PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — There is a strong message from a medical society in Palm Beach County a week away from Christmas Eve with the coronavirus pandemic still raging in much of the country.
The T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society has partnered with area organizations to fight COVID-19 fatigue in a campaign called Operation Celebrate Safely.
Organizers are safely going door-to-door to hand out masks, hand sanitizer and remind people in Palm Beach County that COVID-19 is not over yet.
With a COVID-19 vaccine for the general public around the corner, medical professionals are going around the block to get an important message out.
However, it could still be months before the vaccine is available to everyone.
That's why the T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society is leading the way to canvass hot spots for COVID-19 in Palm Beach County.
"We're starting to stop doing those things that helped us at the beginning, and that includes everything from the hand-washing to the mask-wearing to keeping the social distance, so our message is to encourage people to continue those things," Dr. Kitonga Kiminyo, infectious disease specialist at T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society.
In reaction to Gov. Ron DeSantis' comments earlier this week about Florida not seeing the significant spike in cases that medical experts said would happen after Thanksgiving, Kiminyo said Palm Beach County is currently experiencing a surge of new cases.
"Unfortunately, we are still seeing patients coming, and their stories are consistent with travel and visiting family and friends, before and during Thanksgiving. This is just a reality. I'm an infectious disease doctor. I go to at least six hospitals in Palm Beach County, and we can account for the fact that this is what's driving these patients coming in," Kiminyo said.
Chuck Ridley, the chair of Unify Palm Beach County says the trained Unify members go into communities in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Riviera Beach and West Palm Beach to remind people not to let their guard down.
"There is a dangerous combination of both the increase in the virus in our environment as well as families getting together," Ridley said. "Enjoy the holidays but do it in a manner that will allow you to not only enjoy this holiday but many more to come.”
The medical society is hosting a COVID-19 community talk via Zoom at 7 p.m. Thursday to answer any questions from the public about the vaccines and the need to continue social distancing during the holidays.