County’s COVID-19 positivity rate ticks up again, to 22.29%, CDC reports

62 the estimated number of new hospital admissions of county residents with COVID-19 over seven-day period through May 30

Image courtesy CDC

The COVID-19 positivity rate for Sarasota County has climbed yet again — to 22.29% — as shown in the latest data for Sarasota County, released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The new figure is the seven-day average through May 29, the CDC reported on its website on June 2. The positivity rate averaged for the seven days through May 22 was 20.69%.

Additionally, after weeks of controversy over how it has been ranking community transmission levels, the CDC has marked Sarasota County’s level as “High.”

As a result of that ranking, the CDC urges the following: “Wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Get tested if you have symptoms. If you are at high risk for severe illness, consider taking additional precautions.”

This is the June 2 report for Sarasota County on the CDC website. Image courtesy CDC

As Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health noted in an August 2020 report written by David Dowdy and Gypsyamber D’Souza, “The higher the percent positive is, the more concerning it is. As a rule of thumb, however, one threshold for the percent positive being ‘too high’ is 5%. For example, the World Health Organization recommended in May [2020] that the percent positive remain below 5% for at least two weeks before governments consider reopening. If we are successful in bringing coronavirus transmission under control, this threshold might be lowered over time. To further relax social restrictions and allow very large gatherings or meetings of people traveling from many different areas, for example, we would want a lower threshold.”

The CDC reported on May 31 that, for the seven days through that date, 1,258 new COVID-19 cases had been identified in Sarasota County. The May 24 total was 1,146. The May 31 figure is approximately 9.8% higher than the one for May 24.

Additionally, the county’s case rate per 100,000 people had climbed to 264.21, the CDC noted in its June 2 update. That was lower than the May 31 seven-day average of 290.03.

Further, on June 2, the CDC reported staffed hospital beds with patients confirmed to have COVID-19 represented 3% of the total number of beds in the county. That was down by 0.1%, compared to the percentage recorded on May 23, the CDC data show. However, for the seven days through May 30, a CDC chart showed the percentage of staffed beds with COVID-19 patients in the county to be 3.3%.

Additionally, for the seven days through May 30, the percentage of staffed Intensive Care Unit beds in the county with COVID-19 patients was 3.7%, the CDC said.

Image courtesy CDC

Moreover, Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 patient count has doubled since May 22. On that date, the health care system reported a total of 29 COVID-19 patients between its campuses in Sarasota and Venice. As of June 2, the total was 58. Of those, five were in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs).

On May 27, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) had 38 COVID-19 patients, with three in the ICUs. By May 31, the figure had jumped to 49.

The CDC data as of May 30 estimated that 62 new COVID-19 patients who are county residents had been admitted to hospitals over the seven days through that date. The total marked a 23.7% jump from the previous seven-day figure, the CDC added.

Further, SMH has recorded three more COVID-19 patient deaths over the past week, bringing the health care system’s total since the start of the pandemic in the county — in March 2020 — to 661.

This map, provided by the CDC on its website on June 2, shows Florida counties color-coded to represent COVID-19 transmission rankings. Sarasota County is a darker orange because it was the focus of News Leader research on the most recent data. Image courtesy CDC

SMH also noted that the positivity rate among its patients had risen from 12.4% for the week ending May 27 to 14.4% for the week ending June 2.

Altogether, through June 2, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center said that the state of Florida had had 6,169,670 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 74,557 deaths.