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Lee Health shoots down erroneous reports

By Staff | Jul 16, 2020

Lee Health has begun releasing daily numbers on positivity tests, admissions and discharges after Chief Operating Officer Dr. Scott Nygaard said there were false reports that some of its hospitals had a 100% positivity rate for COVID-19 tests.

“Since the start of this pandemic, Lee Health has prioritized transparency, so I want to assure you we have been accurately reporting both positive and negative test results to the state, and continue to do so on a daily basis. We are currently working with the Florida Department of Health to resolve this discrepancy,” Nygaard said during a conference call with the media.

“When we have a death in our hospitals we immediately call the Department of Health to report it, and when we have a positive test, the results are immediately faxed. All positive and negative results are electronically reported daily. It is done this way to enable the state to begin contact tracing as quickly as possible with every positive test. The sooner someone learns they may have been exposed to the coronavirus, the sooner they can take proactive quarantine measures to protect their friends and family.”

The new statistics released by Lee Health will only cover its hospitals and won’t account for tests at other labs and testing centers in the county.

“It is expected that our positivity rates will be higher than other labs, as we are actively caring for COVID-19 patients in our emergency departments and hospitals,” Nygaard said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be the biggest challenge that most health care professionals will face in their entire careers, and we report these numbers to empower our community to take the appropriate actions to protect themselves, their loved ones and everyone in the community.”

As of July 15, Lee Health has 300 COVID-19 patients isolated in its hospitals, double the daily figure the system was seeing a month ago.

A total of 1,435 COVID-19 patients have been discharged since the beginning of the pandemic. Lee Health has conducted 36,204 tests since March. There are 1,661 tests pending.

On Wednesday, Lee Health had 32 new COVID-19 hospital admissions and 38 COVID-19 discharges.

Lee Health reported a 28.1% positivity rate on COVID-19 tests processed through Lee Health Labs on July 14.

One day after the Florida Department of Health reported the highest single day for coronavirus deaths in the state with 132, the state experienced one of its mostly deadly reporting days with 112 COVID-19 deaths. There have been 4,626 COVID-19 related deaths in the state, an increase of 19% since data recorded July 6.

There have been 301,810 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state out of more than 2.7 million tested, for a rate of 11% positives.

In Lee County, two earlier deaths were reported on July 15 of a 62-year-old male and a 63-year-old male.

There have been 206 deaths from COVID-19 in Lee County, an increase of 23% since July 6.