To ensure we are equipping our readers with all the information they need, we will continue to report on all travel, safety, and COVID-related news that could impact a Disney Parks visit.
COVID-19 case numbers and changing rules and regulations related to COVID-19 could greatly impact your future vacations.
We’ve already shared a look at what you need to know about COVID-19’s BA.2 Omicron subvariant, a summary of travel restrictions that are in place, and other general information about Omicron. But now the situation with BA.2 is changing a bit in Central Florida. Here’s what we know so far.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, COVID-19 appears to be increasing in Central Florida. Specifically, the Altamonte Springs is seeing a “substantial increase in the amount of COVID in its sewage since the beginning of March,” per statements from Frank Martz, the city manager of Altamonte Springs.
What areas does the Altamonte Springs sewer service cover? Well it actually covers north Orange County and south Seminole County. From March 10th to April 7th, the Altamonte Springs sewer service areas saw a BIG jump in COVID-19 virus concentration. It was actually a 1,661% increase. (Orlando Sentinel)
According to Click Orlando powered by News 6, city manager Frank Martz said “It’s not anywhere close to where it was during omicron (surge) but each time we see an increase in the concentration levels in the sewage, we see an increase in the number of cases.”
If you’re wondering why the wastewater or sewer information is relevant, it’s because gene copies can be found in the wastewater. Gene copies are actually fragments of the COVID-19 virus which can be found in the stool of someone who is infected or was recently infected. (Orlando Sentinel)
A spokesperson for Orange County Utilities said that, as of April 7th, all 3 of Orange County, Florida’s wastewater service areas has seen an increase in COVID-19, even if that increase was only temporary. (Orlando Sentinel)
It appears the BA.2 subvariant is partially to blame. The more infectious BA.2 Omicron subvariant is actually responsible for about 70% of the COVID-19 cases in the wastewater in the Altamonte Springs sewer service area. (Orlando Sentinel)
Florida as a whole is one of the 26 states in the U.S. that has recently seen an increase in COVID-19 cases. In fact, Florida’s COVID-19 cases have increased by 34% recently. (Orlando Sentinel)
According to information on Google which utilizes data from The New York Times, on April 11th, 2022, Florida’s 7-day average was 1,798. That’s up from the 7-day average of 1,670 reported on April 9th.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Biden, told Bloomberg News that the increase isn’t surprising since there’s been a relaxation of mask rules and other safety rules and regulations, coupled with the rise of BA.2 and waning immunity from infections and vaccinations.
Fauci said, “I would not be surprised if we see an uptick in cases. Whether that uptick becomes a surge, whether there are a lot more cases, is difficult to predict.” (Orlando Sentinel) Fauci has said that he hopes hospitalizations will not increase along with the increase in cases.
The Orlando Sentinel notes that a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did indicate that “vaccine effectiveness against severe outcomes during the omicron wave in January was 88% with two shots and 94% with three.”
At the moment, Orange County, Florida remains in the “low” community level under the CDC’s current guidelines. But an epidemiologist indicated that under the CDC’s old criteria, a number of Florida counties (including Orange County) would be classified as being in the moderate category, which would necessitate certain mask-wearing measures. (Orlando Sentinel) A reminder that Disney World is located partially in Orange County, Florida (and also partially in Osceola County, Florida).
Mask rules and other COVID-19 related measures have not changed in Disney World as of this time. Masks continue to be optional for fully vaccinated guests in most indoor locations (and all outdoor locations). Unvaccinated guests are expected to wear their masks in indoor locations, and all guests must wear masks on the monorail and Disney buses.
We’ll keep an eye out for any updates.