Florida Faces Surge in COVID-19 Cases as Health Experts Urge Caution
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Florida Faces Surge in COVID-19 Cases as Health Experts Urge Caution

Amid a nationwide summer spike in COVID-19 cases, Florida is reportedly experiencing one of the highest increases, prompting health experts to warn residents to take the situation very seriously and adopt protective and educational measures. report from Yahoo.

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms. However, Vice President Kamala Harris has tested negative and remains asymptomatic.

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Florida ranks among the highest of any state during this wave. Rates of COVID-19 have surged in emergency rooms over recent weeks, nearing peaks not seen since the worst days of this past winter’s wave. In addition to emergency room visits, other key metrics in Florida, such as wastewater and nursing home data, have also seen steep increases.

Action News Jax spoke to Dr. Jeffrey Goldhagen, the former Director of the Duval Department of Health, who said the uptick is to be expected since there are more variants and those who are unvaccinated are susceptible.

“Unfortunately, the support for COVID testing is not what it was during the pandemic, but those COVID tests are still available through pharmacies. People do need to take this very seriously,” Dr. Goldhagen said.

Historically, COVID-19 activity has picked up at least twice a year since the pandemic began: once during the summer or early fall after a spring lull, and again in the winter. However, the CDC now states that COVID-19 activity patterns observed are not seasonal and can surge at any time of the year, often driven by new variants, According to ABC News.

Dr. Goldhagen added, “Over a million people died during the pandemic. Most of those people who did were actually not vaccinated. The vaccines do work. If they want to take that risk for themselves, they can for sure, but they do need to vaccinate their children, and certainly those around them that are at great risk.”

Currently, the KP.2 and KP.3 variants are the most common nationwide, responsible for more than half of recent cases. Other variants, such as LB.1 and KP.4.1, are also contributing to the current rise.

Dr. Goldhagen also warned of the potential for another pandemic with the H1N1 bird flu virus. While the current public health threat is low, he emphasized that if we do not learn from our experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, we will make the same mistakes with future viruses.

To protect themselves and others, people are urged to follow these guidelines:

Get Vaccinated: Ensure you and your family are up to date with current COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.

Wear Masks: Wear fitted masks such as respirators like N95, especially in crowded indoor spaces or where social distancing is not possible.

Regular Testing: Utilize available COVID-19 tests, especially if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Practice Good Hygiene: Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and use hand sanitizer when soap is not available.

Stay Informed: Follow updates from reliable sources such as the CDC and local health departments.

Avoid Crowded Places: Try to maintain social distancing and avoid large gatherings, particularly indoors.

Protect Vulnerable Populations: Be mindful of those at higher risk, such as the elderly and those with preexisting conditions.

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