A senior health official with the Orange County, Florida Department of Health says that asking about activism during the recent George Floyd protests, has not been a part of the coronavirus contract tracing questions in the Sunshine State.
“The information that we collect is voluntarily offered to us,” Dr. Raul Pino told a local news outlet when explaining how contract tracing works. “We don’t ask specifically to individuals ‘Have you been at the protest?’ because there’s so many elements of freedom and rights for those individuals to be at those protests.”
Orange County, Fla., has had more than 10,000 coronavirus cases, with nearly 283 new cases reported Tuesday, according to the state’s Department of Health.
This is just a fraction of the nearly 150,000 cases reported in the state, which has seen recent spikes in infection rates.
The profusion of new cases resulted in Florida’s alcohol regulatory agency banning all alcohol consumption in bars last week, as the daily increase reached over 9,500 new cases Friday.
“Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide,” the agency said in a tweet.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that infection rates in young age demographics have spiked, adding that the median age is no longer hovering around 65. Instead, it has dropped to 33.
The community transmission is being driven by the 18-35-year-old group,” DeSantis said in a press conference Friday.
Lawmakers and health officials have suggested it has to do with younger demographics heading to bars and not practicing social distancing. However, Orange County health official Pino said he doesn’t “think that’s a coincidence” that the numbers have increased roughly two weeks after the protests started.
He also noted that this could still be a result of states initiating reopening measures around Memorial Day, the same day that George Floyd was killed while in police custody.
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