Dear Orange County Family –

As we continue to take precautions and overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19, it is important to remember we are also in the midst of what is expected to be an active hurricane season. Unfortunately, we have not even hit the peak of the season yet.

Tropical Storm Josephine has formed in the western Atlantic Ocean making it the tenth named storm and the earliest “J-named” storm on record. The National Hurricane Center predicts the storm is not expected to make landfall and is supposed to weaken. However, I encourage you to take this time and get “Hurricane Ready” to ensure you are prepared if we find ourselves in the path of another storm in the coming months. Visit ocfl.net/storm for tips.

Positivity Rates
Orange County is heading in the right direction with our number of positive cases. Our overall average positivity rate since the beginning of the pandemic is 11.7% while the state is nearly 13.5%. This is wonderful news, but we must continue bringing our positivity rate down, by practicing social distancing, wearing a face covering and adhering to all safety measures put in place for the protection and well-being of everyone. Visit Orange County’s daily updated dashboard at www.ocfl.net/covid19Snapshot.

Testing
Despite the positivity rate in our community trending down, please know it is still vital for people to get tested. If you have recently traveled, experienced coronavirus symptoms, or if you have possibly been exposed to someone with coronavirus, you need to get tested. Research shows the extraordinarily high number of infected people who have no symptoms is up to 40 percent. Asymptomatic people should be tested, especially those who have been around large crowds or possibly exposed.

We are fortunate to have many free testing sites all around the County that offer results in two to five days. Testing will be available at the Econ Soccer Complex on Tuesday, August 18, through Friday, August 21. Testing is now available for ages 12 and up with a parent or guardian. You can make an appointment online at www.ocfl.net/EconSoccer.  

We were the first county in Central Florida to have one of the state’s free mobile testing units. The state’s first mobile testing site was at Holden Heights Community Center yesterday and is being held at the John Bridges Community Center in Apopka today. Since April 29, Orange County Health Services has tested more than 22,000 individuals. This week the State Regional Testing site at the Orange County Convention Center hit its 100,000 testing mark. Again, whether or not you are experiencing symptoms, you are strongly encouraged to get tested.

Eviction Diversion Program
On Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to use $20 million dollars in CARES Act monies to fund a “COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program.” The program will launch on Tuesday, August 25, and is designed to help both renters and landlords. If you are interested in this innovative program, there are some key points to know:
 
  • There must be an agreement between the tenant and landlord to apply for the funds
  • The renter must be in imminent danger of eviction
  • One or more members of the household must have a documented loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Tenants must be at least two months behind on rent
 
More information about this program will be available on www.ocfl.net/OrangeCares by early next week.

Flu Season
With all of our focus on COVID-19 for the past several months, it is hard to think about anything else, especially in regard to our health. However, flu season is right around the corner. I strongly encourage you to start taking preventive measures now. As an employee, both you and your spouse have access to free flu shots at County facilities beginning September 15 through the end of the year. Check out the 2020 Flu Shot flyer for details about dates and locations. Our Wellness Nurse is also hosting a free webinar about the flu on September 15 (register now) and September 17 (register now). As a reminder, you and/or your spouse can earn 20 myOCWellness points for getting a flu shot.

Your health and wellness are a top priority and I hope you will continue to keep it a priority for yourself and your family. Orange County Government cannot provide vital services and care to our community without your support. Please know your hard work and commitment are appreciated.
Jerry L. Demings, Orange County Mayor signature