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Together, We Can: Lee Health and Lee County team up to battle the coronavirus pandemic

By Staff | Aug 13, 2020

The world has changed so much over the last five months. An essential part of our daily routine now includes putting on a face mask, and the term “social distancing” has become a household phrase. To keep each other safe and healthy, we have found creative ways to interact with our friends and families. We are all adapting to our new reality, and it is going to take all of us doing our part, and resisting complacency to keep our community safe as the battle against COVID-19 continues.

No one individual or organization has all the answers; the only way for us to defeat this invisible foe is to come together as a community. In much the same way Southwest Florida has united in the wake of serious hurricanes, we must work together for the safety of our neighbors, which is why Lee Health and Lee County have teamed up to create the “Together, We Can” campaign.

“Together, We Can” is an educational effort to empower our community to collaboratively defeat this deadly virus. From restaurants to retailers and schools to hospitals, this pandemic affects all of us in unique ways. Small businesses are hurting, and our health care system has seen unprecedented volumes for this time of year. We are all impacted by this virus, and the only way to prevail is a cohesive communitywide effort to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines.

We are asking you to wear a mask when out in public, which has been scientifically proven to help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus. Countless studies have shown that even homemade cloth face coverings are effective in containing the respiratory particles that spread the virus. We know that someone who has no symptoms can carry the virus, and masks can prevent someone who doesn’t even know they are sick from unwittingly passing the disease to someone else.

We are also asking Southwest Florida to be mindful of their proximity to others when out and about. Keep at least a 6-foot buffer between yourself and others. A safe physical distance combined with mask-wearing creates an environment that makes the risk of spreading a disease like COVID-19, especially for asymptomatic carriers, very low. It is also vital to remember to wash our hands regularly with soap and water.

Southwest Florida is strong; we have seen it time and time again. We have rebuilt after storms like Charley and Irma, and we will prevail over the coronavirus. Together, we can save lives. Together, we can support small businesses and our hospitals. Every action an individual takes amidst this pandemic has the power to either slow or speed up the spread of the coronavirus. Our goal is to empower Southwest Florida to take proactive precautions to protect family and strangers alike. We are not asking for life to stop, and we are not asking for you to stay at home 24/7. We are asking you to recognize the real threat of this virus and take simple actions to protect yourself and others.

We hope this is a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that will soon be behind us, but until it is, “Together, we can” keep Southwest Florida healthy and vibrant.

— Dr. Larry Antonucci, Lee Health President & CEO and Brian Hamman, Chairman Lee Board of County Commissioners