Case rate per 100,000 people up 21% in a week, CDC says
On Aug. 24, 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 surge produced by the Delta variant, Sarasota Memorial Hospital reported 278 patients infected with the coronavirus; 52 of them were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
On Jan. 20, as the Omicron variant surge continues, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) reported a total of 214 COVID-19 inpatients divided between its campuses in Sarasota and Venice. Of those, 29 were in the ICU.
Just six days earlier, on Jan. 14, the patient count was 195, with 25 of them in the ICU.
On Jan. 12, SMH had 172 COVID-19 patients between its two facilities. That total was up 30% from the Jan. 7 figure.
The Jan. 20 patient census marked a jump of almost 24% from the Jan. 12 count.
Additionally, SMH noted that it had recorded 557 deaths among COVID-19 patients since the March 2020 start of the pandemic in Florida. That number compares to the 543 deaths SMH announced as of Jan. 13.
For the seven days through Jan. 17, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pointed out that new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the county added up to 268. That was 0.75% higher than the total for the previous seven days, the CDC said.
The percentage of all hospital beds in use in Sarasota County for COVID-19 patients over the seven days through Jan. 17 had increased by 16.1%, the CDC noted. That was higher by 4.55% than the figure for the previous seven days.
ICU bed use for the seven days through Jan. 17 was at the 21.8% mark, the CDC pointed out. That was up by 4.96%, compared to the total for the previous seven days.
On Jan. 20, the CDC also reported a positivity rate of 31.16% for Sarasota County, averaged over the seven days through that date. A week earlier, that figure was 31.95%.
Further, on Jan. 20, the CDC said the case rate per 100,000 people in the county was 1,404.52, based on a seven-day average. That was approximately 21% higher than the Jan. 13 case rate of 1,156.22 per 100,000 people in Sarasota County.
The Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee is continuing to report new case and death data just once a week, a practice it began in early June. In its latest report — issued on Jan. 14 for the period of Jan. 7-13 — the state Health Department announced 6,089 new cases in Sarasota County.
For the previous reporting period, Dec. 31, 2021 through Jan. 6, the number of new county cases was 5,010, the Florida Department of Health said. The latest total marked a 21.5% increase, compared to the previous figure.
Since the first COVID-19 infection was identified in Florida in a patient in Sarasota County, the county has recorded 71,530 cases, the state says.
The most recent testing data the CDC noted for Sarasota County prior to the publication of this issue of The Sarasota News Leader — based on information accumulated for the seven days through Jan. 12 — showed 19,130 COVID-19 tests had been performed in the county. That was down 1.77% from the prior seven-day total, the CDC added.
Altogether, the CDC reported on Jan. 20, 68.1% of county residents had been fully vaccinated, while 45.4% of them had had a booster.
As has been the case since vaccinations were made available in early 2021, county residents age 65 and older made up the group with the highest level of full vaccination as of Jan. 20, the CDC pointed out: 90.3%. For those 18 and older, the fully vaccinated figure is 74.1%.
The following testing sites are available in Sarasota County, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) reminds the public:
- The former Sarasota Kennel Club, located at 5400 Old Bradenton Road in Sarasota. This site, which has shifted from drive-through service to walk-up service as of Jan. 21, is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering rapid and PCR COVID-19 testing. This site is operated by Nomi Health.
- Robert L. Taylor Community Complex parking lot, located at 1845 34th St. in Sarasota. This walk-up site is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PCR COVID-19 testing is available throughout the day. This site is operated by Lab Services.
- Dallas White Park, located at 5900 Greenwood Ave. in North Port. This walk-up site is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PCR COVID-19 testing is available throughout the day. This site is operated by Lab Services.
- Ed Smith Stadium parking lot, located at 2700 12th St. in Sarasota. This drive-through COVID-19 testing site offers PCR testing only and operates seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This site is operated by Real Diagnostics.
- Venice Community Center, located at 326 Nokomis Ave. S. in Venice. This drive-through site is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PCR COVID-19 testing is available throughout the day. This site is operated by Lab Services.
Public health officials continue to stress that vaccinations and boosters are the best means of preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19.
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.
As of Jan. 13, the CDC reported that 67.9% of the total county population had been fully vaccinated, with 90.1% of those 65 and older fully vaccinated.
The percentage of individuals in the county who are fully vaccinated with a booster dose was 44.3% on Jan. 13, the CDC added.