County’s COVID positivity rate up slightly, to 10.66%

State says 123 new county cases recorded in its latest set of data, collected from April 21 through April 27

Sarasota County’s COVID positivity rate inched up a bit in the latest report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reaching 10.66%, based on data averaged over the seven days through April 30.

The positivity rate that the federal agency calculated over the seven days through April 23 was 10.6%, as The Sarasota News Leader reported last week. The CDC’s April 16 report put the figure at 12.68%.

Almost exactly a year ago — in the CDC’s report for May 1, 2022 — the agency put the county positivity rate at 12.67%.

In the Florida Department of Health’s latest report for Sarasota County — reflecting data that state officials had collected from April 21 through April 27 — the county’s positivity rate was 8.7%, with 123 new cases recorded for that period.

Mirroring the situation in recent weeks, the CDC had no case data for Sarasota County in its April 26 chart, noting that no information was available.

The state Health Department in Tallahassee has been releasing COVID updates no more recently than every two weeks over the past year.

The CDC’s May 4, weekly status report for conditions in Sarasota County said the agency had calculated only 5.9 new admissions of COVID patients to county hospitals, per 100,000 residents, over the seven days through that date. The chart added that the number of county hospital beds occupied by COVID patients represented 1.9% of the total. That figure was unchanged from the April 24 CDC calculation.

In more detailed data about hospitalizations collected over the seven days through May 1, the federal agency reported that it had estimated 22 new admissions of COVID patients to county hospitals. That figure, it said, was down 28.3%, compared to the prior seven-day tally.

Additionally, the CDC noted that the number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in use by COVID patients in county hospitals over the seven days through May 1 represented 0.9% of the total. That was down slightly from the figure of 1% that the agency reported on April 24, based on seven days of data through that date.

Further, in its May 4 status update for Sarasota County, the CDC lowered the transmission level again to “Low,” where it had been for a couple of weeks before the agency raised it to “Medium” in its April 27 update.

Additionally, the latest CDC map showing transmission classifications statewide — representing data reported from April 20 through April 26 — put all 67 counties at the “Low” level.

Among other details in the latest state report, the Florida Department of Health noted that 7,026 new COVID cases were recorded statewide between April 21 and April 27. For the week beginning April 14, the figure was 7,396, the report showed.

Further, the Florida Department of Health said the state positivity rate for the week starting April 21 was 7.6%, which was down a bit from the 7.7% figure for the week beginning April 14.

For the week starting Feb. 17 — the earliest date in the latest relevant state chart — the positivity rate was 10.6%. The next highest level was 9.3%, for the week beginning Feb. 24; in third place was the 9.2% positivity rate calculated for the week beginning March 24.

The state report for the week of April 21 through April 27 also said that 25 deaths had been recorded during that period, bringing the total number of COVID deaths in Florida to 88,219 since the first coronavirus cases were identified in Florida — in Sarasota County, in fact — in March 2020.

Among other details in the latest CDC data, the number of county residents who have been vaccinated with the updated bivalent booster that was approved last year was 82,086. The CDC noted that 372,270 county residents are eligible for that booster; thus, the inoculation figure represented 18.9% of that total.

Further, only 36.9% of Sarasota County residents age 65 and over had received that booster as of May 4, whereas 95% of them had completed the primary vaccination series.