In anticipation of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s announcement about the reopening of Florida, Lee Health was preparing to resume elective surgeries and other in-person medical appointments. Now, with the go-ahead from the state to do so, we are proceeding cautiously to ensure the absolute safety of our patients and our staff.
Concerning elective surgeries, in particular, we are limiting procedures to 20-25% of normal volume as we monitor the impact on the health system. A significant factor that could become a limiting factor is the supply of personal protective equipment, especially as hospitals and health care systems across the country resume elective surgeries around the same time. Part of the guidelines for reopening Florida state that inpatient and outpatient operating rooms cannot use PPE supplied by the state or federal government for elective procedures. That is one reason a measured approach is necessary, as it helps us ensure we have the PPE we need to keep our patients and employees safe.
With reopening access, just as always, safety is paramount, and we are implementing additional layers of protection for our patients and staff. For example, every patient will be screened for symptoms of respiratory illness upon entering our facilities. We will be monitoring the health and exposure of our staff, as well. Additionally, all patients and staff will be required to wear protective face coverings. If patients do not have their own face coverings, we have the donated homemade masks we will use to keep our patients safe. In our waiting areas, we are rearranging seating so that all chairs are positioned a safe distance from each other, and in our Lee Physician Group practice, patients have the option of waiting in their cars after check-in. We also will continue to keep COVID-19 patients, and those with symptoms of the virus, separate from all other patients.
To protect our most vulnerable patients, we will continue the current hospital and nursing home visitor restrictions, and our staff will continue using technology to enable patients to connect with their loved ones.
All Lee Health hospitals and facilities are safe, and our teams are prepared to provide the leading-edge, compassionate care our community deserves and has come to expect from us for more than 100 years. We are our community’s health care system, and it is our privilege and honor to safely and compassionately serve you and care for you. ¦
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