Federal agency nonetheless reports higher case count per 100,000 people this week than last week and more patients in county hospitals
Sarasota County’s COVID-19 positivity level finally inched down this week, based on the latest data available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prior to the publication of this issue of The Sarasota News Leader.
For the seven-day average through June 12, the CDC said, the rate was 21.7%, which marked a 1.38% decline from the previous seven-day average.
As the News Leader noted last week, the CDC data put the seven-day average through June 5 at 22.93%.
Sarasota County — like many of Florida’s counties — remains classified as having “High” transmission levels, the CDC noted. “Wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation,” the CDC cautioned on its website on June 16 in reference to the Sarasota County COVID-19 situation.
Although the positivity rate is down a bit, the case rate per 100,000 people in the county jumped to 335.45 in the June 16 report, and the percentage of staffed inpatient hospital beds in use by individuals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 5%. In the June 9 report, the CDC reported 290.03 cases per 100,000 people and 3.5% of hospital beds with patients who had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
In other data this week, the CDC said it had recorded 1,447 COVID-19 cases in Sarasota County for the seven days through June 14. That was down very slightly from the 1,455 cases over the seven days through June 7.
The data for the seven days through June 14 also showed 12 deaths, which reflected a 100% jump from the figure for the previous-seven day period, the CDC pointed out.
In its reports over the past week, the Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) healthcare system showed a range of COVID-19 patient counts from 59 to 67, with no more than five of those patients in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) on a given day. SMH combines data from its Sarasota and Venice campuses in its reports.
Altogether, the CDC data for the county for the seven days through Monday, June 13, estimated 85 new hospital admissions of patients infected with the coronavirus.
Additionally, the two SMH hospitals have recorded three more COVID-19 deaths since June 9, bringing the total to 669 since the first coronavirus cases were identified in the county in March 2020.
In one other note on June 16, SMH reported that its COVID-19 testing put the positivity rate among those in the hospitals at 13.3%, which was down a bit from the 14.1% figure for the week ending June 10.
Each week, SMH also reports the percentage of unvaccinated inpatients in the care of its staff. That is updated every Wednesday. On June 15, the figure was 62.3%. The June 8 report put it at 49.3%.
The number of COVID-19 tests performed in Sarasota County for the seven days through June 8 was 5,933, the CDC also reported. That was up nearly 2.5%, compared to the count of 5,790 for the seven days through June 1.
Last week, in a video interview provided to members of the news media, Dr. Manuel Gordillo, SMH’s director of infection prevention and control, pointed out that healthcare professionals acknowledge that test totals are greatly undercounted because so many individuals are using home kits.
He also discussed a special type of study recently conducted in New York City. After closely tracking individuals, that study indicated that the number of cases reported for any given community on the CDC website should be expected to be 30 times higher — again, because of the use of home testing kits.
Gordillo also urged those who test positive to isolate themselves for five days and then to use a mask from Day 6 through Day 10 to prevent the potential of infecting someone else, especially in an indoor setting.