID-19 tests is now at 13.96 percent, which has drastically changed from the 4.28 percent reported a month earlier. The county is reportedly seeing nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 cases per day. The mayor called the numbers "extraordinary."

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“Those are the numbers we saw at the highest peak last year,” Demings said. “A thousand a day is extraordinary. We are now in crisis mode.”

Demings noted that multiple centers in the area offer COVID-19 vaccinations.

"Bottom line is that the delta variant cases are on the rise and residents must do everything possible to protect themselves and their loved ones, which includes getting vaccinated and following CDC health and safety guidelines," he said.

Victor Herrera, Orlando chief medical officer of AdventHealth, a non-profit healthcare system, moved its emergency status to “red,” which imposes additional measures like delaying elective procedures due to rising COVID-19 patients. 

“Although we are in a very tight capacity situation, we stand ready to meet the demands of our community, and all the health care needs,” Herrera said at the press conference. “We have the appropriate equipment, space and everything that is needed — even if cases continue to go up — to continue to care for COVID and not COVID-19 patients.”

Herrera said the area's spike is from a “pandemic of the unvaccinated" and urged everyone to get vaccinated.

Nearly 62 percent of people aged 12 and up in the area are vaccinated, according to data released by the county. The county's 14-day rolling positivity rate is at 13.96 percent.

"Residents are still getting vaccinated, but at a slow pace," Demings said Monday. "We need to move the needle faster."