Launches Online Tool to Assist the Community
ORLANDO – Based on updated data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to Pediatric COVID-19 cases in counties within the United States with and without school mask requirements, the Physicians Society of Central Florida (PSCF) is urging continued implementation of masking requirements for all local school districts and private schools.
The CDC reported that counties without school mask requirements experienced larger increases in pediatric COVID-19 case rates after the start of school compared with counties that had school mask requirements. The average change for counties with school mask requirements was 18.53 cases per 100,000 per day lower than the average change for counties without school mask requirements.
The CDC roadmap for communities to follow to implement local protective measures when conditions indicate a high risk of community transmission are based on vaccination rates and positivity rates. The target rate for herd immunity is 80% of the population being vaccinated or having natural immunity due to recent recovery from COVID-19. According to the CDC, the core indicators and thresholds for low community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2 is a positivity rate of 5% or below.
The PSCF supports the School Board of Orange County’s mask mandate and strongly believes that masking mandates are important to continue at this time based on the following facts:
- The latest CDC data documents that the vaccination rate in all of our local counties remain below 80%.
- All students under the age of 12 remain ineligible for vaccination which leaves them at continued risk for catching and passing along the virus.
- The positivity rate in the three-county region remains between 7% and 10%
Charles Chase, D.O., President of the Physicians Society of Central Florida, stated “We cannot ignore the data that illustrates the conditions in our community are still ripe for local transmission of COVID-19 to our most vulnerable populations. A temporary mask mandate is a simple measure our community can implement to limit the spread of COVID-19. Wearing masks can save lives as we strive towards the goal of herd immunity. We support all businesses and educational institutions which temporarily mandate the wearing of masks in an effort to save lives. Until our vaccination rate has improved and vaccines are available for all school age children, we have a duty to protect this vulnerable population. As widespread infections in our communities decline to safer levels as determined by the CDC, we can relax these mandates.”
The organization is also launching the COVID-19 Community Transmission Alert System which is a simple online tool for parents, public officials, and the community at-large to use to quickly identify when scientific data indicates that local masking requirements are no longer warranted. To view the tool and scientific data that indicates the alert status, visit https://pscfl.org/page/COVID-19CommunityTransmissionAlertSystem.
Founded in 1906 as the Orange County Medical Society and 1927 as the Seminole County Medical Society, the Physicians Society of Central Florida was created in 2019 as the Orange and Seminole County Medical Societies came together to unify physicians in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties. The PSCF represents physician members in the practice of medicine in Central Florida and is a leader in the region dedicated to promoting high quality medical care and the value of physician services through education, collaboration, clinical excellence, transparency, and the design of a fair and competitive healthcare marketplace.