BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — Thousands of people from across the country came to our beaches this holiday weekend .
Now local doctors are concerned about a potential spike in COVID-19 cases.
Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport Executive Director Parker Mcclellan said around 8000 people passed through the airport on Monday alone.
“People from all over the midwest and as far west as California and Arizona so we have a whole variety of people coming to our community,” Mcclellan said.
While airport officials are pleased with the holiday weekend results, the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic is still looming.
“We are still following that with the daily spraying and sanitizing the wiping down of high touch areas and the requiring of masks continues,” Mcclellan said.
He said the federal mask requirement will be in place in the airport through January 18, 2022.
Although air travel is good for the local economy, some doctors like Dr. Roman Nation MD, a family medicine physician in Panama City, said he fears that when travelers could be spreading the COVID-19 virus.
“The biggest concern that I would have as somebody from our area is people traveling when they’re sick,” Nation said.
Doctor Nation said the last major spike happened after the Fourth of July.
He said people refrain from getting tested so they don’t miss out on the fun.
“Travel advisories and stuff like that would expect at least something of a spike here from this last weekend,” Nation said. “I’m hoping it’s not nearly as bad as the one we had in July.”
But Dr. Nation said the Delta variant has changed some of the most common ways of detecting the virus. With the original strain of the virus, the incubation period was about five to seven days. With the Delta variant it is shorter.
“Delta, which replicates more than 1000 times faster than the previous one, only takes about three to four days for it to manifest itself and have symptoms,” Nation said.
He also said loss of taste and smell is not as common with the Delta variant.
Dr. Nation said the rest of the symptoms are similar to the flu with a cold, body aches, fevers, chills and more.
Dr. Nation recommends getting vaccinated for both COVID and the flu to protect yourself and others.
“It’s not all about which political side of the aisle you’re on, we’re really trying to save lives,” Nation said.
He said it’s everyone’s personal choice but if you want to get a shot they are available.