DAILY COVID-19 UPDATE: Friday, December 4, 2020
NCH also wants to remind the public that if you are sick, please feel confident you can safely come to any of our facilities. Don’t wait. We don’t want patients to experience an unnecessary personal health crisis. To date, and after thousands of COVID-positive patient interactions by staff and over 20,000 tests administered, only 1 employee has ever tested positive from workplace exposure, and that employee fully recovered and returned to work months ago. Most notably, however, is the fact that there has been 0 patient to patient COVID-19 exposures at NCH, all because of our diligent processes to keep our team and our patients safe throughout the pandemic.
Friday, December 4, 2020: DAILY COVID-19 UPDATE
NCH has sent a total of 43,773 specimens for testing. The COVID-19 positivity rate for the last 7 days at NCH stands at 7.78%; while the 14-day rate for Collier County is at 9.39%.
NCH is currently treating 67 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. That is 6 mor4e than we were treating as of our last update yesterday.
NCH discharged 9 patients yesterday for a total of 1,436 COVID-19 inpatients discharged since the onset of the pandemic.
There has been a total of 25 COVID-19 positive pediatric patients admitted to NCH since the onset of the pandemic. NCH has admitted 1 pediatric COVID-19 positive patient since our last update on December 3.
NCH has 0 employee quarantined due to workplace exposure.
37 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and remain isolated due to family or community related exposure.
The number of individuals who have passed away at an NCH facility due to COVID-19 stands at 99 since the onset of the pandemic. Our thoughts and prayers go out to friends and families of these individuals.
UPDATES ON VISITOR POLICY
NCH to Expand Visitation
We have reviewed our protocols and determined that we can safely lift visitor restrictions and allow adult visitation to patients within our hospitals from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Guests to the hospital must be visiting a loved one already admitted, or be a caregiver escorting a patient seeking care at either the Baker or North Naples Hospitals. Only immediate household members will be permitted for visitation.
Visitors should be in good health and symptom-free of any illness, and a screening process to include a good-health attestation and temperature check, will be required upon entry.
We ask guests to refrain from visiting if they are ill, have a fever, or have been exposed to COVID-19. All visitors are required to wear their face masks at all times while visiting our facilities and must follow physical distancing practices. Ventilated masks are not allowed.
With the exception of our Pediatric department and compassionate care circumstances, two visitors will be allowed per patient and will be restricted to the patient room and hospital lobby. Visitors under the age of 12 will not be permitted.
To eliminate the risk of disease transmission, no visitation will be allowed for COVID-19 patients except under compassionate care circumstances.
Is NCH going to be providing the vaccine when one is available?
NCH is working diligently on becoming one of the distribution centers for a COVID-19 vaccine for our community once one has been approved by the FDA. We are working closely with state government officials and have sent communication to the Governor’s office.
What has NCH done to become a vaccine administrator for our region?
Two months ago, NCH purchased large capacity freezers capable of maintaining temperatures below -60 degrees Celsius for any vaccine that may become available. Those freezers were installed and operational in mid November. We have also prepared physician order sets and built partnership links with other state organizations, like with Florida Shots, the state vaccine tracking system, to keep track of administered shots. NCH is prepared and standing ready to be able to administer the vaccine.
Where can I find more information about the vaccine that is in the news recently?
Pfizer is the manufacturer of the two-dose vaccine (currently before the FDA for approval). More information can be found on their website by clicking here
or visiting www.pfizer.com
When would the vaccine be available to the community?
Healthcare and government leaders are working on a phased approach to vaccine availability. Once those have been established and NCH has received approval to administer the vaccine, we will strictly follow the rules set forth in dispensing the vaccine in this phased approach.
When will the vaccine be ready for phase one?
While timing remains uncertain, if all goes as planned and the drug receives FDA approval, vaccine could be available as early as the end of 2020.
Is NCH the only place administering the vaccine in our region?
While we cannot say for certain, we anticipate that the DOH and other healthcare organizations will also be able to administer the vaccine to our community to help get it out more quickly to our residents, just as there are multiple administrators for the flu vaccine.
Watch NCH CEO Paul Hiltz's Message to the 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. 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.
It is important to continue to be diligent with wearing a mask. 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
Troubleshooting Tips for Patients