Lee Health CEO Dr. Larry Antonucci held a press briefing Monday to discuss the increased number of COVID-19 cases Lee Hospitals are seeing lately. He says it’s becoming bleaker by the day and he’s urging parents not to opt out of masks for their kids.
As of Monday, Lee Health was caring for 419 COVID-19 patients including over 70 in intensive care. Also on Monday, 40% of the 914 patients Lee Hospitals cared for in the emergency department had COVID-19 symptoms. Hospital models predict these conditions to continue for the next several weeks.
The recent surge in cases also appears to be impacting Children a lot more than the first run in with the virus last year. There are 16 children with COVID-19 at Golisano Children’s Hospital, including 2 in intensive care. Before the current outbreak, Lee Health was averaging no more than 1 to 2 kids with COVID in the hospital per day.
Antonucci applauded the Lee County School District for requiring masks for all students. “I ask parents to please wait to opt out of this requirement. Please let the surge subside before putting children at further risk. Wearing a mask at school will help keep kids out of the hospital.”
Antonucci also made a personal plea to everyone in Southwest Florida. “Please do your part in helping fight this pandemic. Find a place to get vaccinated today. The vaccine is in plentiful supply and available on almost every corner – at Publix, Walgreens, CVS and other retailers. We welcome you at Lee Health’s vaccine clinic, which is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. You can make an appointment online or walk-in. Less than 50% of Lee County is vaccinated against COVID-19, and getting vaccinated today could be the difference between this surge lasting only weeks instead of months. I want to thank the influx of people who were vaccinated last week and who have scheduled to get vaccinated this week. It is not too late to help!
He also supports wearing a mask when in indoor public places and encourages everyone to social distance, and wash their hands frequently.