County COVID-19 positivity rate up to 31.95% as of Jan. 13, CDC reports, with new cases jumping 82% from previous week’s total

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System records 30% climb in patient count from Jan. 7 to Jan. 12

This is the Sarasota County ‘heat map’ as of Jan. 12. Created by county staff and representatives of the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, it illustrates the number of new COVID-19 cases over the past week, by zip code. Image courtesy Sarasota County and DOH-Sarasota

The seven-day average for COVID-19 positivity in Sarasota County as of Jan. 13 was 31.95%, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported.

Exactly a week earlier, on Jan. 6, the positivity level was 22.72%, the CDC noted.

The latest report from the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee, covering the period from Dec. 31, 2021 through Jan. 6, documented 5,010 new cases for Sarasota County, a figure that was 82% higher than the 2,748 total reported in the county for the previous seven-day period.

This graphic shows the trend in case counts in Sarasota County since early June. Image courtesy Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee

Altogether, the county has had 65,438 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in the state in March 2020.

Moreover, the CDC noted on Jan. 13 that the case rate average per 100,000 people in the county had jumped to 1,156.22. That compares to the 1,135.6 case rate per 100,000 people in the county that the state Health Department reported on Jan. 7 for the previous seven days.

The CDC also reported 266 new hospital admissions in the county for the seven days through Jan. 13.

This is the Jan. 13 data for Sarasota County, provided by the CDC. Image from the CDC website

Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 patient census reports for both its Sarasota and Venice facilities over the past week reflect the CDC data. On Jan. 7, the health care system had 132 COVID-19 patients, 18 of whom were in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs). By Jan. 12, that patient count had climbed to 172 — a 30% increase — with 25 of those persons in the ICUs.

Additionally, on Jan. 7, the health care system reported a total of 537 deaths since the pandemic began. That count rose to 543 by Jan. 13, with two new deaths having occurred since the previous day, the staff noted.

The total number of patients in the two hospitals was down to 171 on Jan. 13, with 21 of the individuals in the ICUs.

A fifth testing site opens

This is the Venice Community Center. Photo from the Venice Information Center website

On Jan. 12, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) announced that Lab Services of Sarasota would open a new drive-through testing site in the parking lot of the Venice Community Center, which stands at 326 Nokomis Ave. S. in Venice.

Free PCR testing is being offered from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, G. Steve Huard, public information officer for DOH-Sarasota, noted in a news release.

Lab Services is a locally owned medical laboratory with high- volume COVID-19 testing capabilities, Huard added in the release. DOH-Sarasota staff has worked with the company throughout the pandemic, he wrote.

No appointments are required, he pointed out, and anyone can be tested, regardless of symptoms.

The new site is in addition to the four other public sites operating in Sarasota County:

  • The former Sarasota Kennel Club, located at 5400 Old Bradenton Road in Sarasota. This drive-through site 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.

Vaccination update

Public health officials continue to stress that vaccinations and boosters are the best means of preventing serious illness and death.

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.

This is the Jan. 13 Sarasota County vaccination data as shown by the CDC. Image from the CDC website

Another SCAT bus driver tests positive

After reporting last week that three Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) bus drivers had tested positive for COVID-19, county staff announced on Jan. 12 that yet another case had been confirmed in a driver.

The following routes were identified as having been operated by the infected person:

  • Saturday, Jan. 8 — Route 99, from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, Jan. 9 — Route 6, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

DOH-Sarasota recommends that persons who rode those routes on the dates listed should monitor themselves for possible symptoms.

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