CAPE CORAL — In the past two days, Florida has seen more new COVID-19 cases than almost any other place in the entire world.
At Lee Health, they have more than 300 COVID-19 patients right now, but the best treatment is in short supply.
Cape Coral hospital has been designated as one of the sites for plasma donations from people who have already recovered from COVID-19. That "convalescent plasma" gives a boost to a sick patient’s immune system to help them fight off the virus, but right now, there’s not enough of it to go around.
“We’re needing units every single day to be donated, and we’re not meeting that goal," said Jeremy Puckett, the Blood Center Supervisor for Lee Health.
Puckett said the need for convalescent plasma has increased dramatically.
“We’ve transfused over 250 units since the outbreak started, and are looking to transfuse anywhere from 12 to 15 units a day right now. So the demand is very very high," said Puckett.
The demand is so high, because cases are rising so fast all across the state of Florida. Jon Kling, the Chief Nursing Officer with NCH Hospital, put it into perspective on a call with reporters Monday.
“Florida reported a record increase of more than 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours on Sunday. If Florida were a country, it would rank 4th in the world for the most new cases in a day," said Kling.
The rise in cases has led to a rise in demand for convalescent plasma all over Florida. We talked to the organization One Blood, which works all across the state, but also supplies blood to Lehigh Regional and Physicians Regional hospitals.
“Over the past couple of weeks, One Blood has seen over a 500% increase in demand for orders of Convalescent Plasma, which is extraordinary," said Susan Forbes, the Public Relations Senior Vice President for One Blood.
Forbes said, the only way they can possibly meet the demand for plasma is with people all across the state coming forward to help.
"The need is ongoing, and there is no end in sight," said Forbes.
“Please, reach out, contact us, let us know that you had a positive result. We’ll go through an initial screening process, and then get you scheduled to donate as soon as possible," said Puckett.
If you are someone who has recovered from COVID-19 and would like to help out by donating your plasma, Lee Health has a dedicated phone number set up at (239) 343-2332. You can also email Lee Health to set up an appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org.