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Antonucci: COVID-19 curve in county is flattening, but residents should stay vigilant

By Staff | Apr 13, 2020

While COVID-19 numbers continue to rise throughout the state of Florida and in the county, Lee Health officials said the “vast majority” of cases, at least locally, are “mild” and do not require hospitalization.

Lee Health President and CEO, Dr. Larry Antonucci, on Monday said the curve is still continuing to flatten in the county but echoed that residents should remain vigilant in their social distancing practices.

“Over the last week we have been admitting and discharging about the same number of COVID-19 patients each day. This is an important number to look at, because it shows people are recovering from this virus,” Antonucci said. “Our capacity rate remains seasonally-low, and with the number of discharges now surpassing the number of admissions, this is another positive signal that our community is successfully flattening the curve.”

Another encouraging sign is that Lee Health’s ability to get test results faster has not resulted in an increase of cases, according to officials. As of Monday morning, there is only one pending sample in the whole system.

“While getting results back so quickly lifts a burden off patients, it is also encouraging that this hasn’t yet resulted in the large spike of positive COIVD-19 tests we thought it might, and in fact have seen the spread of the coronavirus slow despite more tests being performed,” Antonucci said.

As of this morning, Lee County sits at 632 positive cases, though the last four days have each seen a decline is positive results.

Antonucci pointed to China relaxing their social distancing policy that resulted in a virus resurgence of sorts in the area.

“China has tried to return to normal after weeks of containing the virus, but as more people began to venture out, the country has reported its highest increase in COVID-19 cases in five weeks,” Antonucci said. “We must remain vigilant to ensure that doesn’t happen here. Our community has done an excellent job of physical distancing and slowing the spread of this virus. We will return to normal, but it is still too soon to say when that will be. It is vital that we wait until it is completely safe to do so, and avoid the risk of starting this all over again.”

As of Monday morning, Lee Health had 75 COVID-19 patients isolated in system hospitals. A total of 93 patients who had tested positive have been discharged, including 11 on Sunday.

The system has submitted a total of 6,219 specimens for testing and currently has 13 patients under investigation.

Lee Health mobile collection sites on Sunday (Easter) collected 45 specimens and had a total of 103 telemedicine visits between Lee TeleHealth and MyChart Video.The system has 13 patients under investigation.

Lee Health has 122 employees quarantined at home. Thirty employees have tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed at work.

Current bed capacity remains at 54 percent with 9 percent of those being COVID-19 patients.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj