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As Coronavirus Cases Rise, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor Urges Citizens To Get Vaccinated

Jane Castor outside by a podium, surrounded by health professionals during a news conference
City of Tampa
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and area health officials implored people to get vaccinated during a press conference on Aug. 13, 2021, that focused on the surge in coronavirus cases in Florida.

Castor held a news briefing Friday to discuss the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and area health officials implored people to get vaccinated during a Friday press conference focusing on the surge in coronavirus cases in Florida.

“You can still contract COVID-19 after vaccination but the results are much less severe than they are in those that are unvaccinated,” said Castor. “You can be vaccinated all over the Tampa Bay area. The one place you cannot get a vaccination is once you arrive at the hospital emergency room with COVID-19."

Dr. Nishant Anand, the Chief Medical Officer for BayCare Health Systems, said the system is in crisis because of COVID.

"In early January we had about 100 patients with COVID admitted to our hospitals across BayCare,” he said. “Fast forward a month we have 1000 patients that have COVID right now. That's a tenfold increase that we've seen. The majority of those patients that we're seeing are unvaccinated. We're seeing unvaccinated people end up on ventilators. We're seeing unvaccinated people pass away."

Anand said the majority of new patients are people aged nineteen to sixty-four.

Hospitals across Florida are seeing ICU beds filling up and providers say health care workers are struggling to keep up.

Dr. Peggy Duggan, Chief Medical Officer at Tampa General Hospital said masking remains important to stop the spread of the virus.

“It’s time for all of us to put our masks back on; to be seen with our masks on to make that statement that we’re here to protect each other,' she said. "Right now, we’re asking too much of our health care workers. And the things that we can do as public citizens is to make that difference. Put your mask on and get vaccinated."

As a reporter, my goal is to tell a story that moves you in some way. To me, the best way to do that begins with listening. Talking to people about their lives and the issues they care about is my favorite part of the job.
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