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County to provide businesses with personal protective equipment

By CJ HADDAD - | Sep 10, 2020

The county is lending a helping hand to local businesses that are looking for personal protective equipment for staff and customers.

Another round of PPE distribution is planned for Lee County businesses set for next Tuesday where business representatives will receive 200 facemasks and a case of hand sanitizer; limit one per company.

No advance registration is necessary to collect PPE. County staff will ask the person representing the business for the business name, address and EIN number (Employer Identification Number). Only businesses with Lee County addresses will be eligible to receive PPE, according to officials.

The distribution is part of Lee County’s continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is funded through the $134,459,744 received through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES).

The business distribution sites will operate 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weather permitting and while supplies last at each site:

* Sept. 15 to 17 at Veterans Park, 55 Homestead Road South in Lehigh Acres

* Sept. 22 to 24 at North Fort Myers Recreation Center, 2000 North Recreation Park Way

* Sept. 28 to Sept. 30 at Estero Recreation Center, 9200 Corkscrew Palms Blvd.

For more information, visit www.LeeFLCares.com.

Free COVID testing continues throughout September

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

* Week 4: Sept. 22 at Karl Drews Park, 18412 Lee Road, 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

In Lee County, 19,309 (+66) individuals have tested positive as of 11 a.m. Thursday; 7,869 in Fort Myers (+28), 4,457 in Cape Coral (+9), 3,782 in Lehigh Acres (+9), 1,235 in Bonita Springs (+2), 719 in North Fort Myers (+3), 456 in Estero (+4), 116 in Alva (+0), 85 on Fort Myers Beach (+2), 48 in Bokeelia (+0), 48 in Sanibel (+1), 29 in Saint James City (+0), 21 on Matlacha (+0), 17 in Tice (+0), five in Boca Grande (+0), six in South Fort Myers (+0), five in Miromar Lakes (+0), four in Buckingham (+0), three on Captiva (+0), three in San Carlos Park (+0), three at Florida Gulf Coast University (+2), one in Bonita Beach (+0) and one in Immokalee (+0); 93 cases were not identified by community.

Positive COVID-19 cases in the county have ranged from infants to a 103-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 444 (+2) deaths in Lee County; 239 (+1) of those deaths were reported in residents or staff of long-term care facilities.

As of Thursday afternoon, Lee Health had 76 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including nine new admissions and 13 discharges on Wednesday

A total of 2,589 patients who had tested positive have been discharged since the beginning of the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Lee Health had a 12.2% 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 82 (+1)% of staffed operational bed capacity, with 6.6 (-.9)% 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, 73 (+2)% of ventilators and 25 (+3)% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

As of Thursday, there were 6 (-4) COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 11 (-6) in the intensive care unit.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, there are 654,731 total cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Florida, an increase of 2,538 since FDOH’s last update Wednesday morning.

More than 51,300 test results were reported to the Department of Health on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Of those reported tests, 5.54 percent tested positive. Percent positivity rates in new cases over the last 29 days have been 10% or less and under 7% the last 16.

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 213 (seven occurring Wednesday) from the last update, reported among Lee, Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, Columbia, Dade, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jackson, Lake, Leon, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Okaloosa, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Volusia, Wakulla, Walton 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.

According to FDOH’s Thursday report, “Today, data reported to DOH shows there has been a steady decline in the number of reported Florida resident deaths who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19. The fourth week of July compared to the fourth week of August, shows a 75 percent decrease in the average number of reported COVID-19 related deaths.”

A total of 4,857,274 individuals have been tested: 4,195,528 have tested negative, 7,015 tests were inconclusive and 3,570 tests are pending results. Of those testing positive, 40,807 Florida residents have been hospitalized at some point during their illness according to the state. There have been 12,482 deaths.

According to the Agency for Health Care Administration, as of noon Thursday, there were 2,902(-174) hospitalizations with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19.

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 (20%), 75-84 (18%) and 55-64 (18%) years old.

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