Sarasota Memorial records more than 100 COVID-19 patients on two days over past week, as positivity rate rises again in the county

CDC continues to caution that Sarasota County’s transmission rate classified as ‘High,” as in most Florida counties

With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) marking another climb in Sarasota County’s COVID-19 positivity rate this week, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) also reported that its COVID-19 patient count exceeded 100 for the first time since the Omicron surge in late winter.

Averaged over the seven days through July 17, the CDC put the positivity rate at 24.59%. The July 10 report — again, marking an average over the previous seven days — showed the rate was 23.29%, as The Sarasota News Leader reported last week.

The total number of new COVID-19 cases in the county, reported over the seven days through July 19, was 1,323, the CDC also noted in its latest update prior to publication of this issue of the News Leader. The new figure was up 5% from the July 12 total of 1,260.

Additionally, in its July 19 update, the CDC reported 11 more deaths over the seven days through that date. That total was down from the 14 recorded in Sarasota County for the seven days through July 12.

Further, in its July 21 status report for Sarasota County, the CDC continued to classify the coronavirus transmission rate as “High,” with 290.5 cases reported per 100,000 people over the seven days through that date. That figure was down from the 313.78 cases per 100,000 people noted in the CDC’s July 14 update.

However, on July 21, the CDC did report 32.1 new COVID-19 patient admissions to hospitals, per 100,000 people, over the seven days through that date. That compared to the figure of 26 in the July 14 report.

In contrast, the CDC said that the percentage of staffed inpatient beds in use by individuals with confirmed COVID-19 cases, for the seven days through July 21, was 6.7%. That marked a decline from the 7% reported on July 14.

In its updates from July 15 through July 21, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) noted that its COVID-19 patient totals — reflecting reports from both its Sarasota and Venice campuses — ranged from 107 on July 17 to 86 on July 20. The count on July 21 was 91.

The last time the News Leader found SMH totals above 100 was in February. On Feb. 17, the total number of COVID-19 patients on the health care system’s two campuses was 107. That figure fell to 96 a day later.

The highest total that SMH noted in its reports for the week prior to the News Leader’s publication of its July 15 issue was 99.

The updates over the past week also show that the number of patients in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) has ranged from eight on July 14 to three on July 21.

During the Omicron surge early this year, SMH had COVID-19 patient counts in double digits in its ICUs.

Additionally, SMH reported three more deaths of COVID-19 patients since July 14. Since the first cases were identified in the county in March 2020, the health care system has recorded 686 deaths.

With the Sarasota County COVID-19 transmission rate remaining “High,” the CDC continues to recommend that persons wear masks whenever they are indoors in public settings and on public transportation.