An Update from Chris Simoneau, Chief Foundation and Development Officer, Lee Health

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Friend of Lee Health,

I’d like to give you an update on where things stand at your health system as of July 21. Over the last few weeks we’ve experienced a surge at Lee Health, seeing unprecedented volumes across our system. Today, we have 370 COVID-19 positive patients in our facilities. This is close to the most we’ve had since our first patient was seen in early March.

To manage the volumes of patients, two of three floors of our Gulf Coast Skilled Nursing Unit have been converted to a 48-bed COVID unit and we are in the process of converting the third floor for an additional 24 beds.

Additionally, we have a census of more than 1,300 patients in our acute care hospitals, which is 100% of our staffed bed capacity managed under the operation of our limited summer staff as seasonal traveling nurses, doctors and support personnel have gone north until fall. This puts additional stress on our frontline healthcare heroes.

Lee Health is committed to serving the community, and we are taking care of every individual who walks through our doors. We want to get them healthy and home to be close to their families. We have experienced loss alongside some families. Every single patient and every loss is a person to us, not a number. They are parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters. We care about every single one of them.

The light in all of this is that our mortality rates are declining. Length of stay in our hospital is also declining, and new therapeutics are helping our patients recover better. We are seeing better outcomes in patients.

I want to thank you. We can’t support all of these patients and families without your help. We are extremely grateful for all the donations: funding, PPE, meals for our healthcare heroes, and so much more. Donations from our community are being used for employee meals and relief, additional lab equipment for COVID testing, iPads for family/patient communications, PPE (including masks for visitors), and to set up testing locations.

I ask you to continue to support us, to support the doctors and nurses who are wearing PPE for 10, 12, 14 hours a day – looking out for our neighbors. We need your support, we need your prayers, we need you to take forward the message that we can do better. Mask, social distance, and hand wash so that we can take care of each other.

Good things are happening. We will get through this together.  We are grateful for all you’ve done and the need for your support continues.

I encourage you to visit our website or for the most up-to-date information. If you’d like to give me a call, I’d love to hear from you.


Chris Simoneau
Chief Foundation and Development Officer
Lee Health