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COVID queries clogging Lee Health emergency rooms

By CJ HADDAD - | Jan 6, 2022

Lee Health continues to report what they call a “sharp increase” in COVID-19 patients and emergency department visits.

Lee Health officials on Thursday said that young adults could utilize the services at Golisano Children’s Hospital which, in turn, could ease the burden on the rest of the system.

“For quicker emergency room service, consider the emergency department at Golisano Children’s Hospital if you are 21 years old or younger,” said Lee Health spokesperson Jonathon Little in an email. “Golisano’s emergency room is well-equipped to safely care for children and young adults, and this will help reduce some of the long wait times we are experiencing at other hospitals.”

Little also reminded the community that emergency rooms are not designated testing locations.

“Please seek community sites for COVID-19 testing and go to the emergency department only if you are experiencing a medical emergency,” he said.

As of Thursday morning, there are 212 COVID-19 patients isolated at Lee Health inpatient hospitals. Of those patients, six are being treated at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

As of Thursday morning, hospital census was at 95% 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.

On Wednesday, Lee Health emergency departments saw 1,097 patients. Little said before the current Omicron surge, their emergency departments were average around 900 patients per day.

On Wednesday, Lee Convenient Care saw 380 patients. Little said their LCC locations were averaging around 360 patients per day before the Omicron Surge.

Officials added that Lee TeleHealth is currently free and an easy alternative to avoid longer-than-usual wait times at urgent care centers.

Lee Health is making this service free for community members so they can utilize urgent care telehealth services from the comfort of their homes.

This option allows anyone with non-life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms to avoid long COVID-19 testing lines, Lee Convenient Care locations and the emergency department. Lee Health emergency departments are not designated COVID-19 testing locations. The normal cost of a visit is $49.

“Lee TeleHealth is an on-demand medical service that connects patients directly with a physician or advanced provider and is available 24/7,” officials said. “All you need to use Lee TeleHealth is a smartphone, tablet or a computer with a webcam.”

To access Lee Telehealth, download the Lee Health app or visit www.LeeTelehealth.org.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj