SARASOTA — After just two weeks of classes, the number of students out of Sarasota County Schools due to COVID-19 is on the rise.

The number of students that were listed as positive and isolated was 877, according to the school district’s COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday evening. The most were in elementary schools, at 365, with 245 in high schools and 208 in the district’s middle schools. The district reported 89 staff members listed as positive and isolated Tuesday.

North Port had the most students listed as positive and isolated at 131, with Riverview High at 127 and Venice High at 114.

The school district dashboard shows the total students positive since July 1 is 1,887, and the total students contact traced since July 1 is 3,350.

Sarasota County School Board enacted a mandate for all students, staff, visitors and vendors to wear masks while on school property or transportation Aug. 21. It went into effect Aug. 23, but was not enforced until Aug. 30. The rule is set to sunset in 90 days, or if the Sarasota County COVID-19 positivity rate drops below 8%

Sarasota Memorial Hospital reported 272 patients with COVID-19 on Tuesday, with 68 in ICU, 16.9% positivity rate and four deaths since yesterday.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the state increased slightly last week, but only following a slight decrease the previous week. And the testing positivity rate was 16.8%, the lowest since the week starting July 16.

It could be an indication that the current extended surge is leveling off.

Still, there were 151,749 new cases, with 20 of Florida’s 67 counties reporting more than 1,000 new cases per 100,000 population, according to the Aug. 30 Weekly Situation Report.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 census was 272 patients Tuesday, down five from Monday but about one-third of the total patient population.

There were 68 COVID patients in the ICU for the second straight day, and a census of 110 for the second straight day. The hospital’s ICU bed capacity was 114, though officials have said they have contingency plans to add more beds as needed. The hard part, they’ve said, is staffing them.

Staff writers Sue Erwin, Bob Mudge and Chris Porter contributed to this report.


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