COVID-19 cases continue to rise while testing is less available

COVID-19 cases are shooting to such high levels that medical experts are working hard to push the public to get vaccinated.

Experts say the case numbers are similar to what was happening at the start of the pandemic when it was hard to get tested.

People think the pandemic is over but it’s not.

Lee Health is reporting 128 COVID-19 patients while NCH said they have 71 COVID-positive patients in its hospitals.

As the vaccines become more widely available, counties across the country have closed their testing sites or traded them for vaccination sites which means people aren’t getting tested as often now as they were a few months ago.

Experts say testing and vaccinations are critical in keeping the virus and its variants from spreading. The more variants that pop up the more likely one of them might be immune to the vaccine.

“If somebody is vaccinated and they become infected we know they are less likely to be severely infected, less likely to be hospitalized, less likely to die, all things we really really care about,”  Dr. Eleanor Wilson with the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Just under 50% of people in the U.S. are vaccinated while most of the COVID hospitalizations are unvaccinated people.

Experts say because so many people in the U.S. aren’t vaccinated and COVID-19 spreads so easily, the virus is able to create more variants.

“If we had hit hard and hit early the majority of our population, this would not be happening. With every transmission, with every reproduction, we increase the possibility that a variant will come along and none of the vaccines will work,” said Dr. Perry Halkitis, dean of Rutgers University’s School of Public Health.

Reporter:Andryanna Sheppard
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