Lakeland, FL – As mirrored in the community and the state, the volume of COVID-19 patients is quickly climbing at our Medical Center. Right now, we have 130 COVID-19 positive patients in our Medical Center and 31 COVID-19 patients awaiting testing results.
As we approach another long holiday weekend amid a second COVID-19 surge and the hospital’s busy season, we want to ensure that our community is armed with the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and how the local hospital is faring during the pandemic.
We launched our Asymptomatic/Travel Testing program, https://myLRH.org/traveltesting, encouraging those who are traveling or going to visit elderly loved ones to consider using this testing as a safety precaution. We offer rapid antigen testing at our Urgent Care locations and PCR testing at our Drive-Thru Testing Center. More details can be found at the website above.
Beginning last week, patients seeking testing at our Pediatric Testing Center no longer need a paper doctor’s order. Orders can be sent via email to PedsCOVIDTesting@myLRH.org, with the patient’s birthdate and name in the subject line.
Lakeland Regional Health is committed to offering the most convenient and accurate testing options to the community, using six testing platforms to ensure patients receive the timeliest results and care. We have begun processing Drive-Thru tests in our lab, with results turned around in 24 hours or less. In fact, our innovative lab efforts resulted in Lakeland Regional Health being recognized by the Florida Hospital Association in its 2020 Community Benefits Report.
We currently have 758 patients admitted to our 864-bed Medical Center. As we have mentioned recently, we typically see near-capacity numbers this time of year. All hospitals, including ours, have surge plans in place that allow us to adeptly handle these types of volumes every winter. In addition, these numbers change rapidly as patients are discharged or moved and new patients are admitted.
Lakeland Regional Health continues to administer Bamlanivimab and Regeneron with much success to high-risk COVID-19 patients ages 12 years and older. The drug therapies are aimed at curbing the severity of symptoms to reduce a patient’s need for hospitalization. Both drugs function as an antibody treatment. We are actively educating Urgent Care centers, Emergency Departments, Pediatric providers and Drive-Thru testing centers in the area about these promising new drug therapies.
As shared earlier this week, Lakeland Regional Health received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines and began administering them to team members at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 patients and COVID-19 ruleout patients. We highly encourage our team members to receive the vaccine.
We have seen a noticeable rise in positive COVID-19 cases in our community over the last several weeks. A number of factors, including COVID-19 fatigue and the Thanksgiving holidays, play a role in this rise in virus transmission. While vaccinations will make a significant impact in curbing this pandemic, residents are urged to remain vigilant, as the vaccine rollout will take several months. Our infectious disease experts continue to emphasize the importance of keeping New Year’s celebrations and other gatherings to immediate family members to reduce exposure to the virus, as well as wearing masks, washing hands and staying home if you do not feel well.
As the year winds to a close, the leaders at Lakeland Regional Health want to thank our local media for serving such an important role throughout this pandemic. Our residents looked to you and to us to educate our community, dispel myths, and share stories of sadness and breakthroughs. We are grateful for our media partners and look forward to collaborating on great medical stories in 2021!