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Parents, doctors concerned about COVID-19 Delta variant ahead of new school year

Palm Beach County parent Meagan Bell speaks to WPTV on July 20, 2021.jpg
Posted at 4:15 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 18:25:15-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A summer surge of COVID-19 in Florida and across the county has some parents worrying about their children ahead of the new school year. Even some doctors said it may be time to put the masks back on.

"I'm very, very concerned," said parent Meagan Bell.

Bell said it was a struggle to get her 13-year-old daughter tested recently. The teen is fully vaccinated, but was exposed to COVID-19 at summer camp.

"It took me three days basically to get it done. I had to go to two different CVS. One to do a rapid test and one to do the PCR test," Bell said.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the Delta variant makes up 83% of all cases in the U-S.

But vaccination rates have stalled.

"Vaccinated individuals have been proven not to transmit the virus," said Dr. Leslie Diaz, an infectious disease specialist in North Palm Beach.

Diaz said the Delta is more contagious and more transmissible than any other variant, and in Florida, she said it's even easier to catch.

"We have no mandates whatsoever. Everybody is maskless, no social distancing and unvaccinated. It's almost expected," Diaz said.

Bell contacted Palm Beach County commissioners asking for a mask mandate to be reinstated, but that is no longer decided on the local level.

On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he believes the spike is a seasonal pattern similar to what we saw last summer.

"That's one of the reasons why I always said no mandates, cause I think, honestly, I don't believe in mandates," DeSantis said. "I don't even think it would be productive to do that."

"We're moving around the community unmasked and we just watched case go up up up since then, so it's common sense to go back to what was working," Bell said.

Diaz said the vaccine is working, but more people need to get their shot. If not, we will continue to see an outbreak in cases.