Although COVID-19 positivity rate down to 7.71% as of March 3, CDC continues to classify Sarasota County as area of ‘High’ transmission

Only 15 deaths reported to CDC over seven days through March 1

This is the ‘heat map’ for March 2, showing the numbers of new COVID-19 cases, by zip code, over the previous 14 days. Image courtesy Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County and Sarasota County Government

The total number of new COVID-19 cases in Sarasota County for the seven days through March 1 was 662 — a 47.29% drop from the figure in the previous seven-day report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted.

Additionally, the federal agency noted the positivity rate at 7.71% as of March 3, averaged over the prior seven days. The positivity rate averaged for the seven days through Feb. 24 was 11.92%. Thus, the March 3 figure was approximately 55% lower.

This is the March 3 CDC update for Sarasota County. Image from the CDC website

The case rate per 100,000 people in the county was 152.63 on March 1 — again, averaged over the previous seven days, the CDC said. That compared to a case rate of 289.57 per 100,000 people that the CDC reported for the seven days through Feb. 24.

Even with the downward trends, the CDC marked the county’s transmission rate as “High” on March 3. “Everyone in Sarasota County, Florida should wear a mask in public, indoor settings,” the CDC advised.

Other counties on the west coast of Florida identified as “High” transmission areas were Manatee, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Charlotte, DeSoto, Pasco and Lee, the CDC pointed out.

Among other improved data: The number of new hospital admissions for the seven days through Feb. 24 was 101; the March 3 data put that number at 79, a decline of about 28%.

As of March 3, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) staff reported that 47 COVID-19 patients were being treated at its two campuses — in Sarasota and Venice. However, that was up slightly from 45 on March 2, SMH noted.

Of those COVID-19 patients on March 3, only 11 were in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs), though that number was up, too, from the previous day. On March 2, SMH had only eight COVID-19 patients in the ICUs.

In contrast to the March 3 figures, in SMH’s Feb. 25 report, staff noted 66 COVID-19 patients, 12 of whom were in the ICUs.

Additionally, for the seven days through March 1, the CDC said the number of Sarasota County deaths recorded was 15, which marked a 54.55% drop from the figure for the previous seven days.

SMH also noted fewer deaths over the past week. On Feb. 24, the health care system reported that it had recorded a total of 640 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic’s first cases were identified in Florida in March 2020. As of March 3, SMH noted a total of 645 deaths; that figure had not changed since March 2.

This is the CDC’s new community map showing COVID-19 levels by county across the United States, as of Feb. 24. Image from the CDC

In its most recent COVID-19 update prior to the publication of this issue of The Sarasota News Leader, the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee reported that, for the period of Feb. 18 through Feb. 24, Sarasota County had 660 new cases. Altogether, 88,296 COVID-19 cases had been recorded in the county since the start of the pandemic, state officials pointed out.

These are county and state COVID-19 data, reflecting reports through the period of Feb. 18-24. Image courtesy Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee

The state switched from daily to weekly COVID-19 updates in June 2021.

As for vaccinations: The CDC reported on March 3 that 69% of the county’s residents had been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, while 47.5% of them had received boosters.

This is the March 3 vaccination report for Sarasota County, based on CDC data. Image from the CDC
This is the March 3 booster data for Sarasota County. Image from the CDC

The highest figures continue to be accorded to individuals age 65 and older. On March 3, the CDC noted that 90.7% of them had been fully vaccinated, while 59.3% of them had received boosters.

The percentage of county residents age 18 and up who have been fully vaccinated was 76.5%, the CDC said on March 3; 49.3% of those persons have had boosters.

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota (DOH-Sarasota) offers doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to persons at its offices in downtown Sarasota (2200 Ringling Blvd., 34237) and in North Port (6950 Outreach Way, 34287).

No appointments are necessary. The North Port office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Sarasota facility stays open past 4 p.m. — until 6 p.m. — on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week.