Doctors urge people to continue public health measures until more are vaccinated

Posted at 6:26 AM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 08:08:29-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Doctors say even as the vaccination rate improves, they’re still seeing a lot of COVID-19 cases. They're concerned cases could grow even more.

“The light is at the end of the tunnel but we’re not there, so we’re kind of having this competing set of things where we’re seeing cases drop but we’re starting to plateau a bit because people are still kind of loosening these restrictions and starting to go out again and they’re not vaccinated yet,” said Dr. Jason Wilson, Associate Medical Director of the Emergency Room at Tampa General Hospital.

The latest state report shows continued high transmission rates in Florida, with counties like Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota seeing some of the highest transmission levels.

“There’s only a small percentage of people who are vaccinated. Now they’re our most vulnerable who are vaccinated, but most of the population is not vaccinated,” said Wilson.

Experts say that means we still have to practice public health measures like wearing a mask, washing our hands, and avoiding crowded indoor spaces.

Wilson says this is especially important because one of the biggest concerns right now is the high and rising number of variants in the state.

“What we’re watching very carefully right now are these variants. Variants are still a big issue. We have some good efficacy meaning the vaccines are working against some of the variants but we don’t know if they’re as effective and we don’t know all the variants yet. So the Brazilian variant might be more transmissible than the UK variant for example. So we have to keep our eyes on that,” said Wilson.