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System glitch may show apparent bump in Lee’s case numbers

By Staff | Apr 24, 2020

A potential rise in Lee County cases of COVID-19 throughout today and Saturday could be a result of a system malfunction.

Lee Health officials reported Friday that some lab results transferred from Lee Health were not received by the Florida Department of Health.

According to officials, all Lee Health test results are sent to FDOH in Lee County, where that data is then reviewed and validated in Tallahassee and reported at the state level.

“To avoid being overwhelmed in managing the additional volume of data generated by in-house testing, we worked with FDOH to exchange the test results digitally between our two computer systems,” said Lee Health President and CEO, Dr. Larry Antonucci on Friday. “What we discovered in the past few days is some labs results transferred from Lee Health were not received by the DOH.”

Antonucci said thanks to hard work over the past few days to get the two IT systems compatible has been successful and they have resolved the issue.

“The lab results that were previously submitted electronically and not received, were resubmitted yesterday and are aggregated into two reports,” Antonucci said. “It’s not possible to go back and assign the test results to the date they should have been received, so this backlog of test results will be added today and tomorrow.

“I wanted to explain this situation so you are not surprised to see a sudden spike in test results.”

In this digital world, sharing information is as easy as ever, and to the naked eye, seems reasonably effortless.

In this situation, that is not the case.

“In reality, interoperability is complex,” Antonucci said. “Getting information to flow seamlessly between disparate IT infrastructures is complicated and each setup must be custom built. It is not uncommon to experience inconsistent results when a new interface between systems gets up and running.”

He assured the public that Lee Health numbers recently reported are accurate.

“We are being clear and transparent in the information that we provide so we can all weather this storm together and remain safe,” Antonucci said. “We appreciate our partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Lee County to keep the community informed and in good health.”

As of Friday afternoon, Lee Health had 70 COVID-19 patients isolated in system hospitals, a decrease of four from Thursday. A total of 166 patients who had tested positive have been discharged, including eight on Thursday.

The system has submitted a total of 9,147 specimens for testing

Lee Health mobile collection sites on Thursday collected 265 specimens and had a total of 1,059 telemedicine visits between Lee TeleHealth and MyChartVideo.

Lee Health has 197 employees quarantined at home. Thirty-two employees currently are positive for COVID-19 after being exposed at work.

Current bed capacity is now at 50 percent with 7.5 percent of those being COVID-19 patients.

With elective procedures potentially resuming at Lee Health facilities across the county, Antonucci asked the community to continue their generosity in supplying the system with supply donations.

If these elective procedures are to start up again, the need for personal protective equipment will be greater.

“The donations of homemade masks have been greatly appreciated and put to good use to protect our patients and visitors so our health care teams on the frontlines can utilize the medical-grade masks,” Antonucci said. “Moving forward, homemade masks will continue to be valuable to us.”

If members of the public are interested in making and donating homemade masks, Lee Health asks that you call the Lee Health Foundation at (239)-343-6950 to arrange for delivery.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj