County’s COVID positivity rate down to 14.1%, CDC reports this week, but number of new cases up slightly for seven days through Sept. 6

Sarasota Memorial reports gradual rise over past week in number of COVID patients at its two campuses

Sarasota County’s COVID-19 positivity rate has continued to fall, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported this week, but Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) updates have shown a gradual rise in the number of COVID patients under its care over the past week.

Averaged for the seven days through Sept. 4, the county’s positivity rate was 14.1%, the CDC noted. That compares to the seven-day average of 16.36% on Aug. 28 and the 18.95% average on Aug. 21.

On May 1, the positivity rate was 12.67%, the CDC said at that time, based on its seven-day average through that date. A week later, on May 8, the figure was 15.19%.

Further, the latest CDC data show that the county’s case rate per 100,000 people, averaged over the seven days through Sept. 8, was 156.78. That was down almost 30% from the Sept. 1 figure of 203.58; the Aug. 25 average was 186.29.

In its weekly update on May 5, the CDC said the case rate per 100,000 people in the county was 95.91.

In contrast to the decline this week in the case rate per 100,000 people, the CDC pointed out that the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the county for the seven days through Sept. 6 was 698. That marked a 2.65% increase from the previous seven-day total, the agency said.

In its report for the seven days through Aug. 30, the CDC noted the case total was 680.

In its updates from Sept. 2 through Sept. 8, SMH documented patient counts ranging from 45 through 55 at its two campuses, in Sarasota and Venice. The latter figure was in the health care system’s Sept. 8 update — the last available prior to the deadline for this issue of The Sarasota News Leader.

The highest count of COVID-19 patients in the SMH Intensive Care Units (ICUs) from Sept. 2 through Sept. 8 was five, on Sept. 2, the reports show. The figure had fallen to one on Sept. 6, but it was back up to four on Sept. 8.

On Aug. 26, SMH reported a total of 59 COVID-19 patients being cared for at its two campuses. By Sept. 1, the number had fallen to 45.

The CDC noted that, for the seven days through Sept. 5, it estimated 69 new COVID-19 patients had been admitted to hospitals in the county. It had confirmed, it said, that the admissions through that period averaged 15.9 per 100,000 people in the county, which was down 16% from the agency’s previous seven-day figure.

In its Sept. 8 weekly update, the CDC said that the number of hospital beds in the county in use by COVID patients represented 5.2% of the total. That was down from the figure of 6.6%, which the CDC noted in its weekly update on Sept. 1.

Further, Sarasota Memorial reported two more COVID deaths over the past week, for a total of 708 since the first pandemic cases were identified in the county in March 2020.

The CDC data for the seven days through Sept. 6 showed 17 more deaths countywide, which the agency noted was a drop of 32% rom the prior seven-day total.

In its Sept. 8 update, the CDC also reported that the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate was classified as “Medium,” after weeks of being listed as “High.” The agency cautioned, “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.”