County’s COVID-19 positivity rate jumps back up to 9.17%, CDC reports

Sarasota Memorial records more COVID-19 patients at its Sarasota and Venice campuses over past week, with higher ICU counts, as well

Sarasota County’s COVID-19 positivity has jumped up to 9.17%, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported, reflecting a seven-day average through Oct. 16.

Additionally, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) recorded a higher total patient count for its Sarasota and Venice campuses over the past week than in the two previous weeks, its regular updates have shown.

As The Sarasota News Leader reported in its Oct. 14 issue, the CDC noted that the seven-day average for COVID-19 positivity in Sarasota County as of Oct. 9 was 6.71%. That marked a slight drop from the Oct. 2 figure of 6.98%. For the seven days through Sept. 18, the rate was 11.2%.

Further, the CDC noted 235 new COVID-19 cases in the county over the seven days through Oct. 18, which represented an 11.9% uptick, the agency said.

For the seven days through Oct. 11, 210 new cases were recorded in the county, the CDC pointed out at that time.

Nonetheless, in its weekly status report on Sarasota County, the CDC noted that the case rate per 100,000 people in the county was 48.42, averaged over the seven days through that date. That compared to a case rate of 56.02 per 100,000 residents, averaged over the seven days through Oct. 13.

The seven-day average through Sept. 22 was 121.04, the CDC reported in that weekly update.

Additionally, in its Oct. 20 status report, the CDC said that 2.9% of the county’s hospital beds were occupied by patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19. That is up a bit from the 2.7% figure in the Oct. 13 report.

In the SMH updates from Oct. 14 through Oct. 20, the News Leader found the highest patient count for the health care system’s Sarasota and Venice campuses to be 43, which was the number on Oct. 20. On Oct. 14, the figure was 27. By Oct. 16, it had risen to 30; then it jumped to 40 on Oct. 17.

Of those patients, the highest count in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) was eight, noted in the Oct. 20 update. That was up from five in the Oct. 19 report. On Oct. 16 and Oct. 17, SMH said it had four COVID patients in its ICUs.

On Oct. 17, the CDC estimated that 43 new COVID-19 patients had been admitted to county hospitals over the seven days through that date. The agency added that that figure marked a 26.9% increase, compared to the previous seven-day total.

For the seven days through Oct. 10, the CDC had estimated 35 new admissions of COVID-19 patients.

Among other data, the CDC said that, over the seven days through Oct. 18, 11 new deaths had been recorded in the county, which marked a 120% hike, compared to the prior seven-day total.

SMH reported one more death of a COVID-19 patient over the past week, bringing the total to 723 since the first cases were identified in the county in March 2020. That latest death was included in the health care system’s Oct. 20 update.

Even though the CDC’s latest figures reflected upticks in COVID data for the county, the agency classified the transmission rate as “Low” in its Oct. 20 weekly report.

The CDC did note on Oct. 20 that 71.6% of county residents had completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations. For those age 65 and up, the figure was 94%.

However, for the total population, only 52.2% had had one booster dose, the CDC said. The figure for those age 65 and up was 65.1%.

The CDC map showing transmission levels for all Florida counties, calculated with data from the seven days through Oct. 11, showed a cluster of only 10 counties with a classification of “Medium.” The rest were at the “Low” level.

That cluster began just south of the Georgia border, with Hamilton and Baker counties, and it continued south to Levy County.