Lee Health nears 100% staffed bed capacity, activates pandemic surge plan

Reporter: Veronica Marshall
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

Lee Health says, for the first time ever, the hospital system is activating its pandemic surge plan.

Hospitals still have some beds available, but they don’t currently have the staff for those beds.

Lee Health is almost at 100% of its current staffed bed capacity.

To help alleviate the situation, Lee Health is scaling back elective surgeries and calling staff back to work.

Lee Health President and CEO, Dr. Larry Antonucci, said, “We are seeing volumes that are about 35% higher than normal for this time of year … Our ICU rooms are approaching full capacity.”

One thousand three hundred of Lee Health’s staffed beds are now occupied.

Dr. Antonucci explained, “Early on in this pandemic, we prepared a plan in the event we had to deal with a surge of patients. We are now activating the plan.”

Part of that plan includes scaling back on elective surgeries.

“This is a necessary action we must take to keep our hospitals from being overrun,” Dr. Antonucci added.

Another part of their plan is bringing back staff they had previously allowed to go on leave when the hospital was not experiencing a high volume of patients.

Antonucci said doing this will help to open more beds, “This has been an incredibly challenging time for our health system, and the fight is far from over.”

Dr. Antonucci also stressed how important it is for all of us to do our part to stop the spread — social distance and wear a mask.

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