Big Bend area doctors warn against holiday gatherings as COVID-19 cases rise

Posted at 5:37 PM, Nov 16, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — There are currently 14 people being treated at Tallahassee Memorial due to COVID-19.

As we see, coronavirus cases increase across the country; a warning is going out not to let your guard down when it comes to protecting yourself against the virus.

Much like the rest of the country, COVID-19 cases in Georgia and Florida are increasing as we approach winter, with doctors saying this is the beginning of another surge.

"I think we're only in the third or fourth inning of this, and it's going to get worse," said Dr. Ron Saff with Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare says those increases are being felt in Leon County.

"College, school, social and political gatherings have increased, which have also led to more exposure opportunities," Saff said.

The hospital says between more indoor gatherings and COVID-19 fatigue; people are starting to let their guard down.

"One of my patients last week told me that she was going out to a wedding, and I said, 'I'm concerned about that,'" said Saff. "She said it's in a rural area. But that's a false assumption that rural areas are spared. It's everywhere."

The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration says 41 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Leon County.

Tallahassee Memorial is currently taking care of 14 COVID-19 patients. Capital Regional is caring for 26.

At South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta, that number is also 26.

With the holidays approaching, doctors warn against celebrating together.

"I know it's hard," Saff said. "The holidays are a time that we all want to be together with family to trade stories and share in the love, but the wise thing to do is make this the COVID year."

Dr. Saff says the blue surgical masks are good for protecting others, but if you want to protect yourself, you should put a cloth mask over it if you're going to be in close range.