ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – While the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Orange County has decreased, the number of reported cases has risen in the last few days, Orange County mayor Jerry Demings said during a press conference on Wednesday.
The latest fourteen-day rollout for cases in the county is 5.99%, a 1.89-point increase from the mayor’s last press conference. “The numbers are not trending in the right direction,” Demings said.
He pointed out that Orange County received an increase in travelers during Independence Day weekend, and while that was a “welcome change from last year, showing signs that the economy is recovering,” he reminded that COVID variants were on the rise.
Demings reminded Orange residents that the Barnett Park vaccination center offers both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines free of charge.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 149,674 positive cases and 1,362 deaths due to COVID.
“The more individuals will get vaccinated, the better protected we are,” he added.
Doctor Raúl Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health for Orange County, added that a recent study in the county revealed that 95% of our hospitalizations and 95% of all deaths were among unvaccinated people.
“Those deaths could have been preventable if they had been vaccinated,” Dr. Pino said. “Numbers are increasing in all directions. They not alarming but they are trending, which means they will continue if we don’t do something.”
Pino estimates that 60% of the Orange County population has been vaccinated, and urged people who have not yet gotten the shot to do so, regardless of their reasons.
“Just remember that in other places people don’t have this”, he said. “My mother back in Cuba is in her eighties, my two sisters live there, too, and they can’t be vaccinated. I wish I could fly there and get them vaccinated but I can’t.”
“There are people who don’t want to get it because they are scared, they are misinformed, or political reasons. Please, please get vaccinated,” he added.
Pino also assured people who avoided the vaccine because of their illegal status in the country that they did not share any information with any law enforcement agency.
“I give you my word, your information will not be shared with any law enforcement agency,” he said.
When Florida National News asked Mayor Demings about changes in vaccination procedures in light of Tropical Storm Elsa, he noted that Elsa has not hindered vaccination programs, “at least for the time being,” saying a “dress rehearsal” for hurricane response had turned out well.
“But we will be in consultation with Dr. Pino and hospitals about the next steps if changes need to be made,” he added.
“The solution for preventing the virus spread is simply to get vaccinated,” Mayor Demings reiterated. “Pay attention to your physicians. The vaccines are widely available now. There is no reason not to get the vaccine.”
Assassination of the Haitian President
Mayor Demings also took the chance to address the assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse, during an armed assault on his residence in Port-au-Prince.
“It is a despicable act,” he said.
Demings added that he had been in contact with representatives of the Haitian community in Orange County and extended his condolences to Moïse’s family and all Haitians.