In the Tampa Bay Area, the COVID-19 positivity rate is over 20%.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla (CW44 News At 10) – Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and other medical professionals across the Tampa Bay Area are saying hospitals are now in a crisis because of the recent spike in Coronavirus cases.

On Friday, the city held a conference to explain how serious the pandemic is right now.

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In the Tampa Bay Area, the COVID-19 positivity rate is over 20%. Medical professionals are urging people to get vaccinated. They say the hospitalizations are so high from COVID-19, everyone needs to start wearing masks again if they cant social distance

Jane Castor, Mayor of Tampa, says “We are in a crisis here with this Delta variant.”

Dr. Nishant Anand, Chief Medical Officer for Baycare in Tampa says “I hate to tell you this, but the health care system is in crisis because of COVID-19. No one wants to hear that. We are all tired, we are all fatigued.”

Local doctors say hospitalizations from COVID-19 are worse than they’ve ever seen. Dr. Anand says at the beginning of July, they only had 100 patients with COVID-19.

“Fast forward a month, we have a thousand patients with COVID-19 right now,” said Dr. Anand.

Dr. Peggy Dugan with Tampa General Hospital says she’s seeing the same thing.

“Now about 20% of patients are admitted into the hospital with COVID-19 and that’s a significant rise,” said Dr. Dugan.

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Dr. Anand says elective surgeries are now cancelled at Baycare in Tampa until further notice.

“The reason we are doing this is because we need the bed capacity, we need the ventilators, we need all the supplies to take care of this increasing COVID-19 epidemic,” said Dr. Anand.

Medical experts say people 29-64 are now getting more sick and dying of the virus and Dr. Doug Ross, Chief Medical Officer for Advent Health says, the vaccine is proving to be advantageous.

“We’re fighting this virus once again, with larger numbers than ever before, all of them pretty much unvaccinated,” said Dr. Ross.

Officials say everyone got used to easing up on COVID-19 precautions, but now is not the time to do that.

“It tears at the heart-strings of all of our health care givers in our community to actually see stuff like that happen,” said Dr. Ross.

“This is not about our personal health, it’s about each other. And it’s important that we take that seriously today,” said Dr. Dugan.

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Local hospital leaders say they will do everything the need to treat people who are severely ill with COVID-19, including opening up other areas of the hospital for those patients