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Increase in COVID-19 cases brings concern about vaccination rates in Fla., Ga.

Doctors tell First Coast News a high majority of people who are hospitalized have not received the vaccine.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A sharp increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Florida brings an increase in concern among health leaders, as the number of people who've been vaccinated has dropped over the last two months.

"The way we can combat this is to get vaccinated. We know these vaccines are very effective in preventing systematic infection," said Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mohammed Reza.

He is urging everyone to get the vaccine.

State numbers show 10 weeks ago, a little more than 804,732 people received the vaccine compared to about 224,326 people a week ago.

The number of positive cases over the past two weeks has nearly doubled from 23,562 to 45,603.  The state's vaccination rate, among those eligible to get it, is at 59%.

Dr. Reza wants to see that percentage much higher.  "I want us in Florida to be at that 70, 75, 85% vaccinated so we don't have to lose lives to this virus unnecessarily," he told First Coast News. 

Doctors say they have noticed a trend that is driving the increase in percent positive cases.  A high majority of people who are hospitalized have not received the vaccine, Dr. Timothy Groover of Baptist Health said.

"The data has been very consistent over the past several weeks. Of the 175 patients that we have across our system today, 170 of them are unvaccinated. What is that? 98%?  Some days it's been 100%," he said.

Our coastal counties in Georgia are also reporting what health department workers say have been consistently low vaccine rates.

In Camden County, 28% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated, while Glynn County has a 39% vaccination rate. 

In a news release this week, the president of the Southeast Georgia Health System said, "For those of the 'wait and see' mindset, we urge you to get the vaccine now."