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COVID hospitalizations top 300; first time in more than 3 months

By CJ HADDAD - | Jan 13, 2022

Lee Health reported on Wednesday that for the first time in over three months, the health system in caring for more than 300 COVID-19 patients in its hospitals. As of Thursday morning, Lee Health reported they had 321 COVID-19 patients isolated in their inpatient hospitals.

Lee Health officials called the transmission of the current Omicron variant “wildfire-like.”

“Since the start of the new year, the number of COVID-19 patients in Lee Health intensive care units has increased by 580% and the number of patients on ventilators has increased by 367%,” said Lee Health spokesperson Jonathon Little in an email. “Omicron has the ability to cause life-threatening illness, and getting vaccinated or boosted today is the best way to protect immunocompromised and otherwise vulnerable members of our community.”

On Thursday, Lee Health officials stated that the Omicron surge and influx of season residents are causing longer-than-usual wait times at Lee Health facilities.

Little said that Lee Health offers several convenient alternatives that allow patients to skip the wait and receive quality health care in their own homes.

“Introduced to our community last fall, DispatchHealth is an innovative service that brings an urgent care visit directly to patients’ homes,” Little said. “No referral is required, and DispatchHealth can treat patients for cold and flu symptoms, minor sprains and muscle strains, joint pain, migraines and anything else they could receive care for at an urgent care facility.”

Patients can request an appointment at www.DispatchHealth.com.

City of Cape Coral being cautious

Cape Coral City Manager Rob Hernandez sent an email to all city employees to stay vigilant when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.

Hernandez implemented protocol that included: the encouragement of wearing masks in a common area of city facilities and when social distancing cannot be achieved, including two or more employees in a vehicle; that masks must comply with the CDC’s recommendations; and that virtual meetings are encouraged whenever possible rather than in-person meetings.

This provision does not include City Council meetings.

If an employee tests positive, regardless of vaccination status, they must: stay home for five days; can return to work if symptoms resolve after five days; continue to wear a mask around other for an addition five days; and stay home if a fever continues.

Those who were exposed to someone with COVID-19 must: wear a mask around other for 10 days; test on day five, if possible; and stay home and get a test if the individual develops symptoms.

Curative at 1020 Cultural Park Blvd. (across the street from City Hall fountain) continues to offer free PCR and rapid testing. Appointments are recommended and can be made at curative.com.

By the Numbers

As of Thursday morning, there were 321 COVID-19 patients isolated at Lee Health inpatient hospitals.

Of those patients, 10 are being treated at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

As of Thursday 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 Wednesday, Lee Health emergency departments saw 945 patients. Officials said before the current Omicron surge, their emergency departments were average around 900 patients per day.

On Wednesday, Lee Convenient Care saw 421 patients. Officials said their LCC locations were averaging around 360 patients per day before the Omicron Surge.

TeleHealth is currently free

Lee Health is offering TeleHealth services at no cost to 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

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