During Bradenton visit, Gov. DeSantis suggests COVID-19 positivity rate may be flattening

Posted at 11:23 PM, Jul 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-12 09:10:49-04

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Governor DeSantis met with healthcare professionals and Manatee County leaders in Bradenton today to discuss current COVID-19 cases in Florida, and the increase we’ve seen just in the last month.

Governor DeSantis touted Florida's current testing, saying the state is currently testing one in nine Floridians. He also suggested our upward trend of positivity rates might be flattening, at least for much of the state.

Several healthcare professionals across Tampa Bay echo that statement, saying we may be starting to see the impacts of mask ordinances around the state, as our overall positivity rate has been slightly declining.

Still, they say it’s not the time to let our guard down.

Recent data from the Florida Department of Health shows our positivity rate near 12 percent for the last two days. That’s down from July 8th’s all time high of more than 18 percent.

“We’d rather be plateaued at 4%, but we didn’t want to see it continue to just go up and up,” said Governor DeSantis.

Experts recommend states aim for a positivity rate below 10 percent; numbers we haven’t seen since June 24th.

“This is really a consequence of the exponential growth that we had seen in the number of positive cases from early June to mid to late June,” said Dr. Thomas Unnasch, Distinguished Professor of Health at USF.

With hospital admissions increasing daily, and several ICU’s at or near capacity, many fear we may overwhelm our healthcare system.

“Deaths and the hospitalizations really reflect what’s going on in the infection about two weeks later than what’s going on in the infection now,” said Dr. Unnasch.

But local experts say, while we are nearing that overflow, we may have caught ourselves just in time.

“If things hold out, I think we’re gonna be okay in terms of hospital capacity, but even a little bit extra hospital capacity is gonna push us over the edge,” said Dr. Unnasch.

They credit much of our possible “plateau” to increased mask wearing in many parts of the state.

“We know that if we wear a mask, if we wash our hands, if we stay six feet apart, if we don’t go into tight closed restaurants and sit together for a long period of time, we will be able to bend this curve,” said Dr. Jason Wilson, Associate Medical Director of the Adult Emergency Department at Tampa General Hospital.

Both Governor DeSantis and doctors at TGH say hospitals now have sufficient personal protective equipment for their staff.

They also urge, if you need to go to the hospital for any illness, it is still a safe place for you.