Hillsborough County Commissioners told COVID-19 daily case numbers are 'extraordinarily high'

Posted at 6:14 PM, Sep 01, 2021

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla — On Wednesday, Hillsborough County Commissioners received COVID-19 numbers from the Office of Emergency Management and the county's Department of Health. They're trending in the wrong direction.

According to OEM director Timothy Dudley, the county's vaccination site at Lee Davis Community Resource Center only gave out 53 shots between August 23 and 25. Although that site hasn't been very busy, their four COVID-19 sites are slammed. In a little more than a week, nearly 40,000 tests were conducted at those sites. According to Dudley, they had an average positivity rate of 18%.

Dr. Doug Holt with the Department of Health in Hillsborough says the daily case counts are "extraordinarily high" and blames it on the highly contagious Delta variant.

"We're in a bad spot right now," Dr. Thomas Unnasch with USF Health said.

But Dr. Unnasch did follow up saying we could be at the tail end of this most recent surge.

See the full report below:

"What's happening in the people who are old enough to be vaccinated, we're seeing a decline in case numbers. So the reason that it's staying up is that we're seeing more kids who are in school and these kids are getting infected. And so their numbers are up, but the overall number of the adults is starting to come down," Dr. Unnasch said. "So I'm thinking that within the next couple, three weeks, if everything sort of holds together, we're going to start to see a real rapid decline in case numbers."

Dr. Holt says 53% of eligible people in the county are vaccinated. Dr. Unnasch says that is the best defense we have. Unfortunately, the Delta variant moved the goalposts of herd immunity.

"Unfortunately we have to get to about 85%. So that's another roughly 3.2 million people who are going to have to get exposed and infected or get vaccinated before we see the light at the end of the tunnel," Dr. Unnasch said.

By his calculations, Dr. Unnasch believes we could be toward the end of this by October. But since there is a high community transmission rate, he says your best bet to stay healthy is wearing a mask. That goes for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Dr. Unnasch says a good mask can block 90% of virus particles in the air.