71% of county residents age 12 and older fully vaccinated, CDC says
On Oct. 12, the last time that Sarasota County Health Officer Chuck Henry provided a COVID-19 update to the County Commission, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put the infection positivity rate at 4.94%, averaged over the previous seven days.
Almost exactly a month later, on Nov. 11, the CDC reported the rate was 2.61%.
In late June, it had fallen to about 2%, Henry told the commissioners in early October.
Two months ago — on Sept. 8 — the rate was 18%, as hospitals in the county were battling a surge of patients, mostly because the Delta variant of the coronavirus had become dominant in communities across the country, Henry pointed out on Oct. 12.
Additionally on Oct. 12, the CDC noted that the level of community transmission in Sarasota County was “Substantial.” By Nov. 11, the level was “Moderate,” the CDC reported.
On Aug. 26, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) said in its weekday update that it had 271 COVID-positive patients, 58 of whom were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Of all the patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in the hospital that day, SMH noted, 88% were unvaccinated.
On Nov. 11, SMH had 23 COVID-19 patients, it reported, with nine in the ICU. Of all its COVID-positive patients, the hospital staff said, 79% were unvaccinated.
Further, as of Nov. 11, SMH reported that, since the start of the pandemic in Florida in March 2020, it had recorded 523 deaths resulting from COVID-19. That figure had climbed from the 500 mark set exactly a month earlier, on Oct. 14.
With the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee having continued just weekly COVID-19 reports since June, the latest data available for Sarasota County, prior to publication of this issue of The Sarasota News Leader, was released for the week of Oct. 29 to Nov. 4. The update showed only 155 new cases counted in the county for that period. The total was 23 lower than the figure for the previous week, Sarasota County staff pointed out in its weekly update.
The CDC also noted on Nov. 11 that 75.7% of the approximately 434,000 residents in Sarasota County had had at least one dose of vaccine, while 64.7% were fully vaccinated.
As in prior reports, the highest percentage of fully vaccinated residents in the county are 65 or older. The CDC put that figure at 87.4% on Nov. 11, with 99% having received at least one dose.
For county residents age 12 and older, 71% are fully vaccinated, the CDC said.
County Health Officer Henry has emphasized in every appearance before the County Commission that vaccinations are the best available means of ending the pandemic. “Vaccines work” has been at the top of Henry’s “key messages” for the community.
The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County continues to offer vaccinations, without appointments, at its downtown Sarasota clinic, which is located at the intersection of Ringling Boulevard and School Avenue in Sarasota (2200 Ringling Blvd.). Persons may walk in for shots on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Tuesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
At its North Port location (6950 Outreach Way), the department’s clinic is open for vaccinations from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Vaccines are also available at multiple community outlets —including CVS and Walgreens stores. Locations may be found at http://www.vaccines.gov.
Although the CDC recently authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 and older, the department notes that it has yet to receive any of those doses.
Even though the Delta surge has waned, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine data show that new COVID-19 cases are on the rise again.
Using data collected by Johns Hopkins researchers, reporter Mike Stucka of USA Today found that, in the week ending Nov. 10, case counts were higher in 29 states than they were in the previous week, USA Today noted on Nov. 11, in its daily COVID-19 update. “A month ago, cases were rising in just 12 states,” USA Today added.