by Donald Wood
Last updated: 2:42 PM ET, Wed June 17, 2020
Governor Ron DeSantis announced that 260 employees at Florida's Orlando International Airport tested positive for the coronavirus, a statistic the airport management team said is misleading.
According to a clarification from Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) Chief Executive Officer Phil Brown published in a media bulletin on Wednesday, 128 of those 260 people were not employees of the airport but were linked or traceable connections to the 132 individuals that work at MCO who tested positive. What's more, the 132 airport employees represent only 0.6 percent of the estimated 22,000 badged employees that work at MCO and those infections occurred over a period of over two months.
"Five hundred tests were performed over three days. Thus far, there have been only two positive tests from those 500. In discussion with Dr. Raul Pino, the Public Health Director for Orange County, it appears that is the extent of the results from those 500 tests," Brown said in a statement. "That would calculate to be a 0.4 percent positivity rate for COVID-19 for those 500 tests. Dr. Pino also advised that he believes the use of masks and facial coverings at MCO and the observance of social distancing is a significant contributor to the low positivity rates."
"I hope this information clarifies what can be a confusing mix of data for the traveling public. We continue to work with all of our health department officials to ensure all is being done to keep the traveling public and our employees safe at Orlando International Airport."
Florida has seen a resurgence of coronavirus cases since the state began reopening, as more than 2,780 people tested positive on Tuesday. In total, Florida reports more than 80,100 have tested positive and 2,993 have died.
DeSantis announced the state is conducting around 30,000 coronavirus tests per day now, with an estimated 5.5 percent of people testing positive. While the number of confirmed cases is up, the governor said ICU hospitalizations are down 43 percent from April 15.
Orlando isn't the only area seeing a spike in confirmed cases, as Miami Mayor Francis Suarez revealed Monday the city is not ready to move into Phase 3 of the reopening process as Florida is one of 22 states where new coronavirus cases have increased over the past 14 days.
In addition, travelers looking to visit Florida theme parks and other attractions will still need to self-quarantine for 14 days if they are residents of New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.
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