Deaths of COVID-19 patients continue to climb at Sarasota Memorial Hospital campuses, with 40 more recorded from Jan. 20 to Feb. 3

County positivity rate at 27.87%, CDC says

Image courtesy CDC

While Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) has seen its COVID-19 patient census drop at both its Sarasota and Venice campuses over the past week, the death rate of persons infected with the coronavirus has continued to climb.

On Jan. 20, SMH reported that its total number of COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began locally in March 2020 was 557. That was up to 578 on Jan. 27. By Feb. 3, the figure had reached 597, a 7% increase over the Jan. 20 total.

The hospital’s two campuses had only 174 COVID-19 patients as of Feb. 3, down from 185 the previous day. The Feb. 3 count compares to figures that remained above 200 during the previous week.

The number of patients in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) has been in the high 20s over the past week. The count on Jan. 28 was 28; on Feb. 3, it was 27.

For the seven-day period through Feb. 3, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the COVID-19 positivity rate for Sarasota County was 27.87%, a slight decline from the 28.55% level it noted in its Jan. 27 update.

On Feb. 3, the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center noted on its website that the positivity rate was 25.17% for the entire state, averaged over the past seven days. The record high for the state, the center pointed out, was 34.16%, which was recorded for the period of Jan. 3 through Jan. 9.

Additionally, the CDC website noted 3,788 new cases identified in the county over the seven days through Feb. 1. The latest report from the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee — issued on Jan. 28 for the period of Jan. 21-27 — listed the same figure. That number was down 30.85%, compared to the total for the previous seven-day average, the CDC pointed out.

Altogether, the state update said, Sarasota County has recorded 80,796 COVID-19 infections since March 2020.

In June 2021, the state health department switched to weekly reports; it had offered daily updates before then.

On Feb. 3, the CDC put the case rate average per 100,000 people in the county at 873.33. Compared to the 1,262.96 figure for the seven-day average through Jan. 27, the drop is approximately 45%.

Further, the CDC report on Feb. 3 noted 237 new hospital admissions countywide over the previous seven days. On Jan. 27, that number was 285.

This is the Feb. 2 ‘heat map’ produced by Sarasota County staff in collaboration with the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County. It shows the numbers of new cases, by zip code, over the two-week period through Feb. 2. Image courtesy Sarasota County and DOH-Sarasota

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported on Feb. 3 that the state of Florida has recorded 5,572,757 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. The death count statewide was 65,273 as of that date, Johns Hopkins added.

Through Jan. 30, the CDC also noted, the number of tests performed over the prior seven days in Sarasota County was 15,763, which was a 16.79% drop from the count for the prior seven-day period.

In its Feb. 3 vaccination report for Sarasota County, the CDC showed that 68.5% of the population had been fully vaccinated. The rate for those 65 and older remained the highest for any age group — 90.5%. For those 12 and above, the fully vaccinated rate was 74.4%, and for those age 5 and older, the level was 71%.

Image courtesy CDC

The CDC also pointed out on Feb. 3 that 46.6% of the total population had received boosters. Again, the age rate with the highest level included those 65 and older — 58.5%.

Image courtesy CDC

Testing sites

The following testing sites are available in Sarasota County, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) reminds the public:

  • The former Sarasota Kennel Club, located at 5400 Old Bradenton Road in Sarasota. This drive-through site is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering rapid and PCR COVID-19 testing. This site is operated by Nomi Health.
  • Robert L. Taylor Community Complex parking lot, located at 1845 34th St. in Sarasota. This walk-up site is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PCR COVID-19 testing is available throughout the day. This site is operated by Lab Services.
  • Dallas White Park, located at 5900 Greenwood Ave. in North Port. This walk-up site is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PCR COVID-19 testing is available throughout the day. This site is operated by Lab Services.
  • Ed Smith Stadium parking lot, located at 2700 12th St. in Sarasota. This drive-through COVID-19 testing site offers PCR testing only and operates seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This site is operated by Real Diagnostics.
  • Venice Community Center, located at 326 Nokomis Ave. S. in Venice. This drive-through site is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PCR COVID-19 testing is available throughout the day. This site is operated by Lab Services.

Vaccination availability update

This graphic reflects state and county data through the last state reporting period in January. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Public health officials continue to stress that vaccinations and boosters are the best means of preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19.

DOH-Sarasota offers doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to persons at its offices in downtown Sarasota (2200 Ringling Blvd., 34237) and in North Port (6950 Outreach Way, 34287).

No appointments are necessary. The North Port office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Sarasota facility stays open past 4 p.m. — until 6 p.m. — on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week.