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AdventHealth Doctors Warn Immunocompromised People to Mask Up, With or Without the Vaccine, As Orange County Coronavirus Cases Rise

Photo: Mladen Borisov
Photo: Mladen Borisov

As coronavirus cases continue to rise in Orange County, AdventHealth doctors say it’s crucial for immunocompromised people to wear a face mask even if they’re vaccinated. 

There are currently some 310 patients being treated for COVID-19 at AdventHealth Central Florida’s hospitals, an increase from previous weeks. 

Dr. Khaled Fernainy says he’s also seen an increase in COVID patients in his ICU. Fernainy says most of these patients are young and unvaccinated. 

But a small, yet growing population are vaccinated and immunocompromised.

“The immunocompromised patients definitely can get, can catch the disease. If they’re unvaccinated it’s a disaster, a catastrophe. But if they’re vaccinated, generally the disease is a little ameliorated but they can get very sick, they can end up on the mechanical ventilator, they can end up with serious issues.”

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Dr. Steven R. Smith says in some cases these patients simply can’t produce enough antibodies to fight off the virus even with the shot.

Smith says that's why people with autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease or arthritis should keep wearing a face mask, social distancing and washing their hands to prevent infection. 

“You want to be a little extra cautious if you have one of those conditions. Wear your mask. Be very cautious and careful out there because there is this background of coronavirus that’s still out there and going the wrong way.”

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The rolling 14-day positivity rate in Orange County is near 6 percent.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.