'We are now in crisis mode': Orange County Mayor Demings urges unvaccinated to get the shot

As coronavirus cases continue to rise in Florida, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings hosted a briefing to discuss the latest case numbers, hospitalizations and the need for everyone who hasn't already been vaccinated to get the shot.

"Many of you cannot afford to get sick," Mayor Demings said. "Many of you do not want to get sick. You do not want to infect your family members, just like me. So, the time really is now  like no other time in our community for you to step up to the plate and get vaccinated."

Orange County is seeing roughly 1,000 COVID-19 cases a day, according to the county.

The county's 14-day positivity rate is over 14%. On June 28, the rate was 4.28%.

The total number of positive cases in Orange County from the start of the pandemic is now 160,222 and 1,383 deaths, according to more data from the county.

Mayor Demings urged his community to get vaccinated, wear facial coverings, socially distance, wash their hands and follow CDC guidelines.

AdventHealth is also seeing a significant and swift increase in COVID-19 cases in all of its hospitals throughout Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Polk, Volusia and Flagler counties. 

It is now in "red status," which means new precautionary measures like elective surgeries are being postponed to keep hospital beds open. 

Additionally, the daily positivity rate at AdventHealth Centra Care remains at near all-time highs, according to officials.

As of Monday morning, AdventHealth had 862 COVID patients in its facilities. Officials said that number is near the peak of about 900 cases the health system saw in January.

Officials with AdventHealth also warned at the meeting that its hospital system is seeing more pregnant women contracting the virus, many of whom are very sick, according to AdventHealth Orlando Chief Medical Officer Dr. Victor Herrera.

He said health officials are looking to see if that is somehow related to the Delta coronavirus variant. 

He, like other leaders and health officials in Orange County, said patients getting sick are mostly non-vaccinated individuals.

Orange County Government’s Health Services will continue to offer free drive-thru COVID-19 testing and vaccines at Barnett Park through Aug. 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days per week.

Both rapid and PCR/molecular tests are offered.

People who receive the vaccine will receive free masks and hand sanitizer.

For more information, visit ocfl.net/Testing and ocfl.net/vaccines.