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Lee Health curtails visitations

By CJ HADDAD - | Aug 12, 2021

As of Thursday, visitation at Lee Health’s adult care hospital campuses is limited to one person at a time per patient, except in cases of compassionate care.

Lee Health officials on Wednesday reported the policy change “in an effort to protect the safety of patients and team members from the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in our community.”

At Golisano Children’s Hospital, patients are allowed two designated visitors (over 12 years of age) noted upon admission who can be with the patient, in their room, at all times.

“Several days ago, due to the current COVID-19 surge, Lee Health implemented other visitation restrictions, which are still in place,” officials said.

They include:

– Visitation in the emergency departments is restricted. Visitors are only granted access in the emergency departments at the adult acute care hospitals for compassionate care or if they are needed to gather information related to providing care (and thus allowed in the emergency department at the discretion of our staff). At Golisano’s emergency department, visitation is limited to two people.

– At Lee Convenient Care, visitors are only granted access to the clinics if they are needed to gather information related to providing care, or in the event of a special circumstance, which would be at the discretion of the clinic staff.

– For adult ambulatory surgical patients, one visitor is allowed to accompany the patient for any appointment registration process. This one visitor may stay with the patient during pre-op and is allowed to wait in the facility waiting area during the procedure. For pediatric patients, one parent or guardian may stay with their child, plus one guest over 12 years-old.

– Contact the Skilled Nursing Units at Gulf Coast Medical Center, Lee Memorial Hospital and HealthPark Care and Rehabilitation Hospital for visitation policies at the facilities.

All visitors must be over 12 years old and will be required to complete a screening process, practice social distancing, and sanitize their hands with alcohol-based gel before visitation, officials said. Officials added that all visitors are required to provide their own mask and wear it at all times.

“Visitors who violate this policy may be asked to leave the facility,” the release stated. “Ventilated masks are not allowed as they let expelled breath into the air. Visitors are required to wear masks in patient rooms, and should put their mask back on if someone else enters room while they are eating and/or drinking. Visitors are not allowed to eat in the cafeteria.”

General hospital visitation hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information and a complete list of all visitation restrictions, visit www.leehealth.org.

By the numbers

As of Thursday morning, Lee Health had 480 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 82 new COVID-19 admissions and 47 COVID-19 discharges since Wednesday.

Census as of Thursday morning was at 91% of staffed operational bed capacity. 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, 71% of ventilators and 7% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

As of Thursday, there were 39 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 71 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.

With the number of COVID- 19 cases again climbing due, in part, to the latest mutation of the virus, the CDC is recommending that even vaccinated individuals “maximize protection from the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others” by wearing a mask indoors in public in areas “of substantial or high transmission.”

The CDC also recommends masks for those at high risk of serious illness from COVID, those with compromised immune systems, those who are older, and those with underlying medical conditions.

Vaccination is highly urged.

For more detail on Florida resident cases, visit floridahealthcovid19.gov.

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