Lee Health hospitals are bursting at the seams and are at nearly 100%capacity. Now, they are warning you not to come to the emergency room unless you absolutely have to.
“We are at nearly 100% capacity in our hospitals, very close to that,” said Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief medical officer at Lee Health.
This increase in patients is not another COVID-19 surge. The overcrowding is a combination of more people coming to Southwest Florida for season, patients who delayed their care during the pandemic, and an increase in flu and RSV cases.
On Wednesday, there were just 80 COVID-19 patients in all of Lee Health’s hospitals.
“We are experiencing a much greater surge of patients this year than we even did last year. Now we’re managing it better, we learned a lot of lessons. But the numbers are staggering,” said Armando Llechu, chief officer of hospital-based care at Lee Health.
National statistics show four out of ten patients in the emergency room could have, and should have, sought care elsewhere.
Lee Heath is urging people to explore those options in non-emergency situations.
“Not all injuries and not all illnesses require a trip to the emergency department. And many emergency room visits can actually generally be avoided,” Dr. Gonsenhauser said.
Patients are seen according to the severity of their problems, if it’s not life-threatening, yu may want to save yourself the trip.
“You can get that care in the convenience of your own home or in your primary care physician’s office. It saves a lot of heartache and a lot of headache for everyone,” said Llechu.