County’s COVID positivity down to 12.86%, CDC says, but hospitalizations at slightly higher level over the week

Case rate average per 100,000 county residents up a bit, as well, to 160.93

Although Sarasota County’s COVID-19 positivity rate continues to decrease, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) has noted more hospitalizations this week of patients with confirmed coronavirus infections, and more of those patients were being treated in the health care system’s Intensive Care Units (ICUs), reports show.

Averaged for the seven days through Sept. 11, the positivity rate was 12.86%, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on its website on Sept. 15 — the latest update available prior to the publication of this issue of The Sarasota News Leader. That figure compares to the rate of 14.1% the CDC reported for its seven-day average on Sept. 4.

The new number maintains a steady decline in positivity since late August, as the News Leader pointed out in its Sept. 9 overview of COVID conditions in the county.

The total number of county COVID-19 cases for the seven days through Sept. 13 was 525, the CDC said. The seven-day figure on Sept. 6 was 698. Thus, the new number is almost exactly 33% lower than that Sept. 6 figure.

However, in its Sept. 15 status report for Sarasota County, the CDDC pointed out that the case rate per 100,000 people, averaged over the seven days through that date, was 160.93. That marks a slight climb — about 2.6% — from the Sept. 8 average of 156.78. The Sept. 1 average was 203.58.

The Sept. 15 status report did show that the number of staffed, inpatient hospital beds in use by COVID-19 patients represented 4.1% of the county’s total, which was down from 5.2% in the CDC’s Sept. 8 update.

Nonetheless, Sarasota Memorial noted in its reports this week that its COVID patient counts for its campuses in Sarasota and Venice had ranged from 52 on Sept. 11 to 56 on Sept. 13. The total was 53 on Sept. 15. For each of those days, the number of the patients in the ICUs was five, the reports showed.

From Sept. 2 through Sept. 8, SMH documented patient counts ranging from 45 through 55.

The CDC’s hospitalization details for the seven days through Sept. 12 noted an estimated 78 new COVID admissions, an average of 18 per 100,000 people in the county over that period. The new admissions figure marked a 15.5% jump from the previous seven-day total, the CDC said.

In its Sept. 5 report, the CDC estimated 69 new COVID patients had been admitted to county hospitals over the seven days through that date. The figure represented an average of 15.9 persons per 1000,000 people in the county, the CDC added.

Further, in its report for the seven days through Sept. 13, the CDC said that the county had seen 14 more COVID deaths. That number marked a 17.65% drop from the previous seven-day total, the agency pointed out.

For the seven days through Sept. 6, the number of deaths was put at 17.

Sarasota Memorial did report one more COVID death this week, bringing its total to 709 since the first cases were identified in the county, in March 2020.

As it did last week, the CDC on Sept. 15 classified the COVID-19 transmission level in Sarasota County as “Medium.” The agency’s latest map of Florida reflecting the status of all of the counties — with calculations as of Sept. 7 — showed Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk and Hernando counties with “High” transmission. Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties joined Sarasota in the “Medium” range.

Lee and Collier counties were classified as having “Low” transmission as of Sept. 7.

Given Sarasota County’s “Medium” status, the CDC advised, “Wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19. Wear a mask on public transportation. You may choose to wear a mask at any time as an additional precaution to protect yourself and others. If you are at high risk for severe illness, consider wearing a mask indoors in public and taking additional precautions.”