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No need to panic, but do be careful, as omicron subvariant spreads and people get infected

A health care worker gets her COVID-19 vaccine at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, RI on Monday.
Suzanne Kreiter
/
The Boston Globe via Getty Images
A health care worker gets her COVID-19 vaccine at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, RI on Monday.

Most cases of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19 in Florida are the omicron subvariant called BA.2.

You may have a family member, friend or coworker who’s tested positive lately, because it's really contagious. Still, doctors aren't telling people to panic about it, but to carry on with care and precautions.

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For instance, Jackson Memorial Hospital is not yet seeing a significant increase in the number of people being hospitalized for COVID-19. But some more people are needing care because they're sick with COVID-19. Some days ago, Jackson Memorial Hospital had about seven patients admitted to the hospital because of the disease.

"That number has increased to 15 — we hope it's not a trend. We've seen ups and downs," said Dr. Hany Atallah, the chief medical officer at the hospital. "It's still within that range where we're keeping a watchful eye on it."

Still, he thinks it's too early to relax all precautions. "If you’re going to a crowded venue, wear a mask," he said.

Atallah says the hospital continues to push for vaccinations against COVID-19 to prevent getting extremely sick. The vaccines cannot prevent you from getting a coronavirus infection as vaccines don't have 100% protection. They will, however, be extremely effective in keeping you out of the intensive care unit.

If you do have COVID-19 and you're feeling out of breath, call a doctor or go to a hospital to get care.

In Miami-Dade County, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing masks on public transportation, because the transmission risk is medium. In Broward and Palm Beach Counties, the risk is presently low.

Verónica Zaragovia was born in Cali, Colombia, and grew up in South Florida. She’s been a lifelong WLRN listener and is proud to cover health care for the station. Verónica has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master's degree in journalism. For many years, Veronica lived out of a suitcase (or two) in New York City, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, D.C., San Antonio and Austin, where she worked as the statehouse and health care reporter with NPR member station KUT.