Healthcare workers brace for post-Thanksgiving COVID surge

Friday marked the third day in a row that Florida reported over 9,000 COVID-19 cases, and public health experts said they are bracing for more if the current trend continues.

Florida has reported infection numbers showing an upward trend in the last 30 days.

“Depending on where you’re talking about here in Florida, we’re at the beginning of the second wave,” said Dr. Thomas Unnasch, a distinguished professor in the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida. “In the northern states, they’re probably in the middle of the second wave that we were talking about.”

Dr. Unnasch said the next several days will be when any Thanksgiving-related cases begin to come in.

“They get back and say, ‘Oh, I want to get tested.’ So we may have seen a spike there. If we see numbers that are still going up and into the weekend especially next Monday or Tuesday, then I think we’re in for a pretty rough time, unfortunately,” he said.

MORE: Vaccine still needed for recovered COVID-19 patients, doctors say

The country is waiting for the vaccine to help stop the spread. Friday night was the deadline for states to get in pre-orders for first shipments.

“I gather that Pfizer has done a dry run into Hillsborough and the Tampa Bay area, shipping empty dials on dry ice to make sure that the shipping process would work, it would go into the hospitals, and they were handled correctly,” said Unnasch.

This week, Governor Ron DeSantis noted that getting the vaccine everywhere it needs to be will be challenging.

Another hurdle for shipments is the strained supply chain.

“The little glass vials it has to get packed into, the little rubber stoppers that have to go on top of the glass vials, all those syringes they’re going to need to deliver these doses to everybody,” said Unnasch.

Public health experts said Pfizer scaled back how many doses will go out in the first round. With COVID numbers climbing, doctors urge caution.

“The vaccine is not going to be here in time to stop the second wave, so what we’re stuck with is what we’ve been doing,” said Unnasch.

FOX 13 reached out to the state for information on how many vaccine doses Florida ordered and which counties will get them first, but state officials have not yet returned requests for comment.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


Map of known COVID-19 cases:

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