According to national COVID-19 data, new cases have been increasing in Florida at a faster rate than anywhere else. In Orange County alone, more than 5,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in just the last seven days.

The answer by elected officials has been to enact mandatory face covering ordinances.

Orange County’s executive order went into effect Saturday, requiring anyone living in or visiting the County to wear a face covering, especially in places were social distancing is not practical.

As of Sunday, people in the city of Daytona Beach are required to wear a face covering at public indoor locations where keeping socially distant is not possible.

And, Seminole County became the fourth local government to require people to wear face masks in public on Monday; it’s mandate goes into effect Wednesday.

Brevard County is set to discuss a mandate Tuesday.

CocoronaMasksBut of all these counties and cities, Osceola County was the first to put a mask or face covering mandate in place, back on April 13. While imposed fines or jail time for violating the order were removed, it will be in effect until further notice, or  “until the virus has been eliminated.”

Osceola County recorded single-digit number of cases for most days in May, and the percentage of the hundreds of positive tests returned each day was between 1 and 3 percent for most of the month. It had a hand in helping “flatten the curve” locally, until cases began rising across the state in June, and Osceola’s numbers rose in lock step with the rest of the region. Osceola has logged at least 100 new cases five of the last six days.

As we see people out and about in the community in places they’d come in close contact with others, we see a far majority of people wearing masks, and wearing them properly. This is both an encouraging and positive sign that we can get the virus back under control locally … if we stay vigilant.