COVID-19 Asked and Answered
Updated January 4, 2022
Q: What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?
A: There are a lot of options for your care. You can contact your primary care physician or visit a walk-in clinic to be evaluated and learn if COVID-19 testing is right for you. Your doctor will help determine the best treatment for your situation. Currently, Lee Health’s convenient telehealth service, Lee Telehealth is free for all patients. Patients can access a doctor or advanced provider 24/7 at www.leetelehealth.org.
If you have severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing, immediately seek emergency care or call 911. If you don’t have severe symptoms the aforementioned options are more appropriate than the emergency room.
Q: How can I get tested for COVID-19?
A: There are dozens of COVID-19 testing locations throughout Southwest Florida. Click Here to find the testing location that is most convenient for you.
Q: Should I get vaccinated against COVID-19?
A: Yes! Vaccination is the best tool we have to protect against the coronavirus. Vaccination protects you from severe infection and lessens the opportunity for you to spread the virus to others.
Many retailers such as Publix, Walgreens and CVS offer the vaccine. Click here for more information on getting vaccinated at Lee Health. The schedule for the pediatric mobile vaccination clinic can be viewed by clicking here.
Q: Are masks required at Lee Health?
A: Yes, per CDC guidelines, masks are required to be worn by anyone entering a Lee Health facility, regardless of vaccination status. They must be worn at all times when in the facility unless eating or drinking. Visitors are required to leave their masks on even when in a patient room. As an operating health system, the safety of our patients, staff and visitors is our top priority. By requiring masks, we are limiting the risk of spreading COVID-19 in health facilities and ensuring that we can continue to effectively provide care for all who need it. To preserve personal protective equipment for staff, we ask that the public bring their own masks.
Q: Why is Lee Health advocating for wearing a mask in public even if someone is vaccinated?
A: Lee Health follows CDC recommendations for masking, and when an area is considered a hotspot, that usually means recommending masking in public indoor places, regardless of vaccination status. It is possible to carry the virus if you are vaccinated, so wearing a mask provides an extra layer of protection. Click here for current CDC recommendations.
Q: Should my children be masked at school?
A: The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that students K-12 be masked during school this year. The CDC also recommends that all people be masked in areas of substantial and high transmission of COVID regardless of vaccination status.
Q: Are visitors allowed at Lee Health?
A: To view our current visitation policy, please click here.
Q: How do variants impact the spread of the coronavirus?
A: All viruses mutate as they spread through a population, and the coronavirus is no different. The delta and omicron variants appear to spread more quickly than previous iterations of this virus. This is another reason it is important to get vaccinated, as the less chance there is for a virus to spread the less opportunity there is to mutate.
Q: Is Lee Health tracking the omicron variant?
A: Lee Health does not do the genetic testing that is required to determine if a patient is infected with a variant of the coronavirus. However, according to the CDC, nearly all current infections in the United States are caused by the omicron or delta variant, and we suspect the majority of patients we are treating in our hospitals are infected with these variants. Statewide, the Florida Department of Health is charged with tracking variants of the coronavirus.
Q: How are vaccinated people still testing positive for COVID-19?
A: The COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective, and are working as they are supposed to. Like the flu vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine does not guarantee that you won’t get sick; however, if you are exposed to the coronavirus, you’re likely to have mild to no symptoms. You are also far less likely to end up in the hospital, and if you are hospitalized, you are likely to recover quicker and avoid the ICU. So, while the COVID-19 vaccine does not guarantee you will never test positive, it does mean your chances of severe illness are very low if you are exposed to the coronavirus.
Q: I am fully vaccinated; can I get a booster shot?
A: Yes. Please click here for more information on COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination scheduling.
Q: Are all patients tested for COVID-19? How often are patients admitted for COVID and then test positive?
A: Lee Health tests people who are symptomatic, those who need testing for placement or procedures or those who request a test due to a known exposure. We do not test hospitalized patients who have no suspicion of having COVID-19. While it is possible for a patient to be admitted for something else and then test positive, the overwhelming majority of our COVID patients are admitted for COVID as their primary diagnosis.
Q: Does Lee Health ask patients if they are vaccinated?
A: Yes, Lee Health’s policy is to ask every patient whose vaccination status is unknown if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.