ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Leaders on both sides of Tampa Bay are making an urgent plea about the importance of continuing to wear masks and keeping apart. As businesses open back up, Pinellas and Hillsborough County leaders worry about people letting up on social distancing, allowing COVID-19 cases to continue spiking.
Numbers out from the Florida Department of Health Wednesday show for the eighth day in a row, new COVID-19 cases are above 1,000+ a day. On Tuesday, 8% of tests for COVID-19 statewide came back positive.
Andre Carter, a Tampa resident, says he has noticed something in his recent trips to the park, grocery store and restaurants.
“People are getting close to each other acting like it never happened. This is not a green light. You still have to be safe," Carter said.
Mayor Rick Kriseman agrees. In a Facebook address this week, he urged people to be cautious.
“We can’t afford to go backward. We can’t afford the economic hit. We can’t afford the impact emotionally. We need to tighten up,” he elaborated.
“This virus is still out there, it’s still deadly and we’re still seeing new cases,” said Dr. Bob Wallace, a physician in St. Petersburg.
Wallace says he’s seeing a lot more patients who have what he calls quarantine fatigue.
“People aren’t wanting to stay in. People I’m seeing don’t know anyone who has had the disease. That makes a difference in their behavior,” he explained.
Local leaders are urging all of us to not let our guards down. St. Pete even started giving out free face coverings, yet within hours, all 2,500 were claimed.
City leaders say they’re in the process of ordering 7,500 more masks.
“It’s not a souvenir. It’s meant for you to wear it and it can save someone’s life,” Kriseman plead.