The delta variant of COVID-19 continued to race through Charlotte, Sarasota and DeSoto counties, slamming schools particularly hard over the past week.
Charlotte County Public Schools on Friday reported 189 new cases of COVID among students and personnel.
In South Sarasota County, there were 251 more students and 12 more staff members diagnosed with the coronavirus.
The Sarasota County Schools in August voted to implement a temporary, 90-day emergency policy which requires all students, unless they have a medical exemption, plus all visitors, employees and vendors to wear a face mask at all times.
The order went fully in effect on Aug. 30, and would remain unless the positivity rate in the county drops below 8% for three days. It would be reenacted if it rises above 10%.
The district announced Friday that it was extending until further notice the suspension of field trips and nonessential visitors and volunteers to school campuses.
The positivity rate in Sarasota County rate as reported to the CDC on Friday, was at 17.18%.
DeSoto County reported 83 new cases among students and 20 among staff members.
The COVID-19 census at Sarasota Memorial Hospital has improved significantly this month, though a quick glance at its Daily News Update might lead you to think otherwise.
Friday’s census was 242 patients, about the same as in mid-August, when the delta variant was causing a major surge in admissions.
But there’s an asterisk next to that number, signifying that 48 of those patients are actually clear of the virus but have had their discharge delayed due to other complications.
They may still need treatment for heart, lung or kidney issues, Public Information Officer Kim Savage said.
“In some cases, we have patients who no longer need acute hospital care, but still need 24/7 skilled care and are awaiting acceptance or placement in a skilled nursing facility,” she said.
That puts the number of patients who actually have COVID-19 at 194 — the first time in a month the census has been below 200.
The hospital’s seven- day positivity rate has been declining as well, dropping to 13.1% Friday compared to 16.6% for the prior period.
The number not improving is deaths, with more than 20 reported this week and about 40 for the month after 99 last month.
According to Johns Hopkins, the seven-day rolling average for Charlotte County COVID cases was 101.96 per 100,000 population.
The county reported a positivity rate of 23.89%.
As of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control reported 1,263 new cases for the week ended Sept. 9.
The percentage of those receiving one dose of the COVID vaccine was 69%, while 56% were fully vaccinated.
Charlotte County hospitals were seeing an increase, as 127 more patients were hospitalized primarily for COVID. This represented 23.45% of beds used, up 0.94% from a week ago.
Nearly half — 48.86% — of all ICU beds were occupied by COVID patients. This was a 4.74% increase from a week ago.
The seven-day rolling average for Sarasota County was 99.38 per 100,000 population.
The CDC reported 2,867 new COVID cases in the county.
The percentage of those getting one COVID vaccine was 72.3%, while 60.3% were fully vaccinated.
The county’s rolling average was 165.23 per 100,000 population.
Its positivity rate was at 17.18%.
There were 421 new COVID cases in the county.
The percentage of those getting one vaccine was 47.4%; 35.8% were fully vaccinated.
COVID patients occupied 51.43% of hospital beds, down 3.86%, and ICU COVID patients occupied 85.71% of the beds, down 5.36%.