COVID-19 positivity rate climbs to 9.62% in Sarasota County, with Sarasota Memorial reporting steady climb in hospitalizations

CDC moves county’s transmission level back to ‘Medium,’ after putting it at ‘Low’ last week

As reflected in Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) updates over the past week and the latest reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hospitalizations of individuals infected with COVID-19 in Sarasota County have continued to rise.

At the same time, the COVID-19 positivity rate has inched up again, climbing from 9.17% in the CDC’s Oct. 16 report to 9.62% in the Oct. 23 update. Both reports reflect averages over the seven days through those dates.

Further, over the seven days through Oct. 27, the CDC noted that the COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people in the county had risen to 54.18, which is up close to 12%, compared to the Oct. 20 case rate of 48.42 per 100,000 residents.

Through Oct. 13, the seven-day average put the case rate at 56.02 per 100,000 people in the county, the CDC reported on that date.

Additionally, the CDC’s Oct. 27 update for the county noted that 3% of staffed hospital beds were occupied by patients with COVID-19. That figure was just above the 2.9% calculation in the CDC’s Oct. 20 report.

For the seven days through Oct. 24, the CDC said, it estimated that 50 new patients with COVID-19 had been admitted to hospitals in the county. The federal agency had confirmed that 11.5 new admissions per 100,000 county residents had been recorded for the seven days through Oct. 24. That marked a 15.2% uptick from the previous seven-day average, the CDC said.

In its Oct. 17 report on hospitalizations, the CDC estimate for new admissions of COVID-19 patients for the seven days through that date was 43, which marked a 26.9% jump, compared to the previous seven-day calculation.

From Oct. 21 through Oct. 27, the lowest number of COVID-19 patients receiving care at the two Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) campuses — in Sarasota and in Venice — was 40, on Oct. 23, the health care system reported. The number had climbed to 50 by Oct. 27.

From Oct. 14 through Oct. 20, the highest SMH count on a given day was 43, which was noted on Oct. 20.

Over the past week, the largest number of COVID-19 patients in the SMH Intensive Care Units (ICUs) on a given day was eight, on Oct. 20. The lowest number was three, recorded on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24. The total rose to six on Oct. 25, but only four COVID patients were in the ICUs on Oct. 27, SMH noted.

The health care system also has recorded one more death over the past week. The SMH total since the first pandemic cases were identified in the county — in March 2020 — was 724 as of Oct. 21, SMH reported.

The number of COVID-19 deaths in the county over the seven days through Oct. 19 was 11, the CDC said. (No later data was available prior to the publication of this issue of The Sarasota News Leader.)

SMH also noted that the COVID-19 positivity rate for all its patients as of Oct. 27 was 6.5%. That is up from the rate of 5.4%, averaged for the week ending Oct. 21.

In its Oct. 27, weekly update for Sarasota County, the CDC classified the COVID-19 transmission rate as “Medium.” The Oct. 20 report had moved the county to a “Low” level.

The agency’s map for Florida, showing the level of transmission for all counties, calculated for the seven days through Oct. 19, put Charlotte and DeSoto counties in the “Medium” classification, as well.

The CDC map with county transmission classifications averaged over the seven days through Oct. 11 showed a cluster of only 10 counties in the northern part of the state at the “Medium” level.

The Oct. 19 map still showed that cluster, which stretched from Hamilton and Columbia counties on the Georgia border, south to Dixie and Levy counties on the Gulf of Mexico. All of the other counties had “Low” classifications.