County’s COVID positivity rate falls to 8.01%

With federal Public Health Emergency ended as of May 11, CDC announces its reporting frequency and metrics will change

In what is expected to be the final regular update on COVID conditions in Sarasota County, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the positivity rate averaged over the seven days through May 7 was 8.01%.

That figure is almost half the rate that the CDC noted for Sarasota County on May 8, 2022: 15.19%, as The Sarasota News Leader reported then.

The seven-day average through April 30 of this year put the rate at 10.66%, the CDC noted at that time. For another comparison, the seven-day average through April 13 was 12.68%.

Generally, the positivity rate in the county has been declining gradually over recent weeks.

In its May 11 COVID status update for Sarasota County, the CDC reported that it had recorded only 4.4 new COVID patient admissions to county hospitals, per 100,000 residents, over the seven days through that date. The number of hospital beds in the county in use by COVID patients represented 1.3% of the total, the federal agency added.

In a separate chart — reflecting hospitalization data collected over the seven days through May 8 — the CDC said that it had estimated only 17 new patients with COVID admitted to county hospitals. The agency noted that it had confirmed 3.9 admissions per 100,000 residents for the same seven-day period. The change in new admissions compared to the prior seven-day tally marked a 21.2% drop, the CDC pointed out.

In its Sarasota County status report issued on May 4, the CDC said it had calculated 5.9 new admissions of COVID patients to county hospitals over the seven days through that date. Further, the agency noted that the number of county hospital beds occupied by COVID patients represented 1.9% of the total.

Thus, the latest data also reflect a decline in coronavirus activity in the county.

Moreover, the CDC’s seven days of data collected through May 8 showed that only 0.7% of all county Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds were occupied by COVID patients. That figure was down 0.2%, compared to the previous seven-day calculation, the agency pointed out.

In its May 1 update on hospitalizations, the CDC put the ICU bed figure at 0.9%. That had marked a slight decline from the 1% figure in the agency’s April 24 report.

In its May 11 status update, the CDC also continued to classify the COVID transmission level in the county as “Low,” which was unchanged from the May 4 designation. Additionally, the CDC’s map showing the transmission status for all 67 Florida counties – based on data collected from April 27 through May 3 — put every county at the “Low” level.

On its website this week, the CDC explains that, with the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declaration ending on May 11, its “authorizations to collect certain types of public health data will expire.”

The agency adds, “While reporting frequency and source data for some metrics will shift when the [Public Health Emergency] declaration ends, CDC will continue to report valuable data to inform individual and community public health actions to protect those at highest risk of severe COVID-19. Our priority remains providing the information necessary to protect the nation’s public health.”