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Lee Health: Continue COVID-19 mitigation precautions

Following CDC guidelines can help prevent 'second wave'

May 28, 2020
By CJ HADDAD ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

As droves of residents ventured out over the holiday weekend, Lee Health officials urged to the public to continue to social distancing practices.

Cases did increase over the weekend, President and CEO of Lee Health, Dr. Larry Antonucci, stated Wednesday afternoon. He was also displeased with what he saw over the weekend.

"We are seeing cases of COVID-19 rise in our community," Antonucci wrote on Twitter Tuesday. "On the one hand, this is not surprising since more people are getting tested. On the other hand, however, we have to take any increase in cases seriously and watch our numbers carefully to ensure we have the capacity, personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies we need to care for our community.

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"This past weekend, as I was out and about in our community, I noticed people not heeding the advice of the CDC - not wearing a mask or face covering and not keeping a safe distance between themselves and others. These are the critical actions and behaviors that we need to incorporate into our daily lives to decrease the possibility of a second wave of cases. So, while reopening our community is a welcomed sight for so many reasons, we cannot relax our efforts to protect ourselves and each other. Please continue to practice physical social distancing, good hand hygiene and wear a mask when you are out in public."

Antonucci said Lee Health supports the reopening of local beaches and businesses, but in a safe manner. He said it is in the hands of the residents to continue to safely go about their business.

Antonucci also asked residents to wear masks in public, even if they find it uncomfortable or silly.

"Continue to practice good hand hygiene and wear a mask when in public. Everyone is vulnerable to this virus, and they help keep our community safe," he said. "It is okay to leave our homes, enjoy some fresh air and grab a bite to eat, but we must not become complacent as Florida works through its reopening phases."

* Cape Coral mobile testing site closed

"Yesterday was the final day of operation for our Cape Coral mobile collection site, and the tents will be broken down today," Antonucci said Wednesday. "Overall demand and volume has fallen, and the site in Fort Myers at our Lee Convenient Care Page Field location is equipped to meet the full needs of our community. This mobile collection site will continue to operate 7 days a week. I want to thank the City of Cape Coral for their support over the past months as we quickly got the site up and running to serve patients in that community."

* By the Numbers

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, there are 53,285 cases of the new coronavirus confirmed in Florida, an increase of 651 since FDOH's last update Wednesday morning.

More than 21,900 test results were reported to the Department of Health on Wednesday, May 27. Of those reported tests, 3 percent tested positive.

The death toll increased by 45 from 11 a.m. Wednesday to 11 a.m. Thursday, reported among Lee, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Dade, Dixie, Hendry, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota, St. Lucie and Washington counties.

A total of 953,321 individuals have been tested: 898,331 have tested negative, 1,705 tests were inconclusive and 1,158 tests are pending results. Of those testing positive, 9,795 have been hospitalized at some point during their illness. There have been 2,364 deaths.

While Florida's testing has increased over the past week, the percent of those testing positive for COVID-19 overall is 6 percent.

In Lee County, 1,802 individuals have tested positive as of 11 a.m. Thursday; 746 in Fort Myers, 322 in Cape Coral, 398 in Lehigh Acres, 125 in Bonita Springs, 64 in Estero, 53 in North Fort Myers, 11 in Sanibel, 13 on Fort Myers Beach, seven in Alva, three on Matlacha, one on Captiva, one in Bokeelia and one in Boca Grande.

Positive COVID-19 cases in the county have ranged from infants to a 101-year-old. Lee County saw its first two cases on March 7, when a man and a woman, each 77, tested positive. They had traveled to the Dominican Republic.

There have been 100 deaths in Lee County, an increase of one from yesterday. All but four deaths were patients between the ages 61 to 96. The exceptions were a 39-year-old man who died March 25, a 52-year-old man who died April 30, a 57-year-old woman who died May 12 and a 42-year-old man who died May 20.

As of Thursday afternoon, Lee Health had 105 COVID-19 patients isolated in system hospitals, a decrease of one since their last update Wednesday afternoon. A total of 506 patients who had tested positive have been discharged, including 10 on Wednesday.

The system has submitted a total of 16,734 specimens for testing, with 21 results currently pending.

Lee Health mobile collection sites on Wednesday collected 156 specimens and had a total of 810 telemedicine visits.

Current bed capacity is at 77 percent, with 9 percent of those being COVID-19 patients.

As of Thursday, 72 percent of ventilators and 7 percent of ICU rooms are available for use across Lee Health facilities.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious viral disease. For most individuals, symptoms are mild. For a minority, the disease becomes a type of viral pneumonia with severe complications. Especially at risk are those who are older, those with underlying health conditions and the immune-compromised.

Officials continue to urge those most at risk to remain at home so as to limit exposure and so limit the number of cases so as to not overwhelm the health care system with at-risk and severe cases. As Florida's reopening continues, face masks or coverings and social distancing are strongly urged for all public interactions with hand washing or sanitizing to follow.

For more detail on Florida resident cases, visit the live DOH Dashboard.

To find the most up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19, visit the Department of Health's dedicated COVID-19 webpage. For information and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control, visit the CDC COVID-19 website. For more information about current travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State, visit the travel advisory website.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, contact the Department's dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-866-779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to

- Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj



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