County’s COVID-19 positivity rate reaches 10.46%

Sarasota Memorial’s daily COVID patient counts have remained above 40 since Nov. 4

Sarasota County’s COVID-19 positivity rate has climbed back above 10%, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported this week.

Additionally, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) saw its COVID-19 patient census inch above 50 on Nov. 8, and its two campuses — in Sarasota and Venice — have had patient counts consistently above 40 since Nov. 4.

Averaged over the seven days through Nov. 6, the positivity rate in the county was 10.46%, the CDC reported. That compares to 10.16% for the seven days through Oct. 25 and 9.95% for the seven days through Oct. 30.

Conversely, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ian’s strike on Southwest Florida, the CDC reported that the positivity rate for the county, averaged over seven days through Oct. 2, was 6.98%.

The latest figures mimic a trend in the spring.

The CDC’s seven-day average through April 24 put the county’s positivity rate at 11.43%. That marked a jump from the seven-day average of 8.57% reported on April 17, CDC data show.

In contrast, for the seven days through March 21 — at the height of tourist season in Sarasota County — the COVID-19 positivity rate was 2.94%, the CDC pointed out at that time.

In its Nov. 10 status update for Sarasota County, the CDC said that the case rate per 100,000 people in the county, averaged over seven days, was 64.09. For the seven days through Oct. 27, the CDC put the case rate at 54.18. Thus, the new figure is about 18% higher.

Further, the CDC pointed out in the Nov. 10 status report that 3.7% of all county hospital beds were occupied by patients with confirmed COVD-19 cases. That compares to the 3% mark noted in the agency’s Oct. 27 update.

Among other recent data, the CDC reported an estimate of 59 new admissions of COVID-19 patients to hospitals in the county for the seven days through Nov. 7. That figure marked an 8.4% increase from the previous seven-day average, the agency pointed out.

Additionally, the number of staffed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds occupied by COVID patients in the county, averaged over the seven days through Nov. 7, represented 4.5% of the total, the agency noted. That was up from the seven-day average of 4.2% reported on Oct. 31.

For the seven days through Oct. 24, the CDC estimated 50 new hospital admissions of COVID-19 patients in the county. The agency had confirmed 11.5 new admissions per 100,000 residents through Oct. 24, the agency added. The Nov. 7 report said the CDC had confirmed 13.6 new admissions per 100,000 county residents over the seven days through that date.

For the seven days through Nov. 2, the CDC said, the total number of new COVID-19 cases in the county was 278. That was down 5.76%, the agency added, compared to the previous weekly total.

On Oct. 20, the CDC implemented changes in its reporting of COVID-19 statistics. That is the reason some of its data no longer is updated as regularly on the website.

On Nov. 3, SMH reported a total of 35 COVID-19 patients receiving care at its Sarasota and Venice facilities. Of those, six were in the ICUs, it noted.

By Nov. 7, the patient count had climbed to 46, but only three were in the ICUs, that day’s report pointed out.

After the census reached the mark of 53 on Nov. 8, it decreased to 48 on Nov. 9, SMH said. On Nov. 9, only one of those patients was in an ICU.

On Nov. 10, the health care system reported 46 COVID patients, three of whom were in the ICUs.

SMH also has reported more deaths over the past week. On Nov. 2, the health care system noted a total of 725 since the first pandemic cases were identified in Florida — in Sarasota — in March 2020. By Nov. 9, that figure had risen to 729.

Further, SMH said that its COVID positivity rate for its facilities as of Nov. 10 was 6.4%. For the week ending Nov. 4, the figure was 5.7%.

The CDC map for Florida, reflecting the COVID-19 transmission level for each county, averaged over the seven days through Nov. 2, showed that only three counties were classified at the “Medium” level. Along with Sarasota County, those were Charlotte and DeSoto counties.

Among other data, the CDC on Nov. 10 said that 71.9% of all Sarasota County residents had completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations. However, the figure representing those who had had a first booster following the primary series was just 52.6%.

In regard to individuals age 50 and above who had had a second booster, the figure was 47.1%. For those age 65 and up, the second booster percentage was higher: 52.2%.