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COVID-19 Update: March 18, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Daily Updates

Daily Stats

As of today, Lee Health has:

  • 4 COVID-19 patients isolated in our hospitals
  • Submitted 232 specimens for testing
  • The Florida Department of Health has created this dashboard, which you can use to stay abreast of cases, and positive and negative test results, in our state and county.
  • We currently have 66 employees quarantined.

Today’s News

What does it mean when hospitals cohort patients?

To reduce COVID-19 exposure opportunities for patients and employees, Lee Health is following CDC guidelines for cohorting patients. In simple terms, cohorting means to create an area to spatially separate people with known or suspected COVID-19 symptoms, to prevent further spread of the virus.

Triage practices at each Lee Health hospital emergency department (ED) are now separating patients who present with respiratory symptoms from other patients in the ED. In an effort to begin cohorting patients who present to the ED, two tents have been erected in the parking lot: one for triage, and the other for those patients with respiratory symptoms. The second tent serves as a waiting room for patients with respiratory symptoms—keeping them together and separated from others without respiratory symptoms. The first two tents are up at Lee Memorial Hospital, and tents will be delivered and erected today at the other three acute-care hospitals and the freestanding ED at Lee Health Coconut Point.

Each acute care hospital has also designated a specific unit for COVID-19 patients admitted for care.

Separating known or suspected COVID-19 patients from other patients (“cohorting”) helps to:

  • Reduce morbidity and mortality
  • Minimize disease transmission
  • Protect health care personnel
  • Preserve health care system functioning

An Update on the Mobile Collection Sites

We are opening a second mobile collection site, this one in Cape Coral, this week. Specific information will be shared in an upcoming update. The first mobile collection site at Lee Convenient Care on U.S. 41 near Page Field continues to run smoothly. The team collected 51 specimens yesterday, which were sent to labs for testing.

Lee Physician Group Suspending All Routine Visits and Well-Checks

As we continue to advocate for distancing to prevent against further spread of the disease, Lee Physician Group is suspending all routine visits and well-checks until further notice. The practices are still seeing patients for non-routine visits, cohorting patients by seeing those without respiratory symptoms in the morning, cleaning the office at lunch, and then seeing patients with respiratory symptoms in the afternoon.

Support Resources

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has created fact sheets to help you talk to your children and to take care of yourselves during an infectious disease outbreak. Click here for resources.

Headspace, the popular meditation app, is now being offered for free for health care providers. If you are a health care provider, download the app and enter your NPI to register.

United Way’s Emergency Information Hotline, 211, is live and will be manned daily 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Share this information with anyone who may need it. Dial 211 to connect with community resources and critical services.

Blood Drives Planned for this Weekend

The American Red Cross has graciously stepped up to host two mobile blood drives in support of Lee Health. The drives will be held at 7051 Cypress Terrace, Suite 110 in Fort Myers on Saturday, March 21 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and Sunday, March 22 from noon-4 p.m. Blood drives are not “mass gatherings,” rather controlled events conducted using appropriate infection control mechanisms intended to assure the safety of the products, donors and staff. Please share this information with your family, friends and neighbors.