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Coronavirus update for Lee County

April 1, 2020
By NATHAN MAYBERG ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

There were three reported deaths from COVID-19 between March 24 and March 30. The last death, a 77-year-old male and Florida resident, was confirmed Friday by Lee Health, bringing the total deaths from the virus to six in Lee County for the month of March. There have been 71 deaths related to COVID-19 statewide.

From Saturday through Monday, there were no COVID-19 fatalities reported.

As of Monday evening, there are 164 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Lee County and 5,704 confirmed positives in the state out of 55,516 tested.

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Last week, a 39-year-old male and 94-year-old male. They were both Florida residents.

"These victims left behind loved ones who will miss them dearly. They left behind children and grandchildren, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters and an untold number of friends," Lee Health President and CEO Larru Antonucci said.

"My heart breaks for these families, and it is incumbent on our community to work together to get through this as quickly as possible in order to ensure that as few families as possible experience this same pain.

"That is why today I am calling on local leaders to take action to promote social distancing. The situation is dire, and we must act now to stop this virus from tearing many more families apart. This is not a virus that attacks just the vulnerable or the elderly. We have seen people from all ages, all walks of life and all levels of health face the battle of their lives against this virus, and unfortunately not everyone wins that battle."

According to Antonucci, there are currently 31 COVID-19 patients at Lee Health hospitals. Since the outbreak began in Lee County March 5, 10 patients have been discharged.

Four Lee Health employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and 136 Lee Health employees are quarantined at home.

Lee Health has tested 2,602 specimens for COVID-19, with a total of 103 presumptive.

Antonucci said Lee Health is also limiting routine services in its outpatient facilities. All urgent and essential screenings and tests will still be performed. Lee Health Coconut Point, the Regional Cancer Center, Surfside, the Sanctuary and HealthPark Commons Outpatient Centers will remain open, while all other outpatient centers will close or partially close. All essential visits will be consolidated into the facilities that remain open.

Lee County has the sixth-most cases amongst counties in Florida with 164 reported as of March 30.

In a statement issued Monday, Antonucci said "I attended the Lee County Board of County Commission meeting this morning, and I applaud the Commissioners for voting to adopt an emergency resolution that mirrors the Florida Surgeon General's March 25th recommendations. We are appreciative of the continued dialogue with the Commission as we continue to advocate for measures that will eventually create maximum social distancing.

"Every leader in this community is facing some of the toughest decisions of their lives, but we are all working toward the shared goal," Antonucci said. "I am proud of the way our residents heeded these warnings over the weekend. Roads and non-essential stores were nearly empty. If we continue to practice this type of aggressive social distancing, we can greatly limit the number of cases that strike our region."



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