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Watson Clinic cardiologist tests positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Thousands of people are reacting to news a Watson Clinic cardiologist tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Douglas Ebersole shared his story of becoming infected on Facebook. It’s been shared more than 2,700 times.

He calls it an “occupational hazard.”

“I saw a patient in my cardiology clinic for an unrelated condition who seemed quite short of breath. I sent him to our Urgent Care but he initially declined admission,” wrote Dr. Ebersole on Facebook.

That patient eventually tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Ebersole was wearing an N-95 mask during that interaction but late last week, he started experiencing symptoms.

“I began developing a nonproductive cough and profound fatigue. I ended up in bed for 17 hours that day. The following day the shaking chills began and have persisted intermittently. On Easter, I began to spike fevers to 101°,” he wrote.

This week, Dr. Ebersole found out he, too, has coronavirus.

“The take home message here is that despite our clinic doing its best to screen patients for cough and fever before entering the building, despite wearing face masks, despite frequent hand washing and hand sanitizer use, if you spend 45 minutes in a small exam room with an infected and highly symptomatic patient, there is a good chance of becoming infected yourself,” he said on Facebook.

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than 9,000 American medical workers have become infected. 27 have died.

“We as health care workers need to be aware of the risk and we’re on the frontlines,” Dr. John Greene told 8 On Your Side.

Dr. Greene is head of the infectious diseases division at Moffitt Cancer Center, where ten employees have become infected and recovered.

He wants 8 On Your Side viewers to know, while it may seem risky at the hospital, the danger is higher where you are.

“I think the danger of a health care worker catching the virus at work is less than in the community,” said Dr. Greene.

Watson Clinic did not permit Dr. Ebersole to speak with 8 On Your Side.

But on his Facebook post, he offered some encouraging words.

“This pandemic has emphasized what is truly important in life – family, friends, sympathy, compassion, kindness, and generosity,” he wrote.

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