County’s COVID-19 positivity down to 10.06%

Patient counts falling at Sarasota Memorial campuses

Sarasota County’s COVID-19 positivity rate has ticked down again, as noted in the latest data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The seven-day average through Jan. 22 put the positivity level at 10.06%. That compares to 10.31%, which was the seven-day average as of Jan. 15, as The Sarasota News Leader reported last week.

The CDC said its seven-day calculation through Jan. 22 reflected a 0.53% drop from its previous seven-day figure.

The total number of cases reported in the county also has declined slightly, the agency reported. Over the seven days through Jan. 18, the total was 444, the CDC noted. For the seven days through Jan. 11, the figure was 452. Thus, the Jan. 18 total is down about 1.8%, compared with the Jan. 11 number.

The CDC added that the Jan. 18 figure represented 102.37 cases per 100,000 county residents. The Jan. 11 calculation was 104.21 per 100,000 people in the county.

Among other data, the CDC said that it had confirmed 37 new hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19 in the county over the seven days through Jan. 23. That number was down 32.1%, it noted, compared to the previous seven-day figure.

Altogether, the CDC added, the number of staffed county hospital beds with COVID patients over the seven days through Jan. 23 represented 3.6% of the total. That figure is down, as well. The number of county hospital beds occupied by COVID patients over the seven days through Jan. 16 represented 4.4% of the total.

As for patients in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), the CDC reported that that figure as of the seven-day average through Jan. 23 represented 5.3% of all ICU beds in the county. That had declined from the figure of 5.6% in the Jan. 16 data.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) reports on its COVID patients over the past week have shown significant drops. The health care system’s highest daily count for its Sarasota and Venice campuses from Jan. 20 through Jan. 26 was 64, recorded on Jan. 22, SMH data show. By Jan. 26, the number had fallen to 41.

As the News Leader noted in its Jan. 20 issue, the highest daily COVID patient count for SMH during the previous week was 66. On Jan. 11, the health care system had 75 COVID patients. Thus, the Jan. 26 total of 41 is almost 83% lower than the Jan. 11 figure.

Further, the highest count of COVID patients in SMH Intensive Care Units over the past week was three, which was the number for each day from Jan. 22 through Jan. 24. As of Jan. 26, only one such patient receiving care at the SMH campuses was in an ICU.

From Jan. 13 through Jan. 19, the highest ICU figure for SMH was five.

The CDC also noted that, for the seven days through Jan. 18, 15 new COVID deaths had been recorded in the county. That figure, the agency said, was up 200%, compared to the previous seven-day total.

As of Jan. 19, SMH had dealt with a total of 756 deaths since the first pandemic cases were identified in the county in March 2020. As of Jan. 26, that figure had risen to 758.

Additionally, SMH noted that its COVID-19 positivity rate for all patients was 7.9% for the week ending Jan. 20. As of Jan. 26, the figure was 8.2%. For the week ending Jan. 6, it was 10%.

As for the COVID-19 status of all Florida counties: The latest CDC map of the state, reflecting calculations from Jan. 12 through Jan. 18, showed again that a swath of counties in the north-central area was designated with “High” transmission, along with Miami-Dade. None of the counties in Southwest Florida was classified with transmission higher than “Medium,” including Sarasota County.

Additionally, five counties in the Panhandle — including Bay, Washington and Calhoun — were marked as having “Low” transmission, along with six counties on the East Coast, just south of Georgia. Among the latter counties were Nassau, St. Johns and Duval. Brevard and Indian River counties also were classified as having “Low” transmission.