ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. The Florida Department of Health said coronavirus cases in Orange County are on the rise.

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This comes as restaurants and businesses are loosening restrictions with Gov. Ron DeSantis' phase two reopening plan now in effect.

Orange County saw a 44 percent increase in cases from week 22 to week 23 which ended last week.     

There are now more than 2,000 coronavirus cases in Orange County and more young people are becoming infected, officials said.

The Department of Health said in the past two weeks, 527 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the county while the median age dropped from 37 years old to 35 years old.

“I’m not surprised at all,” said Dr. Marcia Katz, UCF College of Medicine Chief Medical Officer and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs.

With businesses and beaches opening back up and people venturing out more and socializing, Katz said it’s not all that shocking that cases rising would be amongst young people.

“The group that takes more risk is always the 20- to 40-year-old group. So I think we’re seeing an increase, not that they’re more susceptible, but they’re the ones that are taking more risks and are not practicing as well the guidelines of social distancing, hand-washing and wearing face masks,” Katz said.

Diana Stark, Infection Prevention Director at the Oviedo Medical Center, said it's early to tell why cases may be rising statewide.

"The incubation period of COVID-19 is about 14 days. You know following CDC/FLDOH discussion, it is unlikely that it is connected to the protests. We are, the public health community, is thinking it's a little more connected to Memorial Day weekend. So the impact of the protests remain to be seen," Stark said.

Orange County has tested more than 83,000 people in the county with a positivity rate slightly increasing to 2.9 percent.    

Testing sites busy again

As cases rise, so too are the number of people hitting testing sites.

On Monday, the Orange County Convention Center testing site saw its busiest day since they opened up mid-March, testing 617 people for coronavirus and 217 for antibodies. But not everyone is coming in sick.

“As I walked the line, I heard from a few people, and some of them were telling me they’re required to be tested in order to go back to work ...” said Lauren Luna, a spokesperson for the OCCC testing site.  

Other people, she said, want to get tested because they work in public-facing jobs and want to be careful. Some need tests to be allowed to stay in shelters.  Others want to be able to move around freely with peace of mind.

The CDC is still recommending staying home as much as possible, washing your hands frequently and wearing a face covering regardless of any symptoms.

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