DAILY COVID-19 UPDATE
- NCH has sent a total of 16,054 specimens for testing since the onset of the pandemic.
- NCH is treating 111 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- NCH has discharged 473 COVID-19 inpatients with directions to self-isolate as they continue to improve.
- Open adult bed capacity stands at 17% available while open critical care bed capacity stands at 30% available.
- Out of a total 153 ventilators on hand, only 12 are being used today – 9 for COVID patients.
- NCH has 9 employees quarantined.
- 45 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and remain isolated due to community related exposure.
- The number of individuals who have passed away at an NCH facility due to COVID-19 now stands at 29 since the onset of the pandemic. Our thoughts and prayers go out to friends and families of these individuals.
There have been some questions surrounding PPE and whether or not NCH is seeing a shortage. At this time, NCH is not facing any immediate challenges securing PPE. Further, NCH is always reviewing its supply chain to insure that we can continue to get adequate supplies to safeguard our staff and care for our community.
There have been many questions surrounding bed capacity at NCH and we want to assure the community that our hospitals are prepared in that regard. As of this morning, NCH has a total of 120 beds available – 101 open adult beds and 19 open critical care beds. Under normal, typical operations, NCH has 715 total beds available with 48 of those being designated as critical care beds. However, in the event that NCH had to enact its emergency COVID surge plans, we have the capability of expanding to 1000 total adult beds with 143 of those being designated as critical care.
Our ventilator supply remains good, with only 10 vents out of a total of 153 being used today.
At NCH, we are seeing those patients seeking treatment for COVID-19 shift younger to a median age of 44 years old. As a result, these younger patients are requiring less critical care and ventilator usage then what we saw at the onset of the pandemic. Of the 110 COVID-19 patients in an NCH facility today, 15 are in critical care and only 3 of them are on a ventilator.
It is important to continue to be diligent with wearing PPE. Not just at work, but in our community too. We have seen the results at our healthcare system when we follow the proper process and continue to social distance, wear our PPE and wash our hands. Please encourage your fellow community members to follow these practices and continue to be diligent to help avoid the spread of this virus.
Drive-thru COVID-19 PCR testing at the NCH Baker Hospital has ended as testing supplies become more commercially available allowing physicians to be able to offer testing at their own practices. NCH has been pleased to offer this service for our residents since March 16.
Samples may be collected in most providers’ practices and sent to commercial laboratories, and in most cases, there are no out-of-pocket expenses to patients.
Community members can call their primary care physician to schedule COVID-19 testing or call the Florida Department of Health in Collier County, 7 days a week from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., to learn about other local testing sites. Their phone number is 239-252-6220. For the most recent list of testing sites, please click HERE.
UPDATES ON VISITOR POLICY
In light of the spike of cases currently occurring, NCH has made the decision to continue with visitor restrictions at NCH hospitals, except for circumstances that involve the care of a minor or compassionate care / end-of-life cases. We feel strongly that our visitation restriction policy, while difficult, is effective in curbing the transmission of the Coronavirus, and we take this measure out of an abundance of caution to safeguard our patients wellbeing as well as that of their families.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and will update the community on an ease of this policy when analysis of the data we are seeing on our communities in eastern Collier County show signs of improvement.
Exceptions include the following:
- Pediatric visitors are limited to parents and/or guardians; maximum of 2 people per patient. One parent/guardian may sleep in the room overnight.
- Birthplace visitors are limited to one support person per patient.
- Emergency Room visitors are encouraged to wait outside the hospital. Visitors who cannot wait outdoors will wear a surgical mask and wash their hands. Visitors who cannot/will not wear a surgical mask properly will be politely excused from the building.
- Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) may have one birth parent plus one significant other.
NCH recognizes national and state guidance in regard to performing elective surgeries while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. We also have processes in place for urgent or emergent procedures as well. We will continually evaluate whether Collier County remains a low risk of incidence and will be prepared to cease non-essential procedures if there is a significant surge. Patients are segregated into COVID-19 care and Non-COVID-care (NCC) units and our workforce will avoid working in both COVID-19 and NCC units simultaneously. NCH will monitor supplies and resources regularly to care for COVID-19 and non-COVID patients.
A proactive approach to scheduling elective cases has been adopted, which will allow for stratification and testing of higher risk patients. Screening for possible COVID-19 infections is a continuous process that starts at the office visit with the surgeon or proceduralist. Last minute scheduling requests will not be honored in order to adequately screen all patients. PPE will be worn by all staff and physicians conducting the surgeries.
Patients with any symptoms will have their elective procedure postponed until consultation with their provider for possible COVID-19 testing. The surgeon/proceduralist will assess the patient’s ability and willingness to self-isolate to avoid infection before the scheduled procedure. When indicated COVID-19 PCR testing should be arranged such that the patient is tested 3-5 days in advance of the procedure to allow results to post. Again, NCH has other processes in place for urgent or emergent procedures so that those patients can be seen immediately if there is a threat to life or limb.
ANTIBODY TESTING UPDATE
NCH has initiated antibody testing of our staff, starting with those employees closest to the front lines such as those working in our COVID units and emergency departments. Community antibody testing will be done in phases beginning in July, and we will be sharing more information on those dates in the latter half of June.
Data collected from antibody testing will help the medical community and researchers to better understand the virus that causes COVID-19 virus, and we will share those results with our associates and our community. We will also continue to communicate our processes with instructions on how residents can get tested for antibodies as we get closer to our anticipated date in July when testing for the community will start.
DRIVE-THRU TESTING AVAILABLE IN FORT MYERS
The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) is sponsoring Drive-Thru Testing (no order needed) at the CenturyLink Sports Complex (4100 Ben C. Pratt/Six-Mile Cypress Parkway) in Fort Myers. Testing is available everyday, from 9am - 5pm and individuals over the age of 18 can be tested regardless of symptoms. For more information, please visit floridadisaster.org.
Watch the COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall with Collier County Community
NCH Physician Group providers are using telemedicine to provide access to care to patients in their practices. Please use the coupon code “NCHVC” in order to have the visit at no charge.
Telehealth: NCH has partnered with AmericanWell (Amwell) to provide Virtual Care services to the community. Those who would like to check in with a provider any time of the day or night are able to log on to a visit. Providers will escalate the virtual care to one of our Immediate Care locations if additional services are needed. The community is able to access our virtual care visits for $0, at no cost, during this time of our COVID pandemic.
Virtual Care is able to help with ailments such as:
- Back Strains
- Cold Sores
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Common Cold
- Influenza (Flu)
- Minor Burns
- Sinus Infections
- Stomach Flu
- Upper Respiratory Illness
- Yeast Infections
The AmericanWell providers can also screen patients for symptoms of COVID-19 and will refer those who may need testing for this virus to NCH Immediate Care. Patients who need Immediate Care services are able to gain access to care 7 days per week and are encouraged to save their place in line, avoiding long waits in our lobby areas, through our “wait at home” queue.
Telemedicine: NCH Physician Group has contracted with SecureVideo to extend virtual provider visit invitations. These telemedicine visits are documented in Cerner and are considered the same as an office visit during the COVID emergency. In an effort to continue to care for our patients, and acknowledging efforts to social distance, providers are evaluating the needs of the patient to have as much care as possible completed remotely.
More Telehealth/Telemedicine Information:
NCH Virtual Appointment Guide - Text (SMS) Invitation