Florida county that’s home to Disney World and other theme parks declares ‘state of emergency’ over surge in the Delta variant

Disney world pandemic

The central Florida county that is home to Disney World and other major theme parks and 1.3 million people is now in a state of emergency after experiencing the largest single-day number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings signed an executive order on Wednesday declaring the emergency, which could be the first step toward issuing a new mask mandate. For now, though, face coverings are only being encouraged as part of an effort to avoid another shutdown.

“I urge our residents and visitors – vaccinated and unvaccinated – to wear a mask while indoors,” Demings said in a statement.

According to the executive order, the 14-day positive test rate in Orange County is now more than 15%, up from less than 4.3% at the end of June.

Approximately 1,371 people tested positive on July 27, a record high. Wastewater monitoring indicates there has been a “substantial increase” in COVID-19 amid the spread of the more contagious Delta variant.

Just over half of Orange County’s population, or 52.6%, has been fully vaccinated, according to data collected by the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper. The national vaccination rate is 49.4%.