READING, Pa. - After eight months of dealing with COVID-19, officials said a lot of people are experiencing what's known as "pandemic fatigue."

Doctors said it could be the reason behind a spike in cases in Berks County. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Berks' first time positivity rate is now at 14%. That's up from 10% over the summer.

Doctors said deaths in the county are down, but hospitalizations are on the rise.

"I think people are just getting tired of wearing the mask, so they want to kind of go back to 'normal,' and we're not gonna be in that normal phase for quite a long time, until we develop herd immunity," said Dr. Debra Powell, Tower Health's chief of infectious diseases.

Powell said young people account for a large number of new infections, and while they're more likely to take risks, thinking the virus doesn't affect them, they can pass it on to vulnerable members of the community.

She said that's why it's more important than ever to practice masking, hand washing and social distancing.

Doctors also recommend adding a flu shot to the list of precautions.

"We don't really have a good idea about what people who are co-infected with both COVID and the flu are going to do," said Dr. Jeffrey Held, Penn State Health St. Joseph's Medical Center's vice president of medical affairs.

Held said the best way to be mindful of COVID precautions is to take them day by day, and while you're focused on staying healthy, he said to make sure you get routine checkups and screenings.

Held said a lot of people who are taking COVID precautions are skipping doctor's appointments and screenings only to have a delayed diagnosis for another illness.

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