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Post-Memorial Day surge in COVID testing

COVID testing surges following Memorial Day
COVID testing surges following Memorial Day 03:45

MIAMI — There's a surge in COVID cases compared with a year ago and that is leading to more people being tested at sites around South Florida.

FIU infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty tells CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "My biggest concern is right now there are five times more cases than we had last year on Memorial Day. We have very aggressive sub variants circulating. In terms of the number of cases it is alarming here in Miami-Dade and Broward we are hovering near 20% in positivity that is documented."

She added, "That fortunately is not translating into alarming hospitalization rates for a variety of reasons, moist importantly because we have a lot of immunity in the population as well and one out of every two people hospitalized has had COVID at least once if not two or three times. That makes the next time they get it as a milder event. Every month that goes by we are getting better at managing patients and keeping them out of hospitals. We still have monoclonal anti-bodies when we need it. However, and this a big However. This can still cause a problem for the unvaccinated who have not had COVID."

She said some people are more carefree.

"A lot of people got COVID first during the OMICRON wave and they did not experience a lot of illness and now they have the mindset that it is not that dangerous. Unfortunately, the immunity to the Coronavirus wavers over time so as these viruses keep circulating, they don't do something to protect against that and then there is the possibility that there will be more serious disease," she said.

Compared with a year ago, Marty said, "People are much less careful and there's much more virus circulating right now and much more SARS -CoV-2 in our population and that's a problem."

Authorities recommend that people register online if they want to get tested at the Tropical Park site and other Miami-Dade sites. Tropical Park is open for free testing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Testing is done by license practical and registered nurses. Tropical Park is one of the busiest sites in the county.

Running sites is becoming a challenge, said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

She said, "We are the only county in the state that has maintained testing and vaccinations throughout the pandemic and the federal government is rolling back support as of July 1st. We are in the process of figuring out what we are going to do. People can go to pharmacies or pay to have tests. Vaccinations are still free. We think it is critical to maintain a broad base of places where people can go. We are pushing hard to boost education and urge people to stay home if they are sick and get tested."

D'Oench also spoke with a number of people before they were tested at Tropical Park at 7900 SW 40 Street.

Jennifer Blanchard, who was vaccinated, said, "My husband is positive, and I have symptoms. I have a sore throat and runny nose and I am aching. I am taking no chances. I work with kids, and I have a little one at home who is not feeling well either. A lot more people are testing positive than a month before and I want to make sure I do not spread it and I am not contagious. People should be careful and keep wearing masks and don't be complacent."

Kevin Farrah, who was also vaccinated, said, "We are getting tested to make sure we are negative. My daughter has been sick, and my wife is pregnant, so I want I want to make sure we are good to go and taking no chances. I think if the test is free and you have symptoms, go and get tested."

Kendra Perdue, who was also vaccinated, said she was getting tested because "I have a sore throat and I am pregnant. I want to be careful. I urge everyone to be careful and be cognizant and be a good citizen and get tested and isolate if you have COVID."

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