JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the first time in months, the state is reporting a positivity rate under 5%.
This could mark the end of a surge, but doctors issued a warning: Do not get too comfortable and keep taking precautions.
Every week for the past six weeks, the state is reporting fewer new infections than the week before.
Primary care doctors say this trend speaks to the end of the most recent surge.
“We still want to make sure that this 5% is maintained and actually goes even lower,” Dr. Tra’Chella Johnson-Foy, a Baptist Primary Care physician, said.
This time last year, Florida had a few thousand fewer cases. Shortly after, the cases rose and started trending downward at the end of February.
“It is accurate to say at this point, it’s hard to tell what type of variant may break out what type of mutation,” Dr. Johnson-Foy said. “So that’s why if we can do our best to make sure that we protect ourselves as best we can. We know that the winter months are a prime time for many viruses to rise up.”
Dr. Johnson-Foy says vaccinations against COVID-19 and the flu before winter. She also says to be diligent with hand washing and wearing masks.
“Do those things that we all did when we were flattening the curve when this pandemic started,” Dr. Johnson-Foy said. “So we can truly help bring this pandemic to an end.”
This week, the Department of Health reported 25,792 cases. 72,281 people were vaccinated this week – adding to the overall 72% of people vaccinated.
“What is imperative for us to do as we kind of sit and wait to see what’s next?” Dr. Johnson-Foy asked. “When we think about herd immunity, our goal is to get to at least 80%. So we’re not there. And so my encouragement would be people continue to actually get vaccinated.”
Doctors agree it’s hard to predict how the virus will mutate next or when the next surge will be. In the coming weeks, there could be some changes to COVID-19 protocols.
Dr. Johnson-Foy said taking precautions and protecting yourself now will help in the future.
“And if we keep doing those things, then we can really make a bigger dent,” Dr. Johnson-Foy said. “And what kind of search comes next, how many people were affected, and how many lives are lost? That’s what we have to remember, this is about saving lives.”
Health officials say the percent positivity rate should stay between 5% and 10% to show how a community is curbing infections.