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Lee Health: Last seven days ‘incredibly promising’

By Staff | Aug 5, 2020

Health officials on July 31 called the last seven days “incredibly promising” when it comes to the spread of COVID-19 in Lee County and reported the lowest amount of hospitalizations since June.

Lee Health President Dr. Larry Antonucci reported the good news in a media call while the state shared some discouraging news in their daily report, as single-day death totals hit a record high for the third consecutive day.

Antonucci said they saw new admissions of COVID-19 patients decrease every day over the last week and reported 203 positive patients at inpatient hospitals as of July 31.

The state on Friday reported an additional 281 new cases in Lee County, including nine deaths.

“This has been an incredibly promising week as Southwest Florida continues to fight against the coronavirus,” Antonucci said. “We saw the number of COVID-19 patients in our hospitals decrease every single day, and hospitalizations are at the lowest point since June.”

In addition, Antonucci said that out of an abundance of caution Lee Health’s mobile collection site at Lee Convenient Care’s Page Field office would be closed until Aug. 4. The Chester Street site in Cape Coral remained open due to their ability to stay protected from the weather. Page Field appointments were transferred to the Cape site.

Antonucci also wanted to clarify any misconception that Lee Health is not currently performing elective surgeries due to the increase of COVID patients they experienced in recent weeks.

“Under our surge plan, we have been restricting some elective surgeries that require overnight stays, but we are still performing hundreds of elective surgeries a week. In mid-June we were averaging about 260 surgeries per day, and over the last three weeks this has been reduced to about 220 to 225 surgeries per day,” he said.

“Our surgeons work with every patient to ensure their safety, and all patients are screened for symptoms of COVID-19 before their operation. Elective surgeries are vital in improving the quality of life for many patients, and we appreciate the patience and understanding from those who have had their surgeries delayed,” Antonucci said. “Our high bed census from three weeks ago necessitated the reduction of surgeries to ensure we had the capacity to care for all patients. This week we opened 62 additional beds, and our census is getting closer to normal for this time of year. This will allow ramp up elective surgeries to full capacity and surgeons are eager and ready to safely improve the quality of their patients’ lives.”