TAMPA, Fla. — In line with state and national trends, local hospitals across Tampa Bay are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases.
AdventHealth reports not only is the increase "significant" but hospitalizations are on the rise, as well, at its West Florida locations in Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Marion, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
The number of current COVID-related hospitalizations remains lower than last year's peak, AdventHealth said in a news release Wednesday.
According to the Florida Department of Health, there were 45,604 new cases during the week of July 9-15. The percent positivity for new cases — 11.5 percent — climbed to a high not seen for months.
The previous week's percent positivity was 7.8 percent, with 23,562 cases reported.
One main difference concerning the pandemic this summer over last is the availability of vaccines — products that can help bring about an end to COVID-19 should enough people take them. Not only can they reduce the risk of spreading the virus, but they are also safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, especially severe illness and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
AdventHealth says about 94 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 across its nationwide system are unvaccinated. It added the delta variant is the most prominent right now.
Health officials say that's especially concerning as it is a more transmittable form of COVID-19. Combined with many unvaccinated people, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the U.S. has entered a phase of "a pandemic of the unvaccinated."
"The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants is to prevent the spread of disease, and vaccination is the most powerful tool we have," Walensky said.
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