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SWFL Stronger Together

By Staff | Apr 1, 2020

State, county and local officials continue to stress the need for all of us to stay home to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

That’s common-sense advice and, if everyone who could adhere did, there would be little need for what is likely coming: emergency stay-at-home edicts for all non-essential trips and ventures.

We emphasize here the “non-essential” for we understand that there are a lot of people on the front line who have little choice, even if Florida were to go to a “lockdown”: First responders, medical personnel, retail workers and suppliers doing their best to make sure shelves are stocked, and social services staff and volunteers who are still working to make sure our most vulnerable residents are fed and provided for.

We thank them for their efforts.

And we urge those who can, to help.

Lee Health, in conjunction with NCH Healthcare System, has launched a “SWFL Stronger Together” campaign and is asking the community to take part.

The goal is to better provide medical personnel with the tools they need to provide the best treatment to patients.

Donations to the SWFL Stronger Together fund “will provide critical resources, equipment, and supplies needed” to support doctors and nurses. Donations will help provide additional ventilators, protective gear, mobile units, employee relief and more, according to Lee Health.

Health system officials understand that this is a tough time for numerous businesses, including bars and restaurants, which have been heavily impacted.

They understand that many workers have been hit hard as well.

But they wanted to give those of us looking for ways to make a difference financially an opportunity to do so.

For more information or to make an online donation to SWFL Stronger Together, visit SWFLtogether.org , which also includes community resources — free telehealth information, hotlines, COVID-19 news and updates, as well as an “Ask the Experts” forum.

Lee Health also is offering another option for giving: Blood donations are needed as they have fallen off much earlier than the annual-end-of-season drop.

“The need for blood is a constant,” health care system officials said. “Even in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, there will be trauma victims, cancer patients, NICU babies and dozens of other patients who will need a blood transfusion. The Lee Health Blood Center is out in the community every day to ensure there is a safe and adequate blood supply to meet the needs of the health system. In the wake of these uncertain times, we have asked the well and healthy members of the community to continue to participate in blood donation as a way to practice social distancing while helping their fellow neighbors. The blood supply today is stable, but we will continue to call on the community to participate for the weeks to come.”

The Blood Center is following all safety precautions laid out by the Food and Drug Administration and AABB and is ensuring that blood donors can practice social distancing in a safe and clean environment, officials added.

Lee Health typically needs 800 donations per week to meet system-wide needs.

Donating is quick, easy and most can give.

If you are not currently ill or being treated for an illness – no cold, flu, sore throat -or have a history of certain medical conditions including hepatitis or a positive HIV test, you may be able to help the system treat patients at all Lee Health facilities including Cape Coral Hospital, Lee Memorial Hospital — which houses the only Trauma Center within a five-county radius — and the Golisano Children’s Hospital .

Visit the blood center’s online link at leehealth.org/our-services/blood-centers for locations, hours and blood drives, if any, or call 239-343-2333 for more information.

SWFL Stronger Together.

It’s more than a donation motto, it’s a philosophy to embrace.

Let us all do what we can.

– Observer editorial