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Lee Health hospitals at 100% of current staffed operational capacity

By Staff | Jul 21, 2020

Lee Health hospitals as of Tuesday afternoon are at 100% of current staffed operational capacity.

According to Lee Health President and CEO Dr. Larry Antonucci, staffed operational capacity “reflects the number of beds for which we have adequate staffing, not the total number of beds in our hospitals.”

“While this number stands out, we have a team that is experienced in ensuring every patient continues to receive the care they need, as capacity surpassing 100% is an annual challenge during our seasonal months,” Antonucci said. “Overall bed capacity fluctuates hour to hour, and we safely discharge patients throughout the day who are ready to go home.”

Lee Health on Tuesday also announced an additional shipment of remdesivir, which according to Antonucci, is a drug that under emergency use authorization has “shown promising signs in reducing the length of time a patient is in the hospital and the severity of COVID-19 in patients who receive the treatment early enough in their illness.”

Antonucci said this gives Lee Health a 16-day supply of the drug and they expect additional shipments to arrive tomorrow and Monday.

Lee Heath has also begun to hire additional staff to be able to provide more beds to the community.

“Additional staffing is on its way, and will allow us to open up more beds to relieve some of added pressure this pandemic is placing on hospitals,” Antonucci said. “Since July 6, we have brought in 57 registered nurses, including 20 who started yesterday. These nurses are a mix of new hires, traveling nurses, seasonal staff returning early and nurses returning from a leave of absence or summer sabbatical. This additional staff will allow us to open about 50 new beds next week, and we continue our efforts to bring in additional critical care nursing staff.”

Antonucci once again relayed to the public that Lee Health facilities are safe for residents who need care.

“As we continue to staff up our hospitals to open additional beds, the most important thing for our community to know is that if you have a surgery scheduled or need emergency care, Lee Health is here for you and are able to provide the health care you need,” Antonucci said. “As part of our surge plan we have cut back on elective surgeries that require hospitalizations, but if your surgery does not require you to be admitted to the hospital, it will proceed as scheduled. Lee Health emergency departments are safe and well-equipped to provide every patient with exceptional care.

“I know this may create some uneasiness for patients and their families. No one wants to be admitted to the hospital and have to wait in the emergency department for a bed to open up. I can promise you that you and your loved ones are safe when you are in our care, and we are working around the clock to create as much additional space in our hospitals as possible.”

Lee Health offers app

for patient information

Lee Health officials on Monday reminded the public of ways they can obtain medical records they seek without putting an additional strain on the system’s already busy contact centers.

The MyChart app, officials said, can give patients all of the medical information they need, can allow them to schedule appointments and will also directly connect them to their physician.

“By downloading the MyChart app, patients can have all of their medical records in the palm of their hand, and manage their follow-up visits without calling the contact center,” said Antonucci. “In addition to scheduling appointments and renewing prescriptions, patients can see their lab results as soon as they are available, including COVID-19 tests, and even send messages directly to their physician. You can also book appointments online through our website. If you need to call, we will be here for you, but want you to be aware that you may have to wait on hold for longer than you are accustomed to.”

Antonucci said Lee Health prides itself on delivering an exceptional experience for each of their patients, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has “challenged that mission in more ways than one.” He hopes by downloading the app, the public will reduce some of the strain on their contact centers.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our contact centers have experienced nearly a 50 percent increase in call volumes. Patients rely on our contact centers for lab results, refilling prescriptions and making doctor’s appointments, among other important services,” Antonucci said. “The increased call volume has led to prolonged hold times and has placed a strain on the health system’s commitment to provide exceptional service to every patient. We are appreciative for patience and understanding as we manage this pandemic, and I also wanted to remind our community about how they can avoid these longer hold times.”

Patients can also visit LeeHealth.org to book an appointment or find answers to questions related to the coronavirus.

