COVID-19 cases back on the rise in Bay County

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 10:37 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As the summer tourist season ramps up, so does the number of COVID-19 cases in Bay County.

According to the Bay County Department Of Health, 580 new positive cases were reported last week.

“It’s been significantly increased since the Fourth of July weekend,” Family Medicine Physician Roman Nation said.

One significant change we’ve seen since the start of summer is the rise of cases from the Delta Variant. Gulf Coast Regional’s Chief Medical Officer Neil Kooy said it’s more infectious than previous variants.

“Which could account for the rising numbers that we’re seeing now just because the ability to transmit it from one person to another is increased,” said Kooy.

Kooy said the hospital reached a low point for COVID hospitalizations in late June. They were averaging three patients per day. As of Monday, they’re averaging 30.

“So a significant increase from what we’ve seen,” said Kooy.

Nation said this month, they’ve seen sometimes up to 50 patients a day coming in for COVID exposures.

“so far we haven’t had any patients here in our facility that contracted COVID that needed to get hospitalized,” said Nation.

Both medical experts said there is one big factor as to why the virus is spreading so quickly again.

“The most common thread that we’ve been seeing among all our patients is that the vast majority of them are unvaccinated,” said Nation.

Kooy said data from not only Gulf Coast Regional, but hospitals around the Panhandle show 95% of COVID patients have not been vaccinated.

“So I think that suggests to us that the vaccine has been effective and that it really is the way for us to get out of this pandemic is for more people to get vaccinated,” said Kooy.

Kooy and Nation said the best way to stop the spread is to get vaccinated.

According to the DOH, only about 40% of people in Bay County are vaccinated.

County officials tell us there are no plans to re-start COVID testing sites again, but they will continue to assess the situation.

For information on where to get a vaccine, visit the DOH vaccine locator.

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