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Free COVID testing sites to ‘pop up’ in September

By CJ HADDAD - | Aug 27, 2020

Throughout the month of September, Lee County residents will have continued access to free walk-up testing sites for COVID-19.

Locations will be scattered throughout Lee County over the next five weeks, where residents over the age of 4 can be tested at no cost and with no appointment or doctor’s order necessary. These are not drive-thru sites; attendees are asked to walk up to the testing area.

These sites are provided by the Florida Department of Health in Lee County in partnership with Lee County Government. Staff will have 300 tests available at each site. Locations on the schedule are at municipal parks, with Lee County EMS and Florida DOH-Lee staff conducting the tests and accompanying paperwork. All sites are open from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

* Week 1: Sept. 1 at Harlem Heights Park, 7240 Concourse Dr., Fort Myers; Sept. 3 at Rutenberg Park, 6500 South Pointe Blvd., Fort Myers

* Week 2: Sept. 8 at Schandler Hall Park, 419 Royal Palm Park Pd., Fort Myers; Sept 10 at North Fort Myers Community Pool, 5170 Orange Grove Blvd., North Fort Myers

* Week 3: Sept. 15 at Charleston Park, 2541 Charleston Park Dr., Alva; Sept. 17 at Yawkey Park, 2291 Jackson St., Fort Myers

* Week 4: Sept. 22 at Karl Drews Park, 18412 Lee Rd., Fort Myers; Sept. 24 at Veteran’s Park, 55 Homestead Road S., Lehigh Acres

* Week 5: Sept 29 at Kurt Donaldson Park, 180 Hunter Blvd., Cape Coral

By the Numbers

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, there are 611,991 total cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Florida, an increase of 3,269 since FDOH’s last update Wednesday morning.

More than 68,700 test results were reported to the Department of Health on Tuesday, Aug. 25. Of those reported tests, 6.36 percent tested positive. Percent positivity rates in new cases over the last 15 days have been 10% or less and under 7% seven out of the last eight.

The state saw its highest 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 157 from Tuesday’s update (153 Florida residents, 4 non-Florida residents), reported among Lee, Bay, Brevard, Broward, Citrus, Collier, Dade, Duval, Escambia, Gadsden, Gulf, Hernando, Hillsborough, Indian River, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Monroe, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Volusia and Washington counties.

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 4,524,203 individuals have been tested: 3,892,878 have tested negative, 6,839 tests were inconclusive and 3,473 tests are pending results. Of those testing positive, 37,404 Florida residents have been hospitalized at some point during their illness according to the state. There have been 10,872 deaths.

The age groups of Florida residents that have yielded the most positive test results are 25-34 years old (19%), 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, 18,332 (+11) individuals have tested positive as of 11 a.m. Thursday; 7,475 in Fort Myers (+56), 4,225 in Cape Coral (+26), 3,642 in Lehigh Acres (+15), 1,188 in Bonita Springs (+3), 691 in North Fort Myers (+8), 428 in Estero (+2), 112 in Alva (+0), 80 on Fort Myers Beach (+0), 45 in Bokeelia (+0), 41 in Sanibel (+0), 27 in Saint James City (+0), 18 on Matlacha (+0), 16 in Tice (+0), five in Boca Grande (+0), five in South Fort Myers (+1), four in Buckingham (+0), three on Captiva (+0), three in Miromar Lakes (+0), two in San Carlos Park (+0), one in Bonita Beach (+0) and one in Immokalee (+0); 26 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 414 (+5) deaths in Lee County; 221 (+2) of those deaths were reported in residents or staff of long-term care facilities.

As of Thursday afternoon, Lee Health had 101 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 10 new admissions and 14 discharges on Wednesday.

A total of 2,454 patients who had tested positive have been discharged since the beginning of the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Lee Health had a 13.3% 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.

Census as of Thursday afternoon was at 86 (+1)% of staffed operational bed capacity, with 8.3 (-1.3)% 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 Thursday, 68 (-2)% of ventilators and 16 (-3)% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

As of Thursday, there were 18 (+1) COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 22 (+0) 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