During this pandemic, each one of our citizens has had to adjust their lives and routines. Overwhelmingly, we have seen kindness, patience and perseverance prevail.

Expressions of gratitude for our local healthcare heroes have been demonstrated through notes of appreciation, encouraging posts on social media and even yard signs. We thank everyone who has been on the frontlines fighting COVID-19.

Essential workers also deserve our gratitude for going to work every day so we could buy groceries, pick up prescriptions and continue to enjoy government services like trash removal and mail delivery.

The School District of Lee County is full of heroes who had to rapidly adapt teaching models and programs. Our children’s teachers have worked tirelessly to continue educating students virtually, and school nurses have been making and delivering “snack packs” for Lee Health clinicians and staff. Food service workers are providing “grab-and-go” meals, delivered by buses to designated pick-up locations—including Pinewoods Elementary—and working with 13 community partners.

At Estero High School, teacher Heather Morse organized a drive-thru parade to honor the school’s administration, and the Estero Education Initiative Fund is honoring all 457 graduating seniors with yard signs in front of the school.

In our residential communities, charitable foundations are organizing virtual fundraisers to help struggling neighbors-in-need by sending extra support to local nonprofit organizations. Many businesses also have stepped up to help out. As a notable example, Lee Health Foundation has received $100,000 from Suncoast Credit Union as part of the credit union’s $1 million total donation to help those affected by COVID-19 in three primary areas of need: healthcare, hunger and education.

The Estero Chamber of Commerce has been busy helping small businesses find resources and assistance programs to keep their employees on payroll. Restaurants adapted to take-out only operations, and community members supported their local favorites by purchasing gift cards for later use. On an individual level, there are many stories of kindness — checking in on elderly neighbors and delivering groceries to those who can’t get out.

Getting back to business

As we follow Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Safe. Smart. Step-by-step” plan toward resuming “normal” activities, and Lee County begins to reopen public parks, beaches, restaurants and retail operations, remember to continue using best practices to stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Social distancing
  • Staying home as much as possible
  • Proper hand washing
  • Limiting groups to less than 10
  • Staying calm, kind and safe

Drive-thru COVID-19 Testing

If you are exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, you may visit the Lee County drive-thru, community-based COVID-19 testing site at the CenturyLink Sports Complex.

  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week
  • Address: 14100 Ben C. Pratt/Six-Mile Cypress Pkwy., Ft. Myers
  • No appointment, doctor’s note or prescription required
  • Testing available to anyone over 18, valid photo ID required
  • Wear a face mask; you must cover your mouth for the nasal swab.
  • Your vehicle must have working windows; doors must stay closed at all times.
  • Be patient, and be kind! Keeping workers safe is important.

Quest diagnostics also has opened two drive-thru testing sites. The closest is in the Walmart Parking lot at 4770 Colonial Blvd., Ft. Myers. Unlike the county’s testing site, appointments are required. You must first qualify for COVID-19 screening before scheduling an appointment at www.MyQuestCOVIDTest.com.

More resources for residents:

Stay safe, Estero!