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Coronavirus Orlando news updates

News updates from Orange County and the State of Florida

We’re following coronavirus Orlando news reports, wider reports from Florida, and news from the Orange County Convention Center.

AVIXA updates InfoComm COVID requirements to include vaccines/negative tests
In light of recent recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), InfoComm 2021 will now require masks to be worn by all participants including attendees, exhibitors, vendors, and AVIXA staff regardless of COVID‑19 vaccination status. We have re-instituted a six‑foot social distancing guideline across the show including the exhibit hall, meeting rooms, and education sessions. We are also evaluating on‑site testing, vaccine validation, as well as other safety and precautionary measures that will allow us to get back together in person in the safest environment possible. READ MORE

TSA extends mask mandate to January
The Transportation Security Administration will extend its US federal transportation mask mandate through January 18, according to a source familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity because the announcement has not been made public. The mandate was set to expire on September 13.

AdventHealth Central Florida (including Orlando) moves hospitals from “black” to “red” status; deferred surgeries to resume
September 1, 2021 — From the press release: “While AdventHealth is still treating a significant number of COVID-19 patients, admissions continue to slow, leading to an improved outlook,” the release read. “AdventHealth will continue to monitor hospital census and make adjustments as necessary to continue to care for everyone in the community.While we are experiencing a downward trend, hospital capacity continues to be at extremely high levels. Our hospitals are designed in such a way that spaces are flexible and expandable. AdventHealth has an extensive health care system in place in Central Florida so we can locate patients to the facility that best matches the level of care they need.”

Florida hospitalization down from surge record; deaths remain at record highs
September 20, 2021 — The last report from the Florida Hospital Association showed a downward trend with 9,917 people hospitalized with the coronavirus and 9,313 new cases down significantly from recent pandemic records for the state and returning to January peak levels. Reported seven-day average of deaths are an escalated 445 per day, a significant jump over last week and a new pandemic high. Florida is now the 10th hardest hit state for loss of life.

 

Coronavirus Orlando: Orange County update
September 17, 2021 — Orange County reported a seven-day average of cases at 667 cases per day, down by half from the pandemic record of 1362 seven-day average in the current peak. Average daily cases have returned to January Peak levels.

Coronavirus Orlando: New cases Orange County (reported weekly)

A multitude of events are planned for August and beyond.

Visit the Orange County Convention Center site

See the Orange County Convention Center Events Calendar

Orange County Convention Center Hosts Safe Events With GBAC STAR Accreditation (Facility Executive)
Learn how the Orange County Convention Center hosts safe events with the help of GBAC STAR accreditation. Read more.

Florida hits new hospitalization record with nearly 17,000 hospitalized (FHA)
August 19, 2021 — A new report from the Florida Hospital Association showed 16,973 people hospitalized with the coronavirus, up over 1000 cases from Monday, and more than 165 percent higher than this time last year. Reported seven-day average of deaths is 201 per day, a pandemic high.

Florida hits another hospitalization record with over 15,000 hospitalized (Fox 13)
August 11, 2021 — The Florida Hospital Association is reporting another record number of patients hospitalized with the virus, up from a record 14,000 set two days prior.

Florida COVID update: hospitalizations hit new record
August 10, 2021 —  On Tuesday, 14,787 people were hospitalized for Covid-19, 145 percent more than during the state’s previous peak in July 2020, according to the Florida Hospital Association. Nearly 90 percent of the state’s intensive care beds were in use, and 85 percent of all patient beds were filled, the group said.

MegaCon issues mask mandate for OCCC
One of the biggest shows on the Orange County Convention Center’s annual schedule rolls into Central Florida this week with organizers of MegaCon Orlando expecting 100,000 pop-culture fans. Fans who often dress as superheroes, zombies, wookiees or other Star Wars figures also must wear a face-covering this year, organizers said. Masks are mandatory, according to MegaCon Orlando’s website.

Florida COVID update: Hospitalizations approach 14,000 (Miami Herald)
August 9, 2021-The 13,793 novel coronavirus patients in 251 hospitals in Sunday’s HHS update represented a relatively small spike from the 13,747 reported Saturday. Similarly small was the increase in intensive care unit beds used for COVID-19 patients, 2,767 from 2,750. HHS reports that 24.4% of all Florida hospital patients are classified as COVID-19 patients — compared with 8.7% nationally. As for ICU beds, 43.8% of those are taken up by COVID-19 patients in Florida, more than double the national average of 19.4%.

