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Pleasant surprise: No coronavirus cases yet on the Treasure Coast

Doctors say take coronavirus threat seriously
Dr. Moti Ramgopal
Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 18, 2020

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — As of Wednesday, there are still no COVID-19 cases on the Treasure Coast, but doctors say now is not the time to let your guard down as the number of cases overall continue to ramp up.

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Moti Ramgopal believes this virus will change the way we live moving forward.

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He said Wednesday he’s pleasantly surprised no coronavirus cases have been confirmed on the Treasure Coast. He believes one reason is that airport and port services are limited.

“We’re not near any train stations, where trains pass and bring people into the community, and we are at the time where we can actually say, ‘let’s stop this now,'" said Ramgopal.

He and his colleagues agree social distancing is important, along with the basic message of good hand washing, and every sniffle or cough isn’t coronavirus that needs a test.

“Not just a runny nose or tickle in your throat, but something much more than that but who’s been in an area with coronavirus, a family member, or who has been in contact with someone," he said.

Ramgopal doesn’t know whether the virus's impact will diminish in the hot weather.

“There are some researchers who are of that belief that as temperature increases. I’m hopeful that’s true, but we’re not so sure as of yet. Scientifically we’re not convinced,“ said Ramgopal.

The doctor says this is a very serious situation, and it’s important to be informed and up to date but not driven by an irrational fear.

“We see people irrationally going to supermarkets and buying everything they can imagine. That’s irrational fear," said Ramgopal.

His office is still seeing patients regularly but is restricting access. In some cases, they are testing patients outside.

“If you can imagine, in an infectious disease office, everyone is sick with something," he said.

Ramgopal believes with so many scientists working on the virus, a treatment could be available in the next two to three months, and a vaccine in a year or so. Until then, he says do your part to stay healthy.