Lee Health caring for 80 COVID-19 patients; 175% increase since May 1

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

As of Thursday morning, Lee Health is caring for 80 COVID-19 patients in its hospitals, an increase of 175% since May 1 and the most COVID-19 patients it has treated in a hospital setting since March 1.

According to the CDC, over the last 14 days, new cases of COVID-19 are up 71% in the state and 57% in Lee County.

That’s hardly a precise percentage because many people can now test at-home. Many people diagnose themselves and never see a doctor.

Lee Health says in a press release that, while infections have been less severe during this surge in cases, these numbers illustrate the threat the virus that causes COVID-19 poses to vulnerable populations like the elderly or those with comorbidities.

Lee Health encourages people to make sure their COVID-19 vaccination status is up-to-date to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Maritza Vergeli was quick to get vaccinated the moment she got a chance.

Since then she’s been boosted, too.

But, she got COVID-19 regardless.

“I have a very bad immune system. My health is my medical history isn’t great. So I was a little bit worried. So, but I’m glad I’m starting to feel better,” Vergeli said. “I have now five autoimmune disease and now I have spinal issues now and have a whole bunch of crap going on.”

Her 16-year-old came to her with a sore throat. Soon enough she started feeling symptoms too.

“I felt like I’m like my lungs were filling up,” she said. “It’s been in my house twice before. I’m surprised I didn’t get it the other two times before I was Lysol and spray and it was crazy.”

Lee Health Dr. Mary Beth Saunders said the numbers aren’t as high as last year, but they are getting higher. And Memorial Day weekend could drive them higher.

“It’s tough to predict what’s going to happen,” she said. “We know the holiday weekend is coming up and we just wanted to get some messaging out.”

Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and stay home if you feel sick.

There is still room to handle emergencies.

“There’s still bed capacity, our EDs are able to navigate through the current number of patients that we have,” Saunders said. “And so, you know, Lee Health stays fairly prepared throughout the year for these changes in numbers of people coming in.”

If you wish to get vaccinated at Lee Health, please make an appointment on its website.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.