Orange County, Florida hospitals are reaching capacity as officials report a surge in COVID-19 cases

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Orange County, Florida — home to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando — is currently in "crisis mode" after experiencing a surge in cases of COVID-19.

Orange County Chief Executive Officer Jerry L. Demings, who is referred to as the mayor of the county, addressed the public on Monday to discuss the sudden increase of coronavirus cases in the area, stressing the community's need to rally together and be safe.

"These numbers are extraordinary. We are seeing nearly 1,000 new cases in Orange County daily. Those are the numbers we saw at the highest peak last year," Demings said during a press conference. "So a thousand a day is extraordinary. We are now in crisis mode."

Orange County, which is also home to Universal Studios Orlando Resort and Seaworld Orlando, reported 3,893 new cases of the coronavirus in the last 14 days, according to new data from the OC Health Care Agency. Demings stated that central Florida hospitals are now approaching capacity. 

The spike comes a month after the local amusement parks eased their mask mandates for attendees. Demings explained that those who are traveling during the summer season should get tested and allow time for isolation.  

He then urged members of the community to get vaccinated and continue taking precautions regarding social distancing. Florida currently has fully vaccinated 48.5% of its residents, according to data from the CDC, and the county has 61% of all residents over age 12 who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

"Many of you cannot afford to get sick," Demings continued, noting the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. New data from the CDC revealed that the Delta variant is now the most common form of the COVID-19 virus circulating in the United States.

"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," Demings continued. "We, as a community, need to work together to slow the spread."

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