Orlando Sentinel - - Obituaries - mco­mas@or­lando sen­, ry­gille­spie@or­lando sen­

bor­ders the north side of the UCF cam­pus.

UCF has re­ported 78 cases linked to the univer­sity, nearly all of them from stu­dents. Nearly three-quar­ters of those cases have been re­ported since June 1, in­clud­ing 20 dur­ing the past week alone.

“Many of the cases in­volve stu­dents whose so­cial out­ings have over­lapped,” spokesman Chad Binette said in an e-mail. “The vast ma­jor­ity of the cases have in­volved stu­dents who are ei­ther asymp­to­matic or ex­pe­ri­enced only mi­nor symp­toms.”

Those num­bers led alarmed Semi­nole of­fi­cials to move the sched­uled “pop up” test site from Lake Mary to Car­il­lon Ele­men­tary be­cause of the large num­ber of young adults who live in the area near cam­pus.

County health of­fi­cials said at least some of the new cases there among young peo­ple can be tied to nearby bars and restau­rants.

The Knight’s Pub, a bar across from the UCF cam­pus, closed shortly af­ter re­open­ing af­ter a pa­tron re­ported symp­toms, the owner con­firmed to the Sen­tinel.

“Peo­ple are get­ting to­gether,” said Donna Walsh, Semi­nole of­fi­cer for the Florida Depart­ment of Health. “And when you come close to­gether, and you don’t prac­tice so­cial dis­tanc­ing, and you don’t wear a mask, it’s likely that the res­pi­ra­tory droplets and the virus will spread.”

To lure young adults to get tested, county of­fi­cials of­fered free masks and $10 food vouch­ers that can be redeemed at most gro­cery stores.

Alan Har­ris, Semi­nole’s emer­gency man­age­ment di­rec­tor, said he was “shocked, but in a good way” at the large num­ber of peo­ple who showed up to get tested. Although, most peo­ple who are tested do not have the virus, the idea is to find those in­di­vid­u­als who test pos­i­tive so they can be iso­lated.

Even peo­ple who don’t show symp­toms can spread the virus to oth­ers.

“It is our hope that we will iden­tify any­one who is sick in this area and pre­vent the spread of the virus and de­crease the num­bers from go­ing up any­more,” Har­ris said.

Richard Tunno, of Oviedo, waited in his car along Lock­wood Boule­vard to get tested. He was not sick.

How­ever, he plans to his visit his el­derly father in

Pitts­burgh next week and wants to make sure he’s not car­ry­ing the virus.

“I just want to make sure I’m safe,” said Tunno.

At a sim­i­lar test­ing site in Or­lando at the En­gel­wood Neigh­bor­hood Cen­ter near Se­moran Boule­vard, Or­lando Mayor Buddy Dyer said he hoped res­i­dents would re­turn to wear­ing masks in pub­lic.

Wed­nes­day, state data showed 11.9% of 1,154 tests con­ducted in Orange County came back pos­i­tive the day prior, the high­est per­cent­age since April 8 and the fifth high­est rate of pos­i­tives the county has seen since March 20.

“I don’t just base [the rise in cases] on the fact that we’re do­ing more test­ing,” Dyer said. “The per­cent­age of pos­i­tive tests have gone up.”

Data re­leased Wed­nes­day showed higher pos­i­tive rates across Cen­tral Florida. Lake County, which re­ported 54 new cases Tues­day, had a pos­i­tive rate of 11.7%, its high­est per­cent­age since at least April 17. Lake County is also deal­ing with an out­break at its jail, where of­fi­cials have said 100 in­mates and staff have tested pos­i­tive.

Semi­nole added 40 new cases on Wed­nes­day with 10.7% of tests re­turn­ing pos­i­tive and Osce­ola found 22 new pos­i­tive cases with 8.5% of tests re­turn­ing pos­i­tive.

In all, Florida re­ported 2,610 new cases Wed­nes­day, with the statewide death toll eclips­ing 3,000. In Orange, Semi­nole, Lake and Osce­ola, 99 peo­ple have died since the start of the pan­demic.

“We do know that wear­ing masks helps cur­tail the spread of the virus,” Dyer said. “I don’t know how it’s got­ten po­lit­i­cal in wear­ing masks. It’s just sen­si­ble ad­vice from our health­care pro­fes­sion­als. It shouldn’t be a par­ti­san is­sue one way or an­other.”

De­spite the ris­ing num­ber of pos­i­tive cases, Semi­nole and Orange of­fi­cials said they have no plans yet to en­act new so­cial dis­tanc­ing or stay-at-home or­ders. The key, Har­ris said, is to ed­u­cate peo­ple to wear a mask, prac­tice so­cial dis­tanc­ing and wash their hands.

“Semi­nole county con­tin­ues to be­lieve that we can re­build the econ­omy and be safe at the ex­act same time,” Har­ris said. “These are not mu­tu­ally exclusive con­cepts. They can be done to­gether.”


A pa­tient drives up to a test­ing site re­cently.

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