DeSoto County is one of dozens of counties in Florida that are facing a “tipping point” with increases in COVID-19 cases and in hospitalizations.
It is running neck-in-neck with Miami-Dade County in its case rate per 100,000 population, according to the Florida Department of Health Dashboard.
The two counties have the state’s highest rates of new coronavirus cases out of Florida’s 67 counties.
Since DeSoto County has a population of 36,399 versus Miami-Dade’s population of 2,715,516, statistics of new cases and their case rates can be deceiving unless the population of each county is considered.
Sunday saw a spike in DeSoto County, with 51 new cases, or 430 for a seven-day period.
The DeSoto Department of Health did not return calls; it is unknown whether the 51 new cases in the county were part of a cluster concentrated in one area or institution.
Cases were also on the rise in Charlotte County, which saw 47 new cases Sunday, and 378 for the week.
In Sarasota County, there were 127 new cases on Sunday, or 1,229 for the week, and Lee County reported 156 new cases to total 1,745 for the week ending Sunday.
COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to rise in DeSoto County; on Monday, 18 patients were hospitalized for primary diagnosis of COVID-19 at DeSoto Memorial Hospital, a spokesperson confirmed.
Data from the Agency for Health Care Administration by noon on Monday showed that Charlotte County, which has three hospitals and a total of 405 hospital beds, had 39 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Among the three, 208 beds were available, or 33.93%.
Sarasota County, which has six hospitals and a total of 1,090 hospital beds, had 99 COVID-19 patients late Monday — down from 109 patients earlier in the day. The hospitals were also filling, and on Monday 143 hospital beds were available, or 11.60%.
The upcoming holidays are bringing more snowbirds and visitors to our area; seasonally hospitalization rates normally rise, but the pandemic has caused an increase above the norm.
Florida has reported 930,728 resident cases and 53,499 hospitalizations. There have been 18,085 resident deaths.