County’s COVID-19 positivity rate up slightly from two weeks ago

CDC says 65.4% of residents fully vaccinated

This graphic shows the trend in COVID-19 cases in Sarasota County from early June through Nov. 18. Image courtesy Sarasota County and the Florida Department of Health

The day before Thanksgiving, with many more families likely planning gatherings to make up for social distancing in 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continued to classify the coronavirus’ transmission in Sarasota County as “Moderate.”

However, the positivity rate has crept up a bit since The Sarasota News Leader’s previous report, on Nov. 12. The CDC said the seven-day rate averaged through Nov. 11 was 2.61%. For the seven-day period through Nov. 24, the level was 2.77%, the CDC noted.

This is the CDC report reflecting averages of data over the seven days through Nov. 24. Image courtesy CDC

The total number of cases in the county for the seven-day period ending on Nov. 23 was 179, the CDC added, and the case rate was 41.27 per 1,000 people. The latter figure was up 15.48% over the previous seven-day reporting period, the CDC said.

Through Nov. 11, the seven-day case total was 153, the CDC reported.

As of Nov. 24, the CDC added, 65.4% of the county’s estimated 434,000 residents had been fully vaccinated. The figure for those ages 12 and up was 71.8%, the CDC noted. Of persons age 65 and older, 88.4% were fully vaccinated.

This is the vaccination data for Sarasota County as of Nov. 24, the CDC reported. Image courtesy CDC

A News Leader review of Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 patient data from Nov. 16 through Nov. 23 — the last day statistics were available prior to Thanksgiving — found little variation in the total or the number in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). On Nov. 16, only six of the 18 patients with the virus who had been admitted to SMH were in the ICU. On Nov. 23, SMH noted, five of its 17 COVID-19 patients were in the ICU.

The highest count of COVID-19 patients at Sarasota Memorial between Nov. 16 and Nov. 23 was 20, the data show.

On Nov. 11, SMH had a total of 23 patients infected with the coronavirus; of those, nine were in the ICU.

In its most recent weekly report — dated Nov. 19 — the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee said that 55,720 COVID-19 cases had been documented in Sarasota County since the pandemic began in Florida in March 2020. For the seven-day period ending on Nov. 18, the department added, 190 new cases had been reported in the county. The state Health Department also noted that the positivity rate was up, but only by 0.3%, compared to the previous week’s mark.

This is the county’s ‘heat map’ for the past 14 days, based on numbers of new cases per zip code. Image courtesy Sarasota County and the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County

Sarasota County Health Officer Chuck Henry and his staff have continued to encourage unvaccinated members of the community to get their shots as soon as possible. Henry has emphasized in his reports to the County Commission that vaccinations are the key to ending the pandemic.

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County continues to offer 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 offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Additionally, staff continues to point out that vaccine is available at multiple other locations, including CVS and Walgreens stores in the area.