NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – While the vaccine becomes more readily available, COVID-19 case and death rates are rising across the country. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is asking Americans to not let up on the prevention measures that got us here.

“I’m going to pause here, I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have impending doom,” said Dr. Walensky. “We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope, but right now I’m scared.”

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New cases are leveling off, but there has been a steady rise. The United States is now seeing between 60,000 and 70,000 new infections per day.

“I think we’re still waiting to see if we’re going to see that spring break spike,” said Dr. Diana Cervantes, an epidemiologist with UNT Health Science Center. “I’m hoping with as many people have been vaccinated, that instead of seeing a spike we’re going to see more of a blip.”

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According to UT Southwestern’s latest modeling, the number of hospitalized COVID patients in Dallas and Tarrant counties-is expected to remain flat over the next three weeks. Dr. Cervantes said while she understands people fear we will see a big spike in cases because of the variants, she’s optimistic the country is still making progress.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction, but we do have to be careful,” she said. “We still want to avoid those highest risk situations.”

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UT Southwestern is predicting a small uptick in positive cases in the short term. Their researchers said other signals are mixed. Test positivity rates are declining, but at a slower pace. ER visits are relatively flat, but more people are reporting they aren’t adhering to masking recommendations.