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Florida COVID-19 numbers improve as state now considered 'substantial' in transmissions

More than 67% of those who are eligible to get the vaccine are 'fully vaccinated,' according to the Florida Department of Health

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida, and the First Coast, are making strides in reducing COVID-19 cases, but infectious disease specialist Dr. Mohammad Reza says that doesn't mean you should let your guard up.

"Wearing masks, along with getting full vaccinated, when you are able to is going to protect us," Reza told First Coast News. 

The state is now considered to have "substantial" COVID transmission, which is an improvement from "high" earlier this month. That means there have been fewer positive tests per 100,000 people over the last several weeks.

Dr. Reza explained the winter months could bring a possible surge as families take shelter in their homes, but he does applaud the efforts of those who are wearing masks and getting the vaccine.

"If there is one person in the house with an infection, they are more likely to circulate that into their home, into their work space and get other people infected," Reza described.

Between August 6th and the 12th, Florida reported more than 150,000 new COVID-19 cases.  About two months later, from October 8-14, there were about 19,500 new cases.

During those 10 weeks, the state's positivity rate fell from 20.2% to 3.8%. Duval County saw a similar decline from 22.1% to 4.6%.

"This is time we as a population need to step on that has pedal and get vaccinated," Dr. Reza said.

As Halloween approaches, Dr. Reza says parents should be mindful about crowds and suggests masks for indoor gatherings. If you are outside with a small group, masks can be optional. However, he says it's better to err on the side of caution.

"Masks works. Regardless what you think or believe, masks work," Dr. Reza said.