New COVID-19 cases in Florida are on track to decline this week for the sixth week in a row.

The state averaged about 2,631 new cases a day Oct. 8-11. That projects to about 18,400 cases for the week, which would be more than 7,300 fewer than last week — a decrease of 29%.

Hospitalizations and ICU occupancy are continuing their downward trend as well.

The Florida Hospital Association reported 3,303 COVID patients hospitalized Tuesday, with the Department of Health and Human Services reporting that the state ICU census for infected patients had dropped below 1,000, to 966.

More than half of the COVID-19 patients at Sarasota Memorial Hospital — 34 out of 58 — are actually virus-free but unable to be discharged due to complications. In its ICU, 19 out of 33 patients are awaiting discharge.

The hospital’s seven-day positivity rate was 2.3% Tuesday, up slightly from the 2.1% rate for the previous period. It reported three deaths Monday and one Tuesday.

Venice Regional Bayfront Health had five COVID patients Tuesday and reported no additional deaths.

The Sarasota County School Board reported five staff and 113 students in isolation Tuesday, and eight staff and 246 students quarantined.


The infection rate for the county was 2.66% as of Monday.

According to the Oct. 8 Weekly Situation Report, the state’s positivity rate last week was 4.8%, the lowest since mid-June. It has gone down for seven consecutive weeks.

The death toll is slowing down as well, with 1,368 people added to the total last week — about 350 fewer than the previous week.

Through Oct. 7, 56,667 state residents had died of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The state reached 72% vaccination among eligible people last week, with the 12-19, 30-39, 50-59 and 60-64 age groups all bumping up a percentage point.

Only four counties out of 67 remain below 40% vaccination, with Holmes County the lowest, at 32% for the third straight week.

Sarasota County’s vaccination rate stayed at 76%. It reported 372 new cases of COVID-19 last week.

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