20 Lee Health staff members quarantined, 9 showing “cold-like symptoms”

Reporter: Sara Girard Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic Wednesday, as the number of cases worldwide topped 120,000.

Twenty employees at Lee Health are quarantined after coming in contact with two patients who tested positive for COVID-19. We learned nine of those employees are showing “cold-like symptoms” and all of them will be tested for coronavirus.

Lee Health says, so far, it has sent out 17 coronavirus tests to state labs. Two of those came back positive. Both Lee County patients were in their seventies. One of those patients was a woman who has died. The other patient is in critical condition.

There are eight tests still pending. The others came back negative.

Lee Health says people at low risk are asked to self-monitor. Then, those at medium to high risk are quarantined, and those who test positive for coronavirus are isolated.

“The overall risk to the community remains low, but the number of cases is growing,” said Dr. Larry Antonucci, the president and CEO of Lee Health. “We encourage everyone to be vigilant in doing the things they can to reduce exposure, which includes frequent handwashing and cleaning of surfaces.”

Below is the questionnaire visitors are getting when they arrive at Lee Health.

  1. Have you traveled outside of U.S. in the last 14 days?
  2. Have you experienced respiratory symptoms such as congestion, cough, sore throat or fever in the last 72 hours?
  3. Have you had any contact with someone who has recently been tested for novel coronavirus or is under investigation for novel coronavirus?

If visitors answer yes to any of these questions, they will not be allowed to visit patients at the hospital for 14 days after travel, or after symptoms clear.


The Florida Department of Health has opened a 24-hour COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Questions may also be emailed to covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida Department of Health COVID-19 updates

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