Coronavirus Orlando: Orange County mayor declared local state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 hospitalizations, infections; new state law limits emergency powers of local governments (ClickOrlando.com)
On July, 28th, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings signed an executive order Wednesday declaring a local state of emergency. In addition, 4,200, non-union county employees. will have until Aug. 31, to get their first vaccine and second shot, if applicable, by end of September. For the approximately 3,450 union employees, the requirement will “be negotiated with a bargaining unit.” Florida SB 1924, which was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in May requires that local governments must “satisfy demanding and continuous justifications” for emergency orders to extend in 7-day increments, and may only last a maximum of 42 days. SB 1924 also gives the governor the power to invalidate a local emergency order. Orlando’s last reported Covid death was on June 2.

Florida COVID update: State leads the nation in new adult and child hospitalizations
August 5, 2021 — Florida hospitals are treating 12,888 patients including 143 children as of Thursday according to data reported to the CDC. New hospitalizations are at pandemic records for the state. Deaths have been reported at an average 68 per day for the past seven days, far below the previous surge peaks last summer and in January of 2021.

Coronavirus Orlando: Food service convention cancels at Orange County Convention Center

coronavirus orlando cancellation

August 4, 2021 — The North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers has called off its gathering at the Orange County Convention Center, according to its event website. The NAFEM Show was scheduled in Orlando for Aug. 26 through Aug. 28 and attracted approx 22,000 attendees in 2019. There remain multiple events scheduled at OCCC through August and beyond including next week’s Megacon.

Florida COVID update: 16,935 new cases, new hospitalizations at new high at over 12,000
August 4, 2021 — Florida reported 16,935 new COVID cases, 140 deaths and more than 12,000 people hospitalized in the state as of Tuesday, the third day in a row of record-breaking COVID hospitalizations. according to data from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services as of 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Florida’s COVID-19 hospitalizations reach all-time high of 11,515 patients (Fox 13)
August 3, 2021 —
The HHS reports a record 11,863 inpatient beds across Florida are being used for COVID-19 patients as of Monday’s data. That’s an increase of 1,656 since Sunday. Approximately 2,400 patients are in intensive care.

Coronavirus Orlando: 59th Assemblies of God and National Youth Council is in person and livestreaming from OCCC
The 59th Assemblies of Good General Council and the annual National Youth Convention are being held simultaneously at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando today through Aug 6 and will have both an in-person and online component. The in-person gathering typically attracts over 20,000 attendees and is one of the largest OCCC events scheduled for August. Assemblies of God adherents unable to attend the event can still experience all the services and sessions online.

Florida Breaks Record for COVID-19 Hospitalizations (Associated Press)
August 1, 2021 –– One day after it recorded the most new daily cases since the start of the pandemic, Florida on Sunday broke a previous record for current hospitalizations set more than a year ago. Florida is now leading the nation in per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19 with over 10,000 people hospitalized

Florida sees a new record with more than 21,000 COVID-19 cases on Saturday
July 30, 2021 — Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

coronavirus orlando cancellationAdventHealth sees highest number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at about 1,000 (ClickOrlando.com)
Officials with Central Florida’s largest hospital system said there are about 1,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday morning. AdventHealth officials provided the update as Florida sees an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Dr. Vincent Hsu, the executive director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiologist, said the current wave the hospital system is seeing has passed numbers seen in January during peak hospitalizations. AdventHealth moved to black status on Thursday July 29th, which means hospital officials will defer non-emergency surgeries at hospitals throughout the Central Florida division.

Coronavirus Orlando: Global surgical conference cancels expo at Orange County Convention Center due to COVID-19 surge (ClickOrlando.com)
A large medical expo has decided to cancel its conference at the Orange County Convention Center days before health professionals were set to meet. The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses was scheduled to host its global surgical expo from Aug. 7 through Aug. 10. In a statement on its website, AORN announced it would be calling off the conference, citing the “dramatic surge” in coronavirus cases in Orange County.

coronavirus orlando

Coronavirus Orlando: Walt Disney World reinstates mask mandate for all guests indoors and on transportation starting Friday July 30th. (WDW)
Beginning July 30, face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) while indoors and in Disney buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status. This includes upon entering and throughout all attractions. Face coverings remain optional for all Guests in outdoor common areas, including outdoor queues, attractions, and theaters.

Coronavirus Orlando theme park status and requirements
SeaWorld Orlando (open)
As of July 30, SeaWorld is not closing. The park is open year round in 2021, but park hours may vary. Social distancing also is recommended.
• Are face masks required? Recommended indoors for all guests
• Is proof of vaccination necessary? No.
According to the park’s website, “Based on the recently announced guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, we are modifying our policy regarding face coverings at SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, and Discovery Cove. Face coverings will no longer be required for guests and Ambassadors who are fully vaccinated in accordance with CDC guidance. We will not require our guests to provide proof of vaccination but ask everyone to respectfully comply with our revised policy.” Visit seaworld.com/orlando.

