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Lee Health reports decline in number of patients being treated for COVID-19

By CJ HADDAD - | Jan 25, 2022

Could the current surge of the COVID-19 omicron variant have hit its peak in Southwest Florida?

Lee Health officials on Monday said the region “may have reached the plateau” of the rise in COVID-19 patients the healthcare system has seen over the last month.

“Over the last week, the number of COVID-19 patients being treated in Lee Health hospitals has decreased every day, and our emergency department and Lee Convenient Care volumes have started to return to pre-surge levels,” said Lee Health spokesperson Jonathon Little in an email. “While the current trend is promising, the omicron variant must still be taken as a serious threat to the health of our community. Four people passed away in Lee Health hospitals from COVID-19 over the weekend and we are treating more than 300 COVID patients in a hospital-based setting. Please continue to take the necessary steps to keep you and your family safe.”

By the Numbers

As of Tuesday morning, there were 301 COVID-19 patients isolated at Lee Health inpatient hospitals. Of those patients, four are being treated at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

As of Tuesday morning, hospital census was at 94% 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. Census in the intensive care unit was at 92% of staffed operational bed capacity on Tuesday. There were 37 COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

On Monday, Lee Health emergency departments saw 878 patients and Lee Convenient Care saw 371 patients.

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 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.LeeTele health.org.

— Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj