MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – With Alabama and the Mobile area continue to see a steady rise in the number of new COVID-19 cases daily, USA Health reminds residents to take all necessary precautions to remain safe and healthy.

Michael Chang, M.D., chief medical officer for USA Health, strongly advocates that people properly wear a face covering and practice social distancing when outside of their homes – this includes at work, school, shopping and participating in any activity where you encounter those who don’t live with you. Avoiding large groups and gatherings also is recommended.

“While we are very slowly beginning to see progress in the development of vaccines and therapeutics, we are still a long way from having sufficient supplies for people to relax their vigilance in taking the preventive measures they can take to again slow the spread of COVID-19,” Chang said. “We are seeing the anticipated second wave of cases and it is coming as we enter not only respiratory illness season, but also the holidays. These two factors can be a deadly combination if people do not continue to carry out proven public health measures.”

Official say recently, promising data has been released related to some of the leading vaccine candidates that demonstrates an effective rate of approximately 90 percent, but vaccines to protect against COVID-19 are not likely to reach the general public until summer of 2021, experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said.

USA Health maintains a public testing site in partnership with the City of Mobile, where data indicates the virus is being actively spread through community transmission among all age groups. Since March, more than 19,000 tests have been administered at the drive-through site now located at Expo Hall in downtown Mobile.

USA Health hospitals and medical offices continue to follow state guidelines limiting visitors, requiring universal masking and utilizing other safety enhancements to help ensure USA Health continues to provide a safe environment as it meets the community’s healthcare needs.