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Lee Health: Last seven days ‘incredibly promising’

By CJ HADDAD - | Jul 31, 2020

Health officials on Friday called the last seven days “incredibly promising” when it comes to the spread of COVID-19 in Lee County and reported the lowest amount of hospitalizations since June.

Lee Health President and CEO Dr. Larry Antonuci reported the good news in a media call while the state shared some discouraging news in their daily report, as single-day death totals hit a record high for the third consecutive day.

Antonucci said they saw new admissions of COVID-19 patients decrease every day over the last week and reported 203 positive patients at inpatient hospitals as of Friday.

The state on Friday reported an additional 281 new cases in Lee County, including nine deaths.

“This has been an incredibly promising week as Southwest Florida continues to fight against the coronavirus,” Antonucci said. “We saw the number of COVID-19 patients in our hospitals decrease every single day, and hospitalizations are at the lowest point since June.”

Page Field test site closed until Tuesday

Antonucci said that out of an abundance of caution Lee Health’s mobile collection site at Lee Convenient Care’s Page Field office will be closed until Tuesday. The Chester Street site in Cape Coral remains open due to their ability to stay protected from the weather. Page Field appointments will be transferred to the Cape site.

Elective surgeries still ongoing

Antonucci wanted to clarify any misconception that Lee Health is not currently performing elective surgeries due to the increase of COVID patients they experienced in recent weeks.

“Under our surge plan, we have been restricting some elective surgeries that require overnight stays, but we are still performing hundreds of elective surgeries a week. In mid-June we were averaging about 260 surgeries per day, and over the last three weeks this has been reduced to about 220 to 225 surgeries per day.

“Our surgeons work with every patient to ensure their safety, and all patients are screened for symptoms of COVID-19 before their operation. Elective surgeries are vital in improving the quality of life for many patients, and we appreciate the patience and understanding from those who have had their surgeries delayed. Our high bed census from three weeks ago necessitated the reduction of surgeries to ensure we had the capacity to care for all patients. This week we opened 62 additional beds, and our census is getting closer to normal for this time of year. This will allow ramp up elective surgeries to full capacity and surgeons are eager and ready to safely improve the quality of their patients’ lives.”

By the Numbers

As of 11 a.m. Friday, there are 470,386 cases of the new coronavirus confirmed in Florida, an increase of 9,007 since FDOH’s last update Thursday morning.

More than 97,600 test results were reported to the Department of Health on Thursday, July 30. Of those reported tests, 10.57 percent tested positive. Over the last two weeks, the average positivity rate has been 12.08. This is the lowest percent positivity rate in a daily report over the last two weeks.

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

The death toll set a new record for the third consecutive day, increasing by 257 deaths (257 Florida resident, 0 non-Florida resident) from yesterday’s update, reported among Lee, Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Dade, Duval, Escambia, Gadsden, Hendry, Hernando, Hillsborough, Indian River, Jackson, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Monroe, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Volusia, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties.

This new record by the state follows Thursday’s count of 253, Wednesday’s death toll of 217 and Tuesday’s report of 191. 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 3,633,393 individuals have been tested: 3,157,702 have tested negative, 5,305 tests were inconclusive and 3,363 tests are pending results. Of those testing positive, 26,533 Florida residents have been hospitalized at some point during their illness according to the state. There have been 6,843 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%), 45-54 (16%) and 15-24(15%).

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

In Lee County, 15,416(+281) individuals have tested positive as of 11 a.m. Friday; 6,264 in Fort Myers (+90), 3,493 in Cape Coral (+85), 3,054 in Lehigh Acres (+49), 1,013 in Bonita Springs (+21), 547 in North Fort Myers (+21), 331 in Estero (+4), 90 in Alva (+0), 62 on Fort Myers Beach (+2), 36 in Sanibel (+1), 28 in Bokeelia (+2), 20 in Saint James City (+0), 13 in Tice (+1), nine 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);159 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 295(+9) deaths in Lee County; 167(+3) deaths were reported in residents or staff of long-term care facilities.

As of Friday, Lee Health had 203 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 26 new admissions Thursday.

A total of 1,966 patients who had tested positive have been discharged, including 34 on Thursday.

The system has submitted a total of 44,086 specimens for testing with 666 results pending.

On Thursday, Lee Health had a 26% positivity rate on COVID-19 tests processed through Lee Health Labs. This represents Lee Health results only, not Lee County as a whole. Hospital positivity rates tend to be higher as the tests are performed on patients seeking treatment for a health issue, not the general public that includes asymptomatic individuals.

Lee Health’s mobile collection sites on Thursday collected 396 specimens.

Current Census is at 85(+2)% of staffed operational bed capacity, with 19(-.1)% of those being COVID-19 patients. Staffed operational capacity reflects the number of beds for which the hospital has adequate staffing, not the total number of beds within Lee Health hospitals. Overall bed capacity fluctuates hour to hour as the system discharges patients throughout the day who are ready to go home.

As of Friday, 61(-1)% of ventilators and 19(-5)% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

There are currently 31(+1) COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 43(+5) in the intensive care unit.

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 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