Sarasota County COVID-19 positivity rate passes the 25% mark, averaged over seven days through July 3, CDC says in latest report

Number of patients in Sarasota Memorial ICUs trending higher over past week

Image courtesy CDC

Sarasota County’s COVID-19 positivity rate climbed again over the past week, while Sarasota Memorial Hospital admissions of patients with the coronavirus have continued to stay mostly in the upper 80s during the same period.

However, the hospital has been reporting more deaths attributed to the coronavirus, its updates show.

In its July 3 report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put the county’s positivity rate, averaged over the previous seven days, at 25.01%. That compares to 23.67% for the seven-day average through June 26, as The Sarasota News Leader noted last week.

To put that in perspective, the positivity rate that the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee noted for Sarasota County in its Aug. 2, 2020 weekly report was 7.4%. The highest mark over the previous 13 days was 9.5%, recorded on July 27, 2020. Those reports were issued months before the coronavirus vaccines won federal approval.

In fact, by the last two weeks of August 2020, the positivity rate was trending even lower.

This is the Aug. 30, 2020 COVID-19 testing and positivity report for Sarasota County. Image courtesy Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee


The total number of cases in the county climbed to 1,361 for the seven days through July 5, the CDC also noted. That was up about 2.4%, compared to the 1,329 count for the seven days through June 28.

Further, the CDC’s July 5 data show 13 COVID-19 deaths recorded in the county over the seven days through that date. The seven-day total in the June 28 report put that figure at 17. The July 5 CDC chart did point out that the death rate was down 23.53%, compared to the previous seven-day average.

Image courtesy CDC

In its July 7 status report on COVID-19 in Sarasota County, the CDC said the case rate was 306.4 per 100,000 people, averaged over the previous seven days. That was down slightly from the case rate of 323.69 that the CDC reported on June 30.

Conversely, the July 5 status update put the percentage of staffed inpatient beds in use by COVID-19 patients in the county at 6.3%. That is up from the 5.6% figure in the June 30 report.

In the Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) COVID-19 report on July 1, staff noted 75 patients being cared for on the Sarasota and Venice campuses. Of those, seven were in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs), the update added.

SMH also reported another death on July 1, bringing the count to 673 since the first coronavirus cases were identified in the county in March 2020.

With no hospital updates over the July Fourth holiday weekend, the next report — on July 5 — said that the COVID-19 patient total had risen to 88, with eight of those people in the ICUs. Further, that update included another death.

On July 6, the COVID-19 patient total rose to 89, with eight persons still in the ICUs.

Then, on July 7 — the last report issued prior to this edition of the News Leader — the patient count was down to 84; however, 11 of them were in the ICUs. SMH also had recorded one more death, bringing that total for the pandemic to 675.

In its July 4 report for Sarasota County, the CDC estimated that 115 new patients infected with COVID-19 had been admitted to hospitals in the county over the seven days through that date.

Image courtesy CDC

Medical researchers routinely have pointed out that deaths tend to lag climbs in cases, as the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reported in a July 10, 2020 working paper.

Subvariants of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have produced the latest surge of patients, physicians have said in recent weeks.

Almost exactly seven months ago — on Dec. 13, 2021 — Sarasota Memorial had just 25 COVID-19 patients in the hospital. As of that date, the total number of deaths SMH had tallied as a result of coronavirus infection was 529.

At that point, the health care system was experiencing the waning days of the Delta variant surge.

By Feb. 7, with the Omicron surge underway, SMH reported a total of 157 patients between its Sarasota and Venice campuses. Of those, 24 were in the ICUs. The total number of patient deaths SMH had attributed to the virus at that time was 608.

In its July 7 status report for Sarasota County, the CDC also continued to classify the COVID-19 transmission level as “High,” and it advised people to wear masks indoors in public settings and on public transportation.

In its biweekly update on case counts per 100,000 residents in Florida, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center put the figure for Sarasota County at 91.6. The highest among counties the News Leader checked was 175.7, for Miami-Dade, followed by Polk with 121.1 and 111.2 for Broward.

Image courtesy Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center
This is the latest CDC map for Florida showing the COVID-19 transmission levels for the counties, as of the News Leader deadline for this issue. Sarasota County is a darker shade of orange because it was the focus of the News Leader‘s research on the website. Image courtesy CDC

These are other case rate figures that the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center provided on July 7:

  • Hillsborough County — 96.5 per 100,000 people.
  • Pinellas — 89.3.
  • Manatee — 86.9.
  • Lee — 80.5.
  • Charlotte — 75.7.
  • Palm Beach County — 87.6.
  • DeSoto — 60.