CDC raises county’s COVID-19 level from ‘Moderate’ to ‘Substantial,’ with positivity rate up to 3.32%

65.8% of county residents have been fully vaccinated, CDC says

This is the Dec. 2 CDC report, reflecting data collected for the seven days through that date. Image from the CDC

As worldwide attention is focused on a new mutant of COVID-19, Sarasota County’s infection rate has risen from the “Moderate” level of the past few weeks to “Substantial,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported.

For the seven-day period through Dec. 2, the CDC said, the positivity rate climbed to 3.32%.

That compares to the seven-day rate of 2.77% through Nov. 24.

The latest CDC data show the case rate in Sarasota County per 100,000 people has risen to 67.09; the Nov. 24 report’s figure was 41.27. Further, the CDC noted that 291 new cases of the virus had been recorded in the county during the seven days through Dec. 2. That number is 62.57% higher than the figure for the previous seven-day report, the CDC said.

The Nov. 24 report put the number at 179.

Moreover, the CDC says the death rate from COVID-19 in the county had jumped 100% for the seven-day period through Dec. 2, compared to the previous seven-day total. Nonetheless, the CDC pointed out that the deaths were fewer than 10 over the seven days through Dec. 2.

As of Dec. 2, the CDC also noted that 65.8% of the county’s approximately 434,000 residents had been fully vaccinated; 77.4% had received one dose.

For those age 65 and older, 88.7% were fully vaccinated.

The Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee reported that, through Nov. 25, Sarasota County had recorded a total of 55,941 COVID-19 cases. Of those, 283 had been logged during the period of Nov. 19-25.

The state’s report for the previous week showed 190 new cases.

As of early June, the state Department of Health has been issuing a COVID-19 update only once a week, in contrast to the daily CDC reports.

This state chart reflects the COVID-19 positivity trend in Sarasota County since early June. Image courtesy Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee

This week, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) has continued to see far fewer patients than it did during the summer’s Delta variant surge.

On Nov. 29, SMH reported a total of 18 COVID-19 patients, four of whom were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The Dec. 2 update said 19 COVID-19 patients were receiving treatment; five of them were in the ICU.

In comparison, SMH had 249 COVID-19 patients on Aug. 19, with 51 of them in the ICU. Two months later, with the Delta surge having waned, the hospital reported 44 COVID-19 patients, 23 of whom were in the ICU.

On Dec. 2, the hospital’s COVID-19 death total stood at 525 since the start of the pandemic. That figure has remained unchanged over the past week-and-a-half.

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County continues to offer 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 offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Additionally, staff continues to point out that vaccine is available at multiple other locations, including CVS and Walgreens stores in the area.

The county Health Department staff also emphasizes that the vaccines are “the most effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19.”

This is the Dec. 2 vaccination report for Sarasota County, as shown on the CDC website. Image from the CDC

Among benefits of vaccination are the following, it says:

  • Vaccination significantly reduces the risk of contracting the virus, “even if you are exposed.”
  • It teaches your body how to fight the virus.
  • It reduces the risk of severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death if you contract the virus.
  • It minimizes the ability for the virus to spread, “especially to our most vulnerable populations.”
  • It fights against emerging variants “that can cause worse symptoms and spread.”