September 27th 2020: Orange County Florida COVID-19 Report

It’s September 27th, 2020, how is Orange County Florida doing with COVID-19?

The rate of decline in new cases had grown sluggish at the end of August, plateaued and then had a slight rise in September.   Orange County is averaging 147 confirmed new cases per day over the last two weeks, compared to an average of 14 new cases per day in the first two weeks of April, so the number of people infected each day is still about 10 times higher than in April.

(You can ignore that 7 day hump at the beginning of September….a large lab reported a backlog of positive tests all at once.)

The major surge of deaths from the June/July peaks is over, with only 79 people dead from Covid-19 in Orange County in the last month (much better than the 190 in the prior month) and the total death count is at 445. We are still averaging 2.57 deaths per day over the last two weeks.

A Positive Sign
A positive sign is that the percent positivity rate on tests has hovered below the 5% goal (was only above the 5% goal for 1 of the last 14 days), indicating that community spread is generally at a manageable level. [However, the level is around 150 new cases a day…which equates to 1-2 deaths per day in 3-4 weeks.]

How many people have been infected

The US Census bureau estimated that Orange County Florida has a population of 1,393,452 people (July 1st, 2019).     The Florida Department of health reports today that 39,973 cases of COVID-19 (confirmed by either a positive PCR or Antigen test result) have occurred in Orange County so far.     That means at least 2.9 percent (39973/1393452   =.0286863 ) of the population has been infected.

The actual number is likely to be higher, as many infections are asymptomatic, or not confirmed with a lab test.   Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC estimates that the number of people actually infected may be up to 10 times higher than confirmed with lab tests, putting an upper bound of 29% of the population of Orange County as already having been infected.   A more likely number is around 10-15% of the population has been infected and has antibodies to SARS-COV-19.

How many people have been hospitalized or died

Of those confirmed infected, 1,332 or 3 percent ( 1332 / 39973 = .0333) have been hospitalized, and 445 have died.   The death toll is currently 1 percent of all detected cases (445 / 39973 =   .0111325144).

Florida average percentages for hospitalizations and deaths are 6.3% and 2.03% so Orange County has done better than the rest of the state of Florida for hospitalizations and mortality so far.

Median Age is declining

Last month the median age of those infected was 37, while 31 was the median age over the last 7 days.   [The median age of Florida residents is 42.2 ] This may be due to the fact that many colleges in Florida are back for the fall semester.

Orange County schools (K-12) have re-opened with 69,000 face to face students (33% of their total 212,000 students). Most of the infections in schools appear to be from community spread outside of the schools. So far they have only announced 238 confirmed cases on their dashboard.   These 238 cases account for only 5% of the   4,728 new cases this month.

Predictions for next month:
Ron DeSantis has moved Florida to Level 3, allowing all businesses to open at 100% capacity.   Despite this change at the state level, I suspect that Orange County will maintain their mask mandate.  

I do not believe that our case numbers will go lower than they currently are.   I expect that the number of new cases will at least remain steady at near 150 a day / 5,000 a month (Leading to 2-3 deaths per day or 60-90 in the next month).   It is however a distinct possibility that we may start to see significant growth in these numbers by the middle of October.

[Charts/Numbers used can be found in this open document spreadsheet: orange_county_florida ]

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