Lee Health, first Florida hospital to suffer COVID-19 death, surpasses 1,000 fatal cases
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COVID death
The hospital network reported 14 COVID-19 deaths Tuesday.

The first Florida hospital network to lose a patient to COVID-19 has now reported more than 1,000 deaths.

“Yesterday, 14 people lost their battles with COVID-19 at Lee Health hospital, marking an extremely sad milestone of over 1,000 deaths in our health system since the start of the pandemic,” wrote Lee Health Communications Supervisor Jonathan Little in an email update.

The particularly tragic day in Southwest Florida brought total losses among Lee Health COVID-19 patients to 1,005. The climb to a four-digit fatal case count comes just over 18 months after a woman in her 70s died at Gulf Coast Medical Center, becoming the first known novel coronavirus death in the state. The March 5, 2020 loss started Florida’s official death toll, which as of Friday, had climbed to 46,324, per an official Department of Health weekly report.

“Every death from this virus is heartbreaking, and hitting this grim milestone puts into perspective how widespread the devastation that COVID-19 has brought to our community,” Little wrote. “This has also take(n) a toll on our dedicated health care workers, who have seen more death than at any other point in their careers. Lee Health is asking our community to please keep our health care workers and the family members of those who have lost their lives in your thoughts and prayers this week.”

Meanwhile, the hospital system continues to treat 522 inpatients with COVID-19, admitting 56 yesterday. The network discharged 61 patients, but that includes the 14 who died.

As of Tuesday, the hospital had 82 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 95 in the intensive care unit.

Meanwhile, the state’s weekly report showed positivity rates for COVID-19 tests in Lee County, the area primarily served by Lee Health, at 22.2%. Epidemiologists consider the spread of the virus out of control when positivity rates exceed 10%. In total, some 110,885 cases of COVID-19 have been reported by the local Health Department, meaning more than 14% of the county’s population has tested positive for COVID-19 at some point over the course of the pandemic.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


One comment

  • PeterH

    September 8, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    One in four new Covid infections are children.

Comments are closed.


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