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'Certainly is concerning': New coronavirus strain discovered in Martin County

'I expect to see an increase in numbers in the next couple days,' infectious disease doctor says
Martin County coronavirus map
Posted at 5:31 PM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-01 18:11:24-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — State and local leaders are working through the weekend to monitor a new coronavirus strain discovered in Martin County on New Year's Eve.

According to health department officials, a man in his 20s was infected with the B117 strain, the same new strain that was discovered in the United Kingdom.

His condition at this time is unknown.

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"I expect to see an increase in numbers in the next couple days and several weeks," said Dr. Moti Ramgopal, infectious disease physician.

Dr. Moti Ramgopal
Dr. Moti Ramgopal says he expects to see an increase in coronavirus numbers in the next couple of days.

Ramgopal said the new strain is nearly the same except that it spreads much faster.

"The mask mandate is not here in Martin County," said Ramgopal. "Now we have this individual who we have now identified as having the new strain that evolved from the UK that is rapidly spreading."

"It certainly is concerning," said State Rep. Toby Overdorf, R-Palm City, of District 83. "I always request that folks adhere to social distancing guidelines, they adhere to cleanliness guidelines."

State Rep. Toby Overdorf
State Rep. Toby Overdorf, R-Palm City, urges the public to continue to adhere to social distancing and cleanliness guidelines.

Both Overdorf and Ramgopal believe the coronavirus vaccines will work against the new strain and that residents should remain vigilant.

"It shows how complex this virus is and now this new strain adds that extra layer of complexity and it can infect a lot more people," Ramgopal said.

State and local leaders from across the Treasure Coast will address the new strain found in Martin County on Saturday.

Overdorf said leaders will also give an update on vaccine supply.