Decrease in coronavirus deaths

The fourth week of July, as compared to the fourth week of August, shows a 75% decrease in the average number of COVID-19 related deaths, Florida Department of Health data shows. 

SARASOTA — An amalgam of 35 forecast models predicts a COVID-19 death toll of between 200,000 and 211,000 people nationwide by Sept. 26, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The disease had claimed 186,984 lives in the country as of Friday, according to the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

The worldwide death toll was 870,477.

With about 4% of the world’s population, the U.S. has had 23% of COVID-19 cases and 21% of COVID-19-related deaths.

The “ensemble forecast” is that new deaths will decline to 3,300 to 7,500 during the week ending Sept. 26.

A total of 25 of the models assume that current COVID-19 precautions will continue for the next four weeks while the other 10, including the one by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, factor in changes.

And 23 of the models also made a forecast for Florida. The ensemble predicts about 500 new deaths a week by Sept. 26, in a range from about 200 deaths to more than 1,000.

Total deaths are predicted to exceed 13,000 in a range from 12,000 to more than 15,000.

As of Friday morning, the state had reported 11,750 deaths, including 793 in the last seven days.

Florida has had about 10% of the COVID-19 cases in the country and about 6% of the deaths. The state has about 6.5% of the country’s population.

Sarasota County reported 33 new cases Friday morning and four additional deaths. The test positivity rate was 2%, the ninth day in the last two weeks it’s been under 3%.

The seven-day rate was 2% at Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH), which had 26 COVID-19 patients hospitalized Friday, four of them in the ICU.

SMH spokesperson Kim Savage said the hospital is watching the downward trend in COVID-19 numbers with an eye toward easing visitation restrictions but isn’t ready to do so yet.

“We know how difficult visitor restrictions are, and appreciate everyone’s understanding as we keep the limits in place for the time being to maintain the safety of hospital patients, staff and visitors,” she said.

The policies and procedures needed to reopen Sarasota Memorial Nursing & Rehabilitation Center on Clark Road are being developed, she said, with scheduling for appointments for visitation expected to begin next week. Call 941-917-4950.

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota announced revisