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Leon County, Florida seeing increase in COVID cases

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 5:14 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Sunshine State is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, including in Leon County.

The Florida Department of Health is reporting a positivity rate of over 11%, almost doubling from earlier this month.

Statewide, the FDOH says there were more than 45,000 new cases reported last week alone.

Capital Regional Medical Center says they currently have 22 patients hospitalized with COVID.

TMH says they’re averaging anywhere form eight to 15 COVID-related hospitalizations over the last few weeks, compared to zero as vaccines began rolling out earlier this spring.

“We’ve seen a few older folks, but not many. Most of them, because most of them got vaccinated early on which was good. Most of these are younger patients who didn’t get vaccinated,” said Dr. Mark Wheeler with Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.

Dr. Wheeler says the majority of COVID patients are between the ages of 20 and 50 and that 90% of them are unvaccinated.

“This is a severe illness if you get it and you could die from it. And there’s no way that you can, by behaviorally, prevent yourself from getting exposed, really,” he said.

“We knew that this was going to be a marathon, not a sprint,” said Reverend R.B. Holmes, who leads a statewide coronavirus task force.

The group is working to educate, especially those in underserved communities, and expand vaccine access, given by trusted voices at trusted venues like churches and other faith-based organizations in hopes that more vaccines are administered and more lives can be saved.

“We knew that it was a race for life, and trying to encourage as many people to listen that these vaccines are safe,” he said.

Dr. Wheeler says according to the labs at Florida State University, about two-thirds of the tested positive COVID cases are the Delta variant.

When asked what that means for vaccines, Dr. Wheeler says that if it was not effective for the variant, we would have seen a much larger surge in positive patients who are vaccinated, which is why the messaging continues to be encouraging the public to get a shot.

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