CDC updates transmission level to ‘Low’
For the first time since late October 2022, the COVID-19 positivity rate for Sarasota County has dropped below the 10% threshold, as noted in the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The seven-day average for the county, calculated through Jan. 29, was 9.99%, the agency reported. As of Oct. 23, 2022, the seven-day average put the level at 9.62%. By early November 2022, the rate had climbed above 10% once again.
As The Sarasota News Leader reported in its Jan. 27 issue, the positivity rate for the seven days through Jan. 22 was 10.06%.
With the level having fallen below 10%, the CDC this week also classified transmission in Sarasota County as “Low.” For months, the county had had a “Medium” classification.
Nonetheless, the CDC did report in its Feb. 2 status update for the county that the COVID case rate per 100,000 residents was 192.74. That marked a jump from the rate of 102.37 per 100,000 county residents for the seven days through Jan. 26.
On the flip side, the agency pointed out that the number of new COVID patient admissions to county hospitals over the seven days through Feb. 2 was 9.4 per 100,000 residents. In the CDC’s Jan. 26 status update, the figure was 10 per 100,000 county residents.
The agency also noted that the number of staffed hospital beds with COVID patients in the county represented 3.6% of the total. That was down from 4.4% in the Jan. 26 update.
Data collected over the seven days through Jan. 30 showed the number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in the county occupied by COVID patients represented 4% of the total, which the CDC said was down 1.2% from the previous seven-day figure.
The seven days of data that the CDC collected through Jan. 23 put the ICU figure at 5.3%, which was down from the seven-day calculation of 5.6% through Jan. 16.
Over the past week, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) has reported slightly higher patient censuses for its two campuses — in Sarasota and Venice — than it noted for the previous week. From Jan. 20 through Jan. 26, the highest number of COVID patients that the health care system recorded on a given day was 64; the lowest was 41. Between Jan. 27 and Feb. 2, the highest total on a single day was 53, noted on Feb. 1. The figure on Jan. 27 was 42.
The number of COVID patients in SMH Intensive Care Unit beds has remained relatively similar to the counts reported over the previous week. On Jan. 27, none of the health care system’s COVID patients was in an ICU bed. The highest figure over the past week was four, recorded on Feb. 1.
Between Jan. 22 and Jan. 26, the highest number in SMH’s ICU beds was three. As of Jan. 26, the figure was one.
In its Jan. 30 report, reflecting data gathered over the seven days through that date, the CDC said that a total of 37 new COVID patients were admitted to hospitals in the county. That was the same number the agency cited for its seven-day count through Jan. 23.
For the seven days through Jan. 25, the CDC also noted that it had received reports of 14 more COVID deaths in Sarasota County. That number was down 6.67% from the previous seven-day figure, the agency pointed out.
For the seven days through Jan. 18, the total number of county COVID deaths was 15, the CDC noted at that time.
SMH has recorded one more COVID death this week at its facilities, bringing the total to 759 since the first pandemic cases were identified in the county in March 2020. The new death was reflected in the Feb. 2 SMH report.
Additionally, the health care system pointed out that its COVID positivity rate for patients was 6.4% as of Feb. 2. For the week ending Jan. 27, that figure was 7.4%.
For the week ending Jan. 20, the figure was 7.9%.
Among other CDC data, the map showing the COVID transmission levels for all of Florida’s counties, reflecting data collected from Jan. 19 through Jan. 25, put Manatee and DeSoto counties in the “Low” category with Sarasota County. Those were the only three counties in Southwest Florida at that level.
However, the group of counties in the Panhandle from east of the Alabama border to west of the Georgia border all were marked with “Low” transmission. Among those counties are Escambia, Walton, Gulf, Bay and Santa Rosa.
Additionally, in the eastern part of the state, St. Johns, Putnam, Osceola, Brevard and Indian River were classified with “Low” levels.
The only counties in the latest map with “High” classifications continued to be in the swath just south of the Georgia border, extending to the Gulf Coast. Among them were Alachua, Hamilton, Columbia, Union, Levy and Dixie.