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Slight dip in COVID admissions

Lee Health offers some advice when recovering at home

By CJ HADDAD - | Sep 2, 2021

Lee Health officials reported some slightly good news on Thursday, as they discharged more COVID-19 patients than had admitted over the last 24-hour period — only the second time that has occurred over the last month.

The 596 patients in Lee Health facilities as of Thursday morning is the fewest number of COVID-19 patients Lee Health has treated since Aug. 20.

“We hope that this slight downturn will accelerate and continue over the next few weeks,” said Lee Health spokesperson Jonathon Little in an email Thursday. “While this is promising, we are still not out of the woods. Lee Health hospitals are still at capacity, and we are seeing more patients than ever. This is why it remains as important as ever to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. Widespread vaccination in our community can help prevent another surge like the one we are currently experiencing, especially as we move closer to our seasonal months.”

Lee Health’s free vaccination clinic at Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers (13681 Doctors Way) is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Individuals looking to become vaccinated can visit www.LeeHealth.org or call 239-343-0999 to schedule an appointment. A parent or guardian must accompany a minor.

Recovering at home

Residents of Lee County and Southwest Florida are not just recuperating from COVID-19 in hospitals, but at home as well.

Lee Health officials on Wednesday recommended those who have tested positive and do not require hospitalization monitor their symptoms and stay in touch with their doctor. If symptoms start to become severe, including trouble breathing, officials said the individual should immediately seek emergency care.

“While caring for yourself at home, you should also stay in one room of your house and separate yourself from others you live with as much as possible,” Little said. “This will help lower the risk of passing the coronavirus to those close to you. Staying hydrated and taking over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help you feel better as your body fights off the virus. Lying in a prone position on your stomach can also help with oxygen flow to your lungs. Move around as much as you are able, and refrain from lying on your back. If possible, eat to keep up your energy. If you need to communicate with the doctor, use MyChart, telehealth or call in advance of an appointment.”

Lee Health also noted that those who are in early days of a COVID-positive result should speak to their doctor about monoclonal antibody treatment.

“This innovative treatment has been shown to help prevent severe illness from COVID-19 if administered early,” Little said.

For more information on caring for yourself at home, visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.

By the numbers

As of Thursday morning, Lee Health had 596 COVID-19 patients isolated in system inpatient hospitals, including 60 new COVID-19 admissions and 64 COVID-19 discharges from Wednesday. Of those patients, 12 are children under the age of 18. Since the start of the pandemic, Lee Health has reported 948 patient deaths inside of their hospitals to COVID-19 related complications, including 13 on Wednesday.

Census as of Thursday morning was at 101% 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, 50% of ventilators and 3% of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

As of Thursday, there were 86 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 113 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