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Lee Health suspending certain elective procedures

'High census' within system forces change in scheduling

By CJ HADDAD - | Jan 7, 2022

Lee Health announced today it is temporarily suspending certain elective procedures “due to a high census across all Lee Health Hospitals.”

In an email, officials said procedures that require an overnight stay that can be postponed without causing patient harm are being rescheduled or not scheduled. Patients who need an elective outpatient surgery and who can go home the same day will not be impacted by the change, officials said.

“We understand this decision may be disappointing news for our patients, but it is necessary to safely manage our hospitals at a time when COVID-19 is spreading rapidly throughout our community, placing an extraordinary demand on our ability to manage our hospitals’ bed capacity,” said Lee Health spokesperson Jonathon Little in the email. “We will reevaluate this change when the number of COVID patients begins to decline.”

As of Friday morning, there are 220 COVID-19 patients isolated at Lee Health inpatient hospitals. Of those patients, six are being treated at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

As of Friday morning, hospital census was at 96% 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 Thursday, Lee Health emergency departments saw 984 patients. Little said before the current Omicron surge, their emergency departments were average around 900 patients per day.

On Thursday, Lee Convenient Care saw 482 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 normal wait times at urgent care centers.

Lee Health is making this service free for residents and visitors 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.