Is another COVID-19 surge on the way? Polk County hospitals prepare for round 2 as coronavirus cases rise

Get ready for round three. COVID-19 cases are steadily on the rise. Many medical experts say another surge is on the way.

“We’re hopeful that we are not going to see the case volumes that we saw in the summer,” said Dr. Steven Achinger of the Watson Clinic. “But we definitely need to be very, very vigilant. We need to be very, very cautious going forward.”

Experts point out that as the pandemic has dragged on, people have become laxer with wearing a mask, social distancing and washing their hands.

That is problematic enough by itself, but there is another complicating factor. There is now a greater possibility that you’re going to come in contact with the virus because bars, restaurants and gyms are up and running again and nursing homes are allowing visitors.

“With schools being open, the high school football coming on, you’ve got snowbirds coming down to spend the winter down here,” said Ed Chambers, president of a union that represents nurses. ”The potential exposure is rising. That’s why everybody is concerned,” he said.

To get ready for what may be on its way, hospitals, such as Lakeland Regional Health is hiring additional nurses and staff, and bringing in more cardiac and pulmonary equipment that COVID-19 patients may need.

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Dealing with the pandemic has not been easy for anyone. It has been a long haul.

“People are tired. They’re tired,” Chambers told FOX 13.

Especially front line workers like nurses.

“Having to wear a mask all the time, having to gown up and having to put on PPE, just being on constant alert, is definitely exhausting,“ explained Roxie Linares, a registered nurse.

And by most accounts, the fight is far from over.   

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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