Coronavirus

Florida’s COVID-19 numbers continued their decline last week, though one of them could be a cause for concern.

There were nearly 30,000 fewer new COVID-19 cases last week than in the previous week and the testing positivity rate went down by 1.9 percentage points, to 13.5%, the lowest since early July.

But there was also a large decline in the number of people getting vaccinated, which is subject to some adjustment. About 170,000 fewer people got vaccinated last week compared to each of the three previous weeks.

The vaccination rate among eligible Floridians remained at 69% for the second week in a row.

One important number increased a lot.

The state’s cumulative death toll went up by 2,448 people, the second straight week more than 2,300 deaths were added.

Changes in mortality numbers typically lag behind changes in case numbers by two or three weeks.

Since the beginning of the pandemic through Sept. 9, 48,772 Florida residents had died of COVID-19.

For the most part, the numbers are still declining this week, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing the state reporting just 6,995 new cases for Sunday, the fewest in two months.


That followed a report of 16,759 cases on Saturday, however.

Hospitalizations are steadily going down as well, dropping below 11,000 Tuesday. ICU occupancy was 2,700 patients, with 228 hospitals reporting in both categories.

Locally, Sarasota Memorial Hospital had 207 COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, of whom 55 were clear of the virus but not yet able to be discharged.

ICU COVID occupancy was 66 patients, with 21 unable to be discharged.

The hospital’s seven-day positivity rate was 10.1%, compared to 13.1% for the prior period. But it reported eight deaths on both Monday and Tuesday.

Venice Regional Bayfront Health had 33 COVID-19 patients Tuesday, with one death since Friday.

The Sarasota County School District reported 29 staff and 602 students in isolation and six students and 421 students quarantined on Tuesday.

The county’s positivity rate was 9.81% on Monday. If the rate drops below 8% for three straight days, then the district’s mask mandate is suspended.

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