By Joan Murray

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was a very bad summer here in South Florida, but we may be rounding the corner.

There are hopeful signs as we go into fall next week and experts say it is because more people are getting vaccinated.

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The deadly surge from the delta variant has lit a fire under some vaccine skeptics, including Carol Rodgers who works in the emergency room at Broward Health.

CBS4 News cameras caught her at a central Broward park where she was getting her first COVID shot. “I didn’t want to take it, but I have to take it because I have my kids, you know, my grandkids, so I have to take it.”

It was mostly the unvaccinated who died of COVID in South Florida over the summer.

New data shows a staggering death toll in South Florida from June through August.

Nursing home deaths in Florida spiked, too. In just one month, 237 nursing home residents died of COVID complications.

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“This summer has been pretty horrific, and we’re absolutely pleased to see that we have been over the hump and signs of recovery,” said Broward Health Dr. Joshua Lenchus.

He says hospitalizations are down and infection rates are stabilizing.

“I think more that people get vaccinated, the less the virus has a chance to mutate, the less variants that we will be dealing with, and I think that because this variant was so contagious that people really took heart of what was going on and they were sort of scared straight into getting vaccinated.”

Broward Mayor Steve Geller is appalled but not shocked at the number of deaths since Broward had the highest covid hospitalization rate in the country last month. He said glove DeSantis’ policies have something to do with it.

“And I’m going to tell the federal government they’re too big, but local government, you are too small. Only the state shall have the ability to make health care decisions. I disagree with that,” said Geller.

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And the mayor told CBS4’s Joan Murray quite bluntly it was his belief that if more people had gotten vaccinated over the summer we might not have had the death toll we had in Broward.