October 28th 2020: Orange County Florida COVID-19 Report

It’s October 28th, 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, and continues to be on a slight upward trend in October. Orange County is averaging 224 confirmed new cases per day over the last two weeks (compared to 147 in the same period in September). Compared to an average of 14 new cases per day in the first two weeks of April, the number of people infected each day is 16 times higher than in April.

We had 105 people die from Covid-19 in Orange County in the last month (slightly worse than the 79 in the prior month) and the total death count is at 549.

Percent Positivity

The percent positivity metric has been above 5% in 11 of the last 14 days, indicating that community spread is not under control.

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 45,492 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 3.2 percent (45492 / 1393452 = .03264698) 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 32% of the population of Orange County as already having been infected.

How many people have been hospitalized or died

Of those confirmed infected, 1,576 or 3.5 percent ( 1576 / 45492   = .03464345 ) have been hospitalized, and 549 have died.   The death toll is currently 1.2 percent of all detected cases ( 549 / 45492 = .01206805 ).

Florida average percentages for hospitalizations and deaths are 6.2% and 2.1% so Orange County has done better than the rest of the state of Florida for hospitalizations and mortality so far.

Median Age is lower than Florida

Last month the median age of those infected was 31, while 30 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) currently have 85,000 face to face students (41% of their total 206,000 students). Most of the infections in schools appear to be from community spread outside of the schools.   [A few high schools have pivoted to LaunchED (online schooling) for temporarily periods after mass spread events.]

So far they have only announced 563 confirmed cases on their dashboard.   Last month they had 238, so they have gained 325 cases this month.

Predictions for next month:
Case numbers have risen slowly but steadily this month. I expect them to continue to rise. Due to the currently low median age of the infected, I am hopeful that deaths will continue to remain below an average of 5 a day (the average for the last 30 days was 3.5 deaths a day).

However, given the cooling (and drying) weather combined with the exponential nature of viral growth and general fatigue among the population, I am very concerned that Orange County will experience a “knee” in the exponential growth curve and see a significant increase in cases and deaths over the next 30 days.   I would be extremely surprised to see a downturn in the number of new cases over the next month.

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

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