Aquatica (open through November)
Social distancing is recommended.
• Are face masks required? Recommended indoors for all guests
• Is proof of vaccination necessary? No. (See above entry. The face mask recommendations for SeaWorld apply to Aquatica and Discovery Cove.) Visit aquatica.com/orlando.

Discovery Cove (open)
Social distancing is recommended.
• Are face masks required? Recommended indoors for all guests
• Is proof of vaccination necessary? No. (See SeaWorld Orlando entry. The face mask recommendations for SeaWorld apply to Aquatica and Discovery Cove.) Visit discoverycove.com/orlando.

Busch Gardens (open)
Social distancing is recommended.
• Are face masks required? No.
• Is proof of vaccination necessary? No.
According to the park’s website, “Based on the recently announced guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, we are modifying our policy regarding face coverings at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island. Face coverings will no longer be required for guests and Ambassadors who are fully vaccinated in accordance with CDC guidance. We will not require our guests to provide proof of vaccination but ask everyone to respectfully comply with our revised policy.” Visit buschgardens.com/tampa.

Adventure Island (open)
Social distancing is recommended.
• Are face masks required? No.
• Is proof of vaccination necessary? No. (See above entry. The face mask recommendations for Busch Gardens apply to Adventure Island.) Visit adventureisland.com.

Kennedy Space Center (open)
Social distancing is recommended.
• Are face masks required? Yes for indoors regardless of vaccination status, not required for outdoors.
• Is proof of vaccination necessary? No.
On July 29, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex updated its mask policy. Guests, including those who have been vaccinated, must wear face coverings in all indoor locations at the visitor complex. This includes attractions, attraction queues, show viewing areas, restaurants and bus transportation to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, according to a news release. However, face masks are not required outdoors.
• Are there other precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Yes. The news release states the visitor complex will have limited guest attendance and increased sanitization and disinfection measures. Visit kennedyspacecenter.com.

Gatorland (open)
Social distancing is recommended.
• Are face masks required? No, but they are recommended.
The park’s website states: “In accordance with new state guidelines, face masks are recommended for guests within the park, but they are no longer mandatory.” Visit gatorland.com.

Weeki Wachee Springs (closed)
According to a notice posted at floridastateparks.org/WeekiWachee: “Effective July 30, 2021: The mermaid shows and wilderness cruise at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park are temporarily unavailable. Guests are welcome to visit Buccaneer Bay Water Park. Kayaking, picnic areas, concessions and the park gift shop are available. It is anticipated that the mermaid shows will resume in mid-August.” Visit weekiwachee.com.

Legoland (open)
Social distancing is recommended.
• Are face masks required? Unknown.
While there was a message online about COVID-19 precautions, there is no mention about face masks. There is an extensive section about rescheduling a vacation at the resort due to hurricanes. In reference to the coronavirus, the site does state: “As the health and safety of guests and employees at Legoland Florida Resort continues to be paramount, the resort’s extensive plan of enhanced health and safety measures includes cashless payments, social distancing practices and enhanced cleaning regimes. The resort will also have adjusted operating hours and event content based on the reopening changes to ensure we’re making it safe to play.” Visit legoland.com/florida.

Disney World (open)
All four theme parks — Disney World, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios — are open. Social distancing is recommended at each site.
• Are face masks required? Yes for indoors for all guests, not required for outdoors.
• Is proof of vaccination necessary? No.
This week, Disney announced guests ages 2 and older will have to wear face coverings for all indoor attractions and on Disney transportation. Face masks will remain optional outdoors. The theme parks had lifted their indoor mask mandates on June 15. While proof of vaccination was not required, masks were recommended for those who are not vaccinated. “Face coverings are required for all guests (ages 2 and up) while indoors and in Disney buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status,”  according to a July 28 update on the Disney website. “This includes upon entering and throughout all attractions.” Visit disneyworld.disney.go.com.

Universal Orlando (open)
Both theme parks — Universal Studios, which includes the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley, and Islands of Adventure, which includes the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade — are open. Social distancing is recommended at each site.
• Are face masks required? Required for staff, recommended indoors for all guests
• Is proof of vaccination necessary? No.
Universal Orlando Resort will encourage guests to wear face coverings indoors, spokesperson Alyson Gernert told USA TODAY. Staff will wear face coverings while working in indoor guest areas beginning July 31. According to its site, “Face coverings are optional for fully vaccinated guests. Non-vaccinated guests are asked to wear face coverings at all indoor locations.” Guests also are asked to social distance: “We encourage all guests to keep a safe distance between your travel party and others.”

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