ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings on Wednesday outlined the county's next steps as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
This comes after new guidelines by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say vaccinated people should wear a mask indoors in public if they are in areas with high COVID transmission rates.
The country is averaging 50,000 new cases per day. Two weeks ago, it was only 19,000. Florida is among the states being called out for not doing enough to stop the spread.
In Central Florida, nearly one in every five tests are coming back positive for the virus. Every county across the state is in red, meaning they're high-risk areas where everyone should wear face masks indoors.
Orange County's most recent COVID data are startling, and in some sets eclipsing numbers from a year ago.
During an afternoon news conference, Mayor Jerry Demings said 163,903 total coronavirus cases have been documented since the start of the pandemic with 1,371 new cases reported on Tuesday. The 14-day positivity rate is at 15,58%, an all-time high Demings said.
Just over 62% of all county residents have received the vaccine, Demings added.
Demings noted that Orange County is participating in the National Wastewater Surveillance System in which sewage water from households and businesses can be tested for the presence of RNA from SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). The wastewater surveillance provides a 4-10 day advance warning of COVID infection through analysis of these RNA concentrations and Demings signaled that numbers could continue to surge in the coming days.
Demings has signed an internal executive order mandating that Orange County employees be fully vaccinated by the end of September and he is requiring masks once again be worn by county employees while indoors.
"We have to change what we’re doing now in order to address this new experience we’re living through now amongst the unvaccinated and the new variant," Demings said earlier,
Demings is also recommending that businesses and public sector entities mandate employees get vaccinated. He is also recommending that businesses and public sector entities require employees and patrons to wear masks indoors.
Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year issued an executive order banning local governments from mandating that businesses require masks, which is why Mayor Demings is asking businesses to voluntarily do it.
Watch FOX 35 News for the latest COVID-19 updates.