Nurse at Naples clinic personally asks governor for help, more tests for first responders

A family practice in Naples that cares for many first responders and Collier County employees is making a plea to the governor for more COVID-19 tests.

Like the facilities across the country, it’s extremely short.

Advanced Medical says their main concern is the number of first responders they see.

Naples firefighters say they’ve had to travel to the east coast to get tested. One nurse reached out to Governor DeSantis personally in hopes of getting more help for her patients. She wrote her request saying more tests would take the stress away from busy hospitals.

“It’s chaotic, it’s stressful,” said Dr. Gregory Leach.

Doctors and nurses are hard at work during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a battlefield,” Leach said. “We’re primary care and that’s why we’re here.”

The most difficult parts of the job lately, she says, are the shortage of tests and having to share that with her patients, who wonder if they have COVID-19.

“It’s just hard,” nurse Lori Ann Martell said, “not to be able to give people answers when they’re scared.”

Many first responders in Collier rely on Advance Medical.

“The standard answer is to self-quarantine until we know otherwise,” Martell said.

Without test results, the Naples clinic can’t clear patients to go back to work.

“We’re not the resource that we usually are for our first responders and government employees. We generally can handle most of their concerns accurately and quickly, but this is the one time that we’ve come up against something that we don’t really have a solution for,” Martell said.

Now, she’s taking the matter into her own hands.

“I won’t go down without a fight for the patients,” she said.

She formally asked the governor for help and more tests, “To control the spread, if people are positive, quarantine them quicker based on accurate test results and so negatives can return to work so we can continue carrying for our patients,” and also help take the load off of hospitals.

“Once you can test everybody, then you really have an accurate picture of what’s going on,” Leach said. 

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Briana Harvath
Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know.