COVID positivity rate jumps to 12.94%

Sarasota Memorial ceases daily COVID patient updates

 Sarasota County’s COVID positivity rate jumped to 12.94%, averaged over the seven days through April 2, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on its website this week.

The seven-day average through March 19 put the figure at 9.42%. The calculation was 11.21% in the CDC update issued on March 26.

March typically is the month with the highest number of visitors to Sarasota County, as documented by data that the county’s tourism office, Visit Sarasota County, tracks.

Additionally, while the CDC reported the number of new COVID cases in the county over the seven days through March 22 was 536, the agency had no figures for the seven days through March 29, The Sarasota News Leader found.

For the seven days through March 23, the CDC reported the case rate per 100,000 Sarasota County residents was 50.49.

Further, over the seven days through March 22, the CDC had recorded 14 new COVID deaths in the county. That figure was up 55.56% from the previous seven-day calculation, the agency pointed out.

In its report for the week through March 29, the CDC said it had data showing fewer than 10 deaths. However, it provided no figure showing the death rate per 100,000 residents.

In recent months, the CDC has noted difficulty in obtaining records from various states. Moreover, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) announced on March 24 that it no longer would post daily updates on its cases.

A note atop the March 24 SMH report said, “As the COVID pandemic enters a new phase with the end of the nation’s public health emergency in early May, Sarasota Memorial will stop posting daily updates to this Coronavirus News Update webpage after Friday, March 24, 2023. SMH will continue to track the number of patients hospitalized for COVID and other clinical indicators that help monitor community spread. If SMH detects signs of a future surge or

begins to experience capacity concerns due to COVID, we will resume sharing important community updates on”

As of March 24, SMH said it had a total of 36 COVID patients receiving care at its Sarasota and Venice campuses, and only three of those were in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds.

The health care system’s positivity rate that day was 7.4%. SMH added that, for the week ending March 17, the positivity rate was 7.8%.

The CDC’s COVID status update for Sarasota County on April 6 put the transmission level at “Medium,” which was unchanged from the March 16 and March 23 reports.

The April 6 update also said that the CDC had calculated 12.7 new COVID patient admissions to county hospitals, per 100,000 residents, over the seven days through April 6.

Another chart pointed out that the CDC had confirmed the admissions of 48 new COVID patients to county hospitals over the seven days through April 3, adding that that figure was down 3.9%, compared to the previous seven-day tally.

Further, the agency said in its April 6 update that the number of county hospital beds in use by COVID patients represented 3.1% of the total. The county data that the CDC had collected over the seven days through March 20 put that figure at 3.3%.

One other figure the CDC noted in its April 3 update on hospitalizations was that the number of ICU beds in use by COVID patients represented 5.4% of the total in the county. That was up 2% from the previous seven-day calculation, the agency added.

Among other CDC information this week, the agency’s Florida map showing all 67 counties, based on data the agency had collected from March 23 through March 29, showed only two other counties besides Sarasota with “Medium” transmission levels: Charlotte and DeSoto. That map was unchanged from those that the CDC produced on March 16 and March 23.