19 more deaths reported at Sarasota Memorial’s two campuses since Feb. 10
The COVID-19 positivity rate for Sarasota County finally has fallen below 20% once again, as shown in the latest data available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The rate averaged over seven days through Feb. 17 was 19.47%, the CDC said. That compared to 25.85% in the CDC’s Feb. 17 report.
Statewide, the positivity rate as of Feb. 17 was 12.33%, the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center pointed out.
On Aug. 24, 2021, Chuck Henry, Sarasota County’s Health Officer, told the county commissioners that the seven-day positivity rate as of that date was 16%. At that point, the county was experiencing the ebb of the surge brought on by the Delta variant.
Henry added that the positivity rate had fallen to about 2% in June 2021, before the first Delta cases appeared in the area.
Johns Hopkins also noted that the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Florida as of Feb. 17 was 67,914, since the pandemic began.
Additionally, the CDC reported on Feb. 17 that the case rate per 100,000 people in the county, averaged over the seven days through Feb. 15, was 534.65. That was down 28.93%, the CDC pointed out, compared to the figure for the prior seven-day period.
The CDC data through Feb. 15 also showed a total of 27 deaths over the previous seven days, adding that that figure marked a 42.55% decrease from the count for the previous seven-day period.
Between its two campuses — in Sarasota and Venice — Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) reported 19 more COVID-19 deaths between Feb. 10 and Feb. 17. Just from Feb. 10 to Feb. 11, the hospital noted that eight more people had died as a result of coronavirus infections.
As of Feb. 17, SMH had 107 COVID-19 patients in Sarasota and Venice, down from 122 the previous day, the hospital reported. Out of those 107 on Feb. 17, 16 were in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs), compared to 21 on Feb. 16.
On Feb. 13, the SMH update said 147 COVID-19 patients were receiving care at its two campuses.
Thus, the health care system saw a drop of approximately 37% in its total number of COVID-19 patients between Feb. 13 and Feb. 17.
Overall in the county, for the seven days through Feb. 17, the CDC noted 160 new COVID-19 hospitalizations. That number was down 28% from the count of 205 in the Feb. 10 report.
In its latest weekly update prior to the publication of this issue of The Sarasota News Leader — for the period of Feb. 4-10 — the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee noted 2,192 new COVID-19 infections in Sarasota County, which marked a 32.5% drop, compared to the figure recorded for the previous week, the department said.
In its Feb. 15 report, the CDC listed 2,319 new county cases over the past seven days.
Since early June 2021, the state has released COVID-19 data just once a week.
Altogether, the state noted on Feb. 11, Sarasota County had had 86,378 COVID-19 cases since the first infected patient was identified in March 2020.
In other data, the CDC reported on Feb. 17 that 68.8% of the county’s population had been fully vaccinated. The figure for those age 65 and older was 90.6%. For persons age 5 and up, it was 71.3%.
Further, the CDC noted that 47.1% of the county population had had a booster, as of Feb. 17. Again, the age group with the highest percentage in that chart comprised those 65 and older: 58.9%.
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 walk-up 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.
- 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.
Vaccination availability update
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.