A new variant of COVID-19 from the UK has been found in Orange County, Florida, the home of Orlando, Walt Disney World, and Universal Studios Florida.
According to a news report from WKMG-TV, two visitors to Orange County from Broward and Seminole counties in Florida were diagnosed with the UK variant, which is said to be more contagious than other variants of COVID-19.
It’s unclear why those two visitors were in Orange County, they’d recently traveled overseas, or if they had been in contact with someone who had recently been overseas.
Despite that news, Dr. Raul Pino, the Director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, did not seem to think the UK variant was prevalent in the Orlando area. “That is not to say that variant must be out there because it’s everywhere, but we don’t have any concrete evidence that it is in county residents at this point,” he said. “We have not detected it. It doesn’t mean that it’s not there.”
The news of a more contagious variant of COVID-19 in the Orlando area may seem super scary, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that the UK strain causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. Currently, there are 92 cases of the COVID-19 variant in Florida.
If you’re in Orlando (or anywhere, really), remember to follow basic health and safety guidelines to help prevent COVID-19 when in public. Wear a face covering, wash your hands frequently with warm soap and water (or use hand sanitizer), avoid touching your face, and keep socially distant from others. These tips are especially handy when at theme parks.
As the COVID pandemic continues, and especially when it impacts Florida, we’ll be sure to let you know.
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