COVID hospitalizations dropping at Sarasota Memorial campuses, with county’s positivity rate finally falling below 20% again

Coronavirus-linked deaths in county up two-thirds as of Aug. 23, compared to previous seven-day figure, CDC says

The number of COVID-19 patients being cared for at the Sarasota and Venice campuses of Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) fell this week into the low 60s as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a drop in Sarasota County’s positivity rate to 18.95%.

That is the first time the latter level has been below 20% in months, as shown in earlier CDC reports.

On Aug. 18, the SMH COVID patient count for its two campuses was 84, the health care system reported. As of Aug. 24, the total was 64. The Sarasota News Leader could find no report for Aug. 25 prior to its deadline for this issue.

However, the status update that the CDC issued on Aug. 25 noted that the number of hospital beds in use by COVID-19 patients countywide represented 8.9% of the total. That was up slightly from 8.6% on Aug. 18. The figure in the CDC’s July 28 report was 7.6%.

Additionally, SMH noted that more COVID patients were in its Intensive Care Units (ICUs) over the past week. The highest figure was six; the Aug. 24 number was four.

Those figures compared to the two ICU patients noted on Aug. 19.

For the seven days through Aug. 15, the CDC estimate for new COVID patient hospitalizations in the county was 149.

In contrast, the CDC reported that, for the seven days through Aug. 22, it estimated that 83 new patients with COVID-19 had been hospitalized in Sarasota County. That was down 44.5%, the CDC said, compared to the previous seven-day figure.

Data recorded through Aug. 23 showed 883 new COVID-19 cases in Sarasota County for the seven days through that date, the CDC reported. That was up 9.28% from the previous seven-day total, the CDC added.

For the seven days through Aug. 16, the CDC put the new case count at 808.

Further, SMH reported two more deaths of COVID patients over the past week, bringing the total to 704 since the first cases were identified in Florida in March 2020.

On Aug. 23, the CDC reported 15 more deaths in the county over the seven days through that date; the figure marked a 66.67% jump from the total for the previous seven days, the CDC noted.

That Aug. 23 report also was the latest available prior to the publication of this issue of the News Leader.

As for the positivity rate: In its Aug. 14 update — averaged over the seven days through that date — the CDC put the county figure at 20.5%. For the seven days through July 24, the rate was averaged at 24.67%.

For its seven-day average through May 1, the CDC listed the county’s positivity rate at 12.67%. By the time of the May 16 report, the figure was 18.18%. Then, as of the May 24 seven-day average, it had climbed to 21.11%.

The CDC added in its Aug. 25 status update that the COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people in Sarasota County was 186.29. That marked a drop of almost 71% from the Aug. 18 number, which was 318.39 cases per 100,000 residents.

The CDC continues to classify the COVID-19 transmission rate in Sarasota County as “High.” Therefore, it urges members of the public to wear masks in indoor settings and on public transportation.