As you are aware, our region has experienced a spike in coronavirus cases over the past two weeks.
That spike, and related measures to address it, were important topics at today's meeting of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force that I co-chair. We discussed issues facing businesses locally, examples of properties taking positive measures (as well as some lapses we have seen recently) and, most importantly, how we can help the community do better.
As noted by Dr. Raul Pino in today's meeting, "the compliance of the business community is critical" to control this increase.
In line with that, I urge each of us to do our part as a business owner, employee and resident. Visit Orlando and the Orlando Economic Partnership have been developing a new public safety campaign for the region, which we updated the Task Force on today.
The mayor will officially launch the campaign at his State of the County address Friday, and we encourage you to watch it live here to see how you can engage in it. But for now, I am excited for our destination-wide effort, which could not come at a better time.
In other important county news, below are highlights from Mayor Demings' press conference this evening.
CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO CLIMB
As testing continues, Orange County has seen another increase in positive COVID-19 cases, with 561 confirmed positive cases reported yesterday. In total, the County has tested more than 114,000 individuals, with a positivity rate is 5.3 percent. On June 1, 2020, the positivity rate was 2.8 percent. Additional COVID-19 data related to Orange County include:
- Median age in last two weeks for positivity: age 29 - Deaths: 56 - Hospitalizations today: 168 (Non-ICU:133/ICU:35)
According to Dr. Pino, Health Officer for the Department of Health in Orange County, 58 percent of all cases in Orange County have been diagnosed since June 11, 2020 -- approximately 3,764 cases. There is a correlation to the increase in cases with social activity since Memorial Day weekend.
Testing continues to be in high demand. The regional state-run free testing site at the Orange County Convention Center had a record-day in testing yesterday, with 1,426 tests administered.
Next week, Orange County Health Services will provide free testing at Downey Park from Monday, June 29, 2020 through Thursday, July 3, 2020, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. More details and additional testing sites will be available at ocfl.net/COVID19.
ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND FACE COVERINGS
The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force met earlier today, June 24, 2020 to discuss the rising number of COVID-19 cases, as well as the continued education for businesses and residents to voluntarily comply with wearing face coverings. The Task Force will meet again on a future date, yet to be announced.
Orange County has made additional clarifications to the existing Executive Order-2020-23 "Requiring Face Coverings." Edits include more exceptions and directions to this Order. The updated Order can be viewed by visiting the "Executive Orders" Tab on ocfl.net/COVID19.
It is imperative that residents wear a mask when unable to properly social distance to decrease the possibility of spreading the virus. Residents and business owners are urged to think of the safety of others.
CARES ACT FUNDING FOR RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES
Yesterday, June 23, 2020, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved changes to the Orange CARES Small Business Grant Program in order to allow more local businesses to qualify for funding. A small business is now eligible for the program under the following criteria:
- Received $50,000 or less in Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans, with proof of funding, and/or - 100 employees or less
The County has approved more than 1,000 Small Business Grant applications, which translates into approximately $10 million for small business owners.
The Individual and Family Assistance Program continues to process applications for eligibility. There are more than 30,000 applications to be reviewed, with 11,200 submitted on Monday, June 22, 2020 alone. The program anticipates processing 5,000 applications every week. As of Friday, June 19, 2020, 3,500 applications have been processed and submitted to the Comptroller for direct payment to residents. Orange County will announce the next opening date for applications soon.
For more information about both programs, including eligibility criteria, required documents, and frequently asked questions, visit ocfl.net/OrangeCARES.
WATCH THE FULL PRESS CONFERENCE
Today's press conference can be viewed in its entirety here.
Stay safe, everyone.
George Aguel President & CEO
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