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Chester Street COVID-19 collection site to permanently close 

By CJ HADDAD - | Jan 5, 2021

A press release from Lee Health on Tuesday stated that the health care system will cease operation of its COVID-19 collection site located at the Chester Street Resource Center in Cape Coral at 1 p.m. on Jan. 15.

“Due to the new testing site that the City of Cape Coral recently opened in partnership with Curative, Lee Health will be consolidating efforts to its Page Field mobile collection site in Fort Myers,” the release stated. 

The Page Field site, located at 4771 S. Cleveland Ave. in Fort Myers, will expand operations and will be open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to noon for COVID-19 testing.

Officials said patients must make an appointment and have a physician’s order to be tested at the Page Field location. To make an appointment, contact 239-343-9800.

New COVID testing site in Cape Coral opened this week 

The city of Cape Coral, in partnership with Curative, began its new, no cost COVID-19 testing walk-up kiosk on Jan. 4 at 1020 Cultural Park Blvd. (the parking lot across the street from City Hall). Patients were able to schedule appointments starting Jan. 2. 

“Curative is proud to be a crucial resource for the Cape Coral community during this pandemic,” said Fred Turner, CEO and co-founder of Curative, in a release. “Curative’s goal is to make testing more accessible with our easy walk-up kiosk. Our unique, self-collected oral fluid swab COVID-19 PCR test offers a painless, simple option with quick 24 to 48-hour results upon receipt at our labs and no cost to patients.” 

Curative offers oral fluid swab testing rather than the conventional nose swab. According to Curative, the observed and directed self-collected oral fluid swab involves having the person cough first, which releases virus from the upper and lower respiratory tract. The virus is then caught in the saliva. The patient then swabs the inside of their cheeks and the roofs of their mouths. Once complete, the patient seals their test within a secure container and returns it to a medical professional to be administered in the lab. The entire Curative test is done without having to come into close contact with others, therefore eliminating the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) changes.

“Curative is currently contracted to provide service at the CenturyLink Field testing site and has proven to be an efficient and reliable community partner. We are grateful to be able to work with them to offer additional testing opportunities for the community,” said Cape Coral Fire Chief Ryan W. Lamb in the release. “It will take time before the vaccine is widely available and testing remains an important means of controlling the spread of the virus.”

Testing will be available by walk-up or appointment at 1020 Cultural Park Blvd. Appointments can be scheduled at www.curative.com. Information can also be found on Cape Coral’s COVID-19 website, www.capecoral.net/ covid-19 and at www.capecoralfire.com.

By the numbers

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 1,392,123 total cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Florida, an increase of 15,431 since FDOH’s last update Monday. 

Test results reported to the Department of Health on Monday, Jan. 4, resulted in a 12.74% positivity rate among 138,339 tests.

The state saw its highest daily percentage of positive patients on Dec. 29 when 22.75% percent of tests reported were positive among 62,303 tests.

Positivity rates in new cases have topped 10% in eight of the last nine days. Percent positivity rates in new cases have been over 5% since Oct. 29. 

Of those testing positive, 63,882 Florida residents have been hospitalized at some point during their illness according to the state.

The death toll increased by 100 from Monday’s report, bringing the total number of deaths, both resident and non-resident, to 22,515.

According to the state, hospitalizations in Lee County, and statewide in Florida, make up 5 percent of all positive cases. Deaths statewide and in Lee County stand at 2% of positive cases.

On Dec. 27, 974 people were given the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine throughout the state according to FDOH. The total number vaccinated as of Tuesday throughout Florida was 289,773 with 10,903 being in Lee County. According to the state, 1,997 individuals have received both their first and second doses, two of those being in Lee County. 

In Lee County, 42,845 individuals (+477) have tested positive as of Tuesday’s update. 

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 682 deaths in Lee County, an increase of two from Monday’s report.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Lee Health had 191 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 28 new admissions and 25 discharges since Monday. Over the weekend, Lee Health admitted 83 new COVID-19 patients and discharged 73. 

A total of 4,162 patients who had tested positive have been discharged since the beginning of the pandemic.

On Monday, Lee Health had a 35.4% 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 Tuesday afternoon was at 96% of staffed operational bed capacity, with 13.6% 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 Tuesday, 71% of ventilators and 7% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

As of Tuesday, there were nine  COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 23 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