Lee Health to host two events this week

“Lee Health is hosting two important events this week that we ask our community participate in,” Antonucci said. “The first of which is our second annual blood drive honoring fallen Fort Myers Police Department officer Adam Jobbers-Miller. This three-day blood drive is a joint effort between Lee Health, FMPD and the Jobbers-Miller family, and begins with a flag raising ceremony at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning in front of Lee Memorial Hospital. Please consider making a life-saving donation in memory of Officer Jobbers-Miller’s sacrifice for our community.

“On Wednesday we will be hosting a virtual town hall from 2-3 p.m. on Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida’s Facebook page. As we see more cases of COVID-19 in children, parents understandably have a lot of questions about keeping their kids safe, especially as we approach the start of the school year. The town hall will feature Golisano’s leadership team to answer questions and give parents the tools they need to keep their children safe during this pandemic.”

By the Numbers

As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, there are 369,834 cases of the new coronavirus confirmed in Florida, an increase of 9,440 since FDOH’s last update Monday morning.

More than 77,100 test results were reported to the Department of Health on Monday, July 20. Of those reported tests, 13.62 percent tested positive. Over the last two weeks, the average positivity rate has been 13.35.

The state saw it’s highly daily percentage of positive patients July 8, when 18.50 percent of tests reported were positive among 51,686 tests.

The death toll increased by 134 from Monday’s update, reported among Lee, Bay, Brevard, Broward, Collier, Dade, Desoto, Duval, Escambia, Gadsden, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Jackson, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Nassau, Okaloosa, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee and Volusia counties.

The Florida Department of Health had its single largest reporting day for coronavirus-related deaths on July 16 with 156. This does not mean all of the deaths occurred or were reported by local health care facilities on that day but that they were released in the state report that day after reports were processed.

A total of 3,103,674 individuals have been tested: 2,729,916 have tested negative, 3,924 tests were inconclusive and 2,462 tests are pending results. Of those testing positive, 21,780 Florida residents have been hospitalized at some point during their illness. There have been 5,319 deaths.

The age groups of Florida residents that have yielded the most positive test results are 25-34 years old (20%), followed by 35-44 (16%), 15-24 (16%) and 45-54 (16%).

The highest hospitalization rate is found in patients 65-74 (19%), 75-84 (18%) and 55-64 (18%) years old.

In Lee County, 13,125 (+219) individuals have tested positive as of 11 a.m. Tuesday; 5,466 in Fort Myers (+94), 2,866 in Cape Coral (+53), 2,553 in Lehigh Acres (+31), 867 in Bonita Springs (+11), 435 in North Fort Myers (+5), 287 in Estero (+5), 71 in Alva (+3), 57 on Fort Myers Beach (+0), 33 in Sanibel (+1), 21 in Bokeelia (+0), 18 in St. James City (+0), 10 in Tice (+0), seven on Matlacha (+0), three on Captiva (+0), three in Buckingham (+0); three in Boca Grande (+0), three in Miromar Lakes (+0), two in San Carlos Park (+0), one in South Fort Myers(+0) and one in Immokalee(+0);139 cases were not identified by community.

Positive COVID-19 cases in the county have ranged from infants to a 101-year-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 244 (+12) deaths in Lee County; 148 deaths were reported in residents or staff of long-term care facilities.

As of Tuesday, Lee Health had 322 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 43 new admissions. A total of 1,619 patients who had tested positive have been discharged, including 38 on Monday.

The system has submitted a total of 39,511 specimens for testing with 1,272 results pending.

On Monday, Lee Health had a 22% positivity rate on COVID-19 tests processed through Lee Health Labs. This represents Lee Health results only, not Lee County as a whole.

Lee Health’s mobile collection sites on Monday collected 279 specimens.

Current census is at 100% of staffed operational bed capacity, with 24.7% of those being COVID-19 patients.

As of Tuesday, 56 (-10) percent of ventilators and 5 (-8) percent of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

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 urge all members of the public who are at risk to remain at home so as to limit exposure. All others are urged to observe social distancing and to wear a mask for all public interactions.

For more details 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