Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Safety is at the core of quality patient care

DAILY COVID-19 UPDATE: Friday, August 15, 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, August 14, 2020: DAILY COVID-19 UPDATE
Note: Due to national supply chain issues for PCR in-house testing supplies, we are temporarily sending COVID tests for those patients with no symptoms to an outside/independent lab for results. Patient care will remain the same regardless of in house or commercial lab testing, and NCH staff will continue to follow all current policies and procedures and plans of care without exception.

  • NCH has sent a total of 22,664 specimens for testing and our COVID-19 positivity rate stands at 14.3%
  • NCH is currently treating 77 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. That number represents 3 less than we were treating at this time yesterday. 
  • There has been a total of 17 COVID-19 positive pediatric patients admitted to NCH since the onset of the pandemic. This week, NCH admitted 0 pediatric COVID-19 positive patients.
  • NCH discharged 9 patients yesterday for a total of 896 COVID-19 inpatients discharged with directions to self-isolate as they continue to improve since the onset of the pandemic.
  • Open adult bed capacity at NCH stands at 20% available.
  • Open critical care bed capacity stands at 25% available.
  • Out of a total 153 ventilators on hand, 9 are being used today – 3 for COVID-19 patients.
  • NCH has 0 employees quarantined due to workplace exposure.
  • 22 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 59 since the onset of the pandemic. Our thoughts and prayers go out to friends and families of these individuals.

Watch NCH CEO Paul Hiltz's Message to the Community

NCH UPDATES

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. 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 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.


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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. 

ELECTIVE SURGERIES

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/TELEMEDICINE

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:

  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Back Strains
  • Cold Sores
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Common Cold
  • Influenza (Flu)
  • Minor Burns
  • Rashes
  • Sinus Infections
  • Stomach Flu
  • Upper Respiratory Illness
  • UTIs
  • 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:

Find a Testing Facility in Collier County

Visit: Collier County COVID-19 Testing


Find Nearest Immediate Care Facility

Visit: Immediate & Urgent Care Centers


For Medical Records Needs

Phone: 239-624-6567, OPTION 5. 


To Donate Blood 

NCH Community Blood Center is looking for blood and platelet donors to help support the ongoing needs of area patients. Platelet donations are arranged by appointment only: 239-624-4120, option 3. Blood donations are taken on a walk-in basis. All visitors should bring and wear face masks to our branch office & bloodmobile blood drive sites. NCH Community Blood Center is authorized to collect blood from healthy donors even during state mandated directives. We are following universal precautions and following guidelines issued from CDC and FDA to keep our donors safe.
  
NCH Community Blood Center is collecting Convalescent Plasma from qualified candidates: Visit link below for details. NCH Community Blood Center is a blood product collection facility. We do not provide antibody testing for a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Visit: www.givebloodcbc.org 



NCH Center for Philanthropy

NCH Healthcare System has incurred significant costs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including PPE supplies, equipment, facility upgrades, clinical staffing and needs related to the well-being of our frontline healthcare workers. Many of these investments – equipment and facility upgrades, in particular – are not only assisting with the current pandemic, but improving our readiness for future public health crises. Thank you for considering a tax-deductible contribution to help protect the health and safety of our community. Read more or donate now!


Documents & Resources

Coronavirus Florida Department of Health Hotline

Phone: 1-866-779-6121
Email: COVID-19@flhealth.gov


NCH Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) Testing Fact Sheets for Patients & Providers


CORONAVIRUS VIDEO RESOURCES

 


CORONAVIRUS VIDEO RESOURCES (Creole)

 


CORONAVIRUS VIDEO RESOURCES (Spanish)