Officials encourage COVID testing amid rising cases and coming holidays

Even though we've been living with COVID-19 for many months, Orange County officials said it is not the time to let our guard down, with infections rising around the state and the country.

“I said at the beginning of the week, we would likely surpass the 50,000 positive cases within Orange County this week, and we have,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings at a news conference.

Demings said especially with the holidays coming up, it was important to stay safe and get tested.

RELATED: COVID-10 treatment could have ties to sharks

“So as a suggestion to those who will be gathering with family members,” he said, “if you're gonna have family live in the area, or going to have family coming from outside the area, encourage your family members to get tested.”

The county has seen about 4,300 new COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, and so far more than 600 people have died here from the disease.

RELATED: Students at second Orange County school don't receive message to quarantine

“Recently here in Florida, as of November, we've had around 7,000 a day. That's a number that gets close to early-August, end-of-July. I think that's caught a lot of people's attention,” said Dr. Jason Littleton, an Orlando physician.

With the possibility of a vaccine not too far away, Danny Banks, OC’s Public Safety Director, said they were getting ready.

“Certain subsets of the population, that may be our healthcare officials, first responders, those in assisted living facilities who are more at-risk groups. Perhaps those might be the first to get the vaccination.”

In the meantime, officials continue to call for testing. Both rapid antigen tests and PCR tests are available at the Orange County Convention Center testing site. Officials said nobody who showed up there for testing would be turned away, but they strongly encourage anyone who plans to arrive to register online first at