COVID-19 positivity rate climbs to 11.32% in county

Case count down slightly from CDC’s previous week’s report, though Sarasota Memorial treating slightly more patients over past week

Sarasota County’s COVID-19 positivity rate has climbed again, to 11.32%, as averaged over the seven days through Dec. 4, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported.

The figure compares to a rate of 10.08% noted in the Nov. 27 CDC update.

However, the number of new COVID cases in the county recorded over the seven days through Nov. 30 was 267, which marked a slight drop from the count of 272 that the CDC reported for the seven days through Nov. 23.

Additionally, in its Dec. 8 status update for Sarasota County, the CDC put the case rate per 100,000 residents at 61.56, averaged over the seven days through that date. That figure also was down a bit from the case rate for the seven days through Dec. 1, which was 62.71 per 100,000 residents. The latter number had represented a drop from the Nov. 23 seven-day average of 65.71 per 100,000 residents.

Conversely, the CDC estimated that 60 new COVID-19 patients had been admitted to hospitals in the county over the seven days through Dec. 5. That compared to the estimate of 50 for the seven days through Nov. 28.

Based on its seven days of data through Dec. 5, the CDC reported that it had confirmed 13.8 new admissions of COVID-19 patients to county hospitals. The figure in the Nov. 28 update was 11.5 per 100,000 county residents.

Yet, the CDC’s Dec. 8 status report for the county said only 3.2% of inpatient beds were in use by persons with confirmed cases of COVID-19, marking a drop from the Dec. 1 figure of 3.9%.

Additionally, for the seven days through Dec. 5, the CDC noted that 3.3% of the county’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds were occupied by COVID patients. The agency pointed out that that was up 0.3% from its previous seven-day figure.

Indeed, in its Nov. 28 report, the CDC said the number of ICU beds in use by COVID-19 patients countywide represented 3.1% of the total.

Over the past week, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) has noted a daily high of 58 COVID-19 patients at its two campuses — in Sarasota and Venice. That report came on Dec. 5. Six of those individuals were in the ICUs, the health care system said, compared to two the previous day.

On Dec. 2, the total number of COVID patients at SMH facilities was 52, with only one in an ICU, the health care system reported.

By Dec. 8, staff members at SMH facilities were caring for 50 COVID patients, though five of the patients were in the ICUs, SMH noted.

From Nov. 27 through Dec. 1, the highest number of COVID patients at the health care system’s facilities was 54, while the lowest was 43. The latter figure was recorded on Nov. 27.

Further, SMH reported three more COVID patient deaths over the past week. The total has climbed to 738 since the first pandemic cases were identified in the county, in March 2020.

The CDC recorded a total of 19 deaths in the county over the seven days through Nov. 30; that number was up almost 36% from the seven-day total of 14 through Nov. 23.

On Dec. 5, USA Today reported that in November, “9,822 Americans were reported killed by COVID-19, the lowest monthly toll in more than a year.”

Nonetheless, USA Today said, that represented “an average of 327 Americans” dying every day.

USA Today based its report on its analysis of Johns Hopkins University data, it pointed out.

“From April through November,” the USA Today article continued, “the country reported 97,101 deaths [resulting from] COVID-19.” That reflected about 10,000 more deaths than the United States reported for all of the last flu season, plus the latest reported year of homicides, and the entirety of the Vietnam War,” it added.

Among other recent SMH data, the health care system said in its Dec. 8 update that its facilities’ positivity rate was 7.1% that day. For the week ending Dec. 2, it noted, the rate was 6.7%.

The highest positivity rate among SMH patients over the past week, on a given day, was 7.3%. That was recorded on Dec. 7.

The latest CDC map for the state of Florida, showing the transmission level for each county, was produced on Nov. 30, the agency said. Reflecting calculations of data collected from Nov. 23 through Nov. 29, the map continued to classify Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties with “Medium” levels.

Likewise, the map appeared to show the same cluster of “Medium” level counties in the north-central part of the state that the CDC has depicted in recent weeks, with little variation. Those counties include Hamilton and Columbia on the Georgia border. The swath stretches to Dixie and Levy counties on the Gulf of Mexico.

All the other counties were classified as having “Low” transmission.