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Infectious disease doctors: State needs to improve data collection

'You can clearly see the regret on their faces because they didn’t get the vaccine earlier,' Palm Beach County doctor says
Coronavirus tests
Posted at 5:37 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 18:39:37-04

WELLINGTON, Fla.  — In Palm Beach County, no statistics tell how many still suffer after coronavirus leaves their system.

"There's lingering respiratory issues, chronic cough, shortness of breath when they exert themselves, chronic fatigue," said Dr. Ktonga Kiminyo, the head of the local task force for the T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society in Palm Beach County.

In St. Lucie County, when Dr. Moti Ramgopal said 95% of all new COVID-19 cases strike those opting against vaccination, he wonders how many believed bad information.

"You can clearly see the regret on their faces because they didn't get the vaccine earlier," said Ramgopal.

These and other health care professionals want the state to ramp up efforts for more data, and more testing.

Take Palm Beach County, where the official count of those diagnosed with the contagious Delta variant is officially 45.

Kiminyo believes that number is too low, that there are more cases of the delta variant, as there are 200 to 300 new coronavirus cases in Palm Beach County every day.

"The problem is testing for the Delta variant isn't done at a local hospital level. It's done at the county level," said the doctor, who practices at several hospitals in Palm Beach County. "And they have very strict criteria as to who they're willing to check for."

The state website tracking the number of available intensive care unit beds in each county is no longer online.

Ramgopal said people need to know that St. Lucie County ICUs are seeing a surge in a specific type of patient.

"We're going to the patients rooms (asking), 'Are you vaccinated?' 'No.' 'Are you vaccinated?' 'Nope, nope, nope.' The routine answer is no right now," said Romgopal.

Kiminyo said the lack of information, coupled with misinformation challenging the effectiveness of the vaccine, is making the spread of COVID-19 tougher to contain.