homepage logo

Lee Health warns against DIY virus remedies

By Staff | Apr 27, 2020

While there is no known cure for COVID-19 currently, Lee Health officials relayed to the public they should not be ingesting any household cleaning supplies to combat the virus.

President Donald Trump made remarks during a recent Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the White House, suggesting ultraviolet light and every day cleaners could possibly be looked into as a way to diminish the pandemic.

While Lee Health officials did not point to the president’s comments directly, they did warn against any do-it-yourself remedies at home.

“I want to stress that as the rumor mill swirls, it is important to take medical advice from doctors and other experts, and not relay on a social media meme or old wives’ tale to protect against COVID-19,” said Lee Health President and CEO, Dr. Larry Antonucci, on Monday. “Ingesting bleach, Lysol or other cleaners will not protect you from the virus, and can cause you to become very sick.

“There is no known cure for COVID-19, and the safest way to prevent the virus continues to be physical distancing, good hand hygiene and wearing a mask when out in public. Ingesting these chemicals will not protect anyone from the virus, and could be deadly.”

The CDC has also warned of an additional six new possible symptoms of COVID-19, including: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headaches, a sore throat and loss of smell or taste.

“Anyone who experiences any of these symptoms should monitor their temperature and self-isolate, and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen,” Antonucci said.

A branch of the Lee Health system that plays a big role during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as year-round, received special recognition recently.

All three of Lee Health’s skilled nursing facilities earned a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“These facilities have been crucial in our strategy in the fight against coronavirus, and I am very proud of the dedicated staff that made these superior scores possible,” Antonucci said.

Skilled nursing services are offered at HealthPark Care and Rehabilitation, at Gulf Coast Medical Center and at Lee Memorial.

According to Lee Health’s website, “Lee Health’s Skilled Nursing centers provide a relaxing atmosphere for restorative care. Whether recovering from joint/orthopedic surgery, a stroke, heart surgery, or pulmonary issues, our trained staff assists you with rehab, therapy, and other services so you can get back to the comfort of home as quickly as possible.”

Services offered include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, social worker services, IV therapy, discharge planning, wound care, pain management and a litany of other specialized areas to get patients back on their feet.

“Nursing homes play an important role in the continuum of care for many patients. Not just during this trying time, but also for a wide array of injuries and illnesses,” Antonucci said. “They provide specialized care on location to safely discharge patients to when they are ready to leave the hospital but not quite ready to return home.

“The team has compassionately cared for every one of their patients, and in a time we are not allowing visitors, have helped patients use technology to see and talk to their loved ones. I can’t thank them enough for the work they do to care for some of the most vulnerable patients we serve.”


As of 11 a.m. Monday, there are 32,138 cases of the new coronavirus confirmed in Florida, an increase of 610 since FDOH’s last update Sunday morning.

The death toll increased by 14 overnight, reported among Broward, Dade, Duval, Hernando, Leon, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas and Volusia counties.

A total of 357,028 individuals have been tested: 324,325 have tested negative, 565 tests were inconclusive and 1,099 tests are pending results. Of those testing positive, 5,010 have been hospitalized at some point during their illness. There have been 1,088 deaths.

While Florida’s testing has increased over the past week, the percent of those testing positive for COVID-19 overall is 9 percent. On April 26, 6 percent of new cases tested positive.

In Lee County, 971 individuals have tested positive as of 11 a.m. Monday; 369 in Fort Myers, 186 in Cape Coral, 190 in Lehigh Acres, 85 in Bonita Springs, 46 in Estero, 35 in North Fort Myers, seven in Sanibel, seven on Fort Myers Beach, six in Alva, one on Captiva, one in Boca Grande and one in Saint James City. One positive was not classified by community.

Positive COVID-19 cases in the county have ranged front infants to 100-years-old. Lee County saw its first two cases on March 7, when a man and a woman, each 77, tested positive. They had traveled to the Dominican Republic.

There have been 37 deaths in Lee County. All but one was between the ages 61 to 96, with 33 aged 65 or older. The exception was a 39-year-old man who died March 25.

As of Monday afternoon, Lee Health had 80 COVID-19 patients isolated in system hospitals, an increase of 10 from Friday. A total of five patients who had tested positive have been discharged on Sunday.

The system has submitted a total of 9,783 specimens for testing

Lee Health mobile collection sites over the weekend collected 216 specimens and had a total of 1,188 telemedicine visits between Lee TeleHealth and MyChartVideo.

Lee Health has 183 employees quarantined at home. Thirty-two employees currently are positive for COVID-19 after being exposed at work.

Current bed capacity is now at 62 percent, a rise from 50 percent on Friday, with 8 percent of those being COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious viral disease. For most individuals, symptoms are mild. For a minority, the disease becomes a type of viral pneumonia with severe complications. Especially at risk are those who are older, those with underlying health conditions and the immune-compromised.

Officials strongly urges all members of the public who can, remain at home so as to limit exposure and so limit the number of cases so as to not overwhelm the health care system with at-risk and severe cases.

For more detail on Florida resident cases, visit the live DOH Dashboard.

To find the most up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19, visit the Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage. For information and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control, visit the CDC COVID-19 website. For more information about current travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State, visit the travel advisory website.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-866-779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj