Home / Lee Health: death toll reaches more than 1,000 after 14 COVID patients died on Tuesday

Lee Health: death toll reaches more than 1,000 after 14 COVID patients died on Tuesday

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:

More than 1,000 patients have died in Lee Health since the start of the pandemic. The hospital system reached the grisly milestone of 1,005 after 14 COVID patients died on Tuesday.

The hospital lost its first patient on March 5, 2020, who was also the first patient to die from COVID-19 complications in the state of Florida.

“In the year and a half that has followed, hundreds of families in our community have lost loved ones to this devastating virus,” Lee Health said in a statement. “Every death from this virus is heartbreaking, and hitting this grim milestone puts into perspective how widespread the devastation that COVID-19 has brought to our community. This has also taken a toll on our dedicated health care workers, who have seen more death than at any other point in their careers. Lee Health is asking our community to please keep our health care workers and the family members of those who have lost their lives in your thoughts and prayers this week.”

As of Wednesday morning, Lee Health is caring for 95 patients in the intensive care unit.

The hospital system said it is optimistic it has reached the peak of the delta variant outbreak.

  • As of Wednesday morning, there are 522 COVID-19 patients isolated in Lee Health hospitals (inpatient).
  • Of these patients, 14 of them are children being treated at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
  • On Tuesday, there were 56 new COVID-19 hospital admissions and 61 COVID-19 discharges.
  • 41% of ventilators and 2% of ICU rooms are available for use. There are 82 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 95 in the intensive care unit.
  • On Wednesday morning, census was at 98% of staffed operational bed capacity.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, 1,005 patients have died in Lee Health hospitals to COVID-19, including 14 on Tuesday.

“I would hate for anybody, anyone else’s family or children, to have to go through what we’ve gone through,” said Nicole Buchanan.

Buchanan’s husband Conrad, known professionally as DJ Griff Gotti, was one of the youngest people to die from COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic.

In a field off McGregor Boulevard, ceramic flowers are planted to represent the lives lost in Southwest Florida to COVID-19.

Among them are the more than 1,000 souls who have died at Lee Health.

Dr. Timothy Dougherty said he has seen the short-term complications and the long-term ones like death.

“And for me, that seems to be a real long-term complication for you and your family,” Dougherty said.

As more people die, hospital staff say it’s impossible for them not to feel their loss.

“I’m walking around the ICU and it hit me, probably after about seven rooms, I go, oh my God, I’ve just prayed for how many patients that are more than likely not going to make it,” said Denise Sawyer, a chaplain at Cape Coral Hospital. “And that was one of those moments when I had to stop and remove myself and just have a moment to cry.”