Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry promoted vaccines while shooting down bringing back mask or stay-at-home mandates during a Wednesday news conference with local health organizations.
His remarks come as COVID-19 cases in Jacksonville are skyrocketing. Duval County had over 4,400 new COVID-19 cases last week, nearing the peak local infection levels set last January.
The case spike has also increased stress on the capacity of local hospitals, causing them to monitor whether rescheduling elective surgeries is necessary.
About 800 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in the city, Curry said. Most of those people have not been vaccinated, said representatives from UF Health Jacksonville, Mayo Clinic, Baptist Health and Ascension St. Vincent’s.
To bring cases down, Curry said Jacksonville residents should get vaccinated. He cited a Cleveland Clinic study that found 99.7% of its 4,300 recent COVID-19 patients had not been vaccinated.
“The results are clear, the shots work,” Curry said.
While he is promoting vaccines, Curry said he is not planning on using mask or stay-at-home mandates to cut the spike.
When pressed on what the city would do besides promoting vaccination to combat the rise, Curry said mandates would be unfair for the city’s vaccinated residents and hurt the economy.
“To shut an economy down of a million people, many of which have been vaccinated, because some have decided not to get vaccinated, I'm not going to impose that on those people,” Curry said.