Doctor explains why Polk County's COVID-19 positivity rate soared Monday 

The COVID-19 positivity rate for Polk County on Monday was a shocker. It was 36%, which is double or triple what it usually is.

"Obviously, it is a cause for a little bit of concern," commented Dr. Timothy Regan, president of Lakeland Regional Health.

Health officials suspect that the spike was the result of people traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday despite repeated warnings not to do that. They also said "COVID-19 fatigue" was probably a factor as well.

"We have been dealing with this for almost a year now," Regan said to FOX 13. "People are probably tired of wearing masks, tired of social distancing."

When Tuesday’s positivity rate was released, which was just 12%, the picture became much clearer. Apparently, fewer people were tested over the holidays. Many testing sites were closed or were open for fewer hours.

So, the people who were tested were more likely to have significant symptoms and make a special effort to get tested. That made the positivity rate soar.

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No matter what the numbers are, medical professionals underscore the fact that we are still experiencing a COVID-19 surge and still have to be careful, especially because New Year’s Eve is Thursday.

"The message across the board is the same-masks and social distancing have proven to work," Reagan said.

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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