You may be seeing less of this in the coming months: Boston catcher Christian Vazquez, left, and third baseman Rafael Devers high-five during a game against the San Francisco Giants at Fenway Park in September. Associated Press/Charles Krupa

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Like the rest of the world, the Boston Red Sox are keeping a close eye on the spread of coronavirus.

The team met with doctors on Sunday to discuss ways to contain the spread of the disease which has already hit southwest Florida. Over the weekend two Lee County patients at the Gulf Coast Medical Center tested positive for COVID-19, with dozens of hospital employees having high- or moderate-risk exposure.

The same has been happening around the country and baseball wants to keep its stars healthy with teams poised to break camps and head to their big-league homes in just two weeks.

This weekend’s discussions reinforced the simple messages of hand washing and keeping disinfectants nearby. On Monday there were hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes located throughout the clubhouse. There was also talk about being careful when interacting with fans – and each other.

Even the practice of high-fiving one another was coming under scrutiny.

“He (team doctor Larry Ronan) said probably we shouldn’t,” interim manager Ron Roenicke said on Monday. “It’s probably the smartest way to go. That’s with everything, when guys have regular flu or the cold.  That’s how it’s spread.”

“That’s probably the hardest thing for us in this industry is not to high-five. You do it multiple times a game. A guy comes in, and everybody does it. I don’t think we’re quite there but I know there were some elbows yesterday, and guys are thinking about it.  Hopefully we get a handle on this worldwide and we don’t have to think about this too much more.”

MLB has recommended that players concerned about germs sign baseballs in advance to pass out to the fans instead of taking a ball and pen from a fan and then passing them back. The team will be recording public service announcements urging fans to be smart as they come to games, but reminding them that as of now no one is suggesting healthy fans stay home and avoid games.

Here in Florida there have been festivals and conventions canceled. The annual Jimmy Fund teenagers trip to spring training was canceled last week because of concerns that patients’ compromised immune systems could put them at risk.

For the most part players are able to stay contained here in spring training, but that will become more challenging as 30 teams begin to play the regular season later this month, flying and staying in hotels and visiting every part of the country.

“Obviously, it’s a concern,” said Roenicke. “I don’t want to say right now ‘just stay away from everybody.’ Right now, spring training is a huge interaction with fans and it’s nice they can be out there on the practice fields walking around. Just for us to be careful with what we do.”

MLB was planning a Monday night call with all 30 teams to discuss plans if reported cases of the virus continue to skyrocket. For now, they will continue on with things as usual. They will just have to be more careful than ever.

Tom Caron is a studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN. His column runs Tuesdays in the Press Herald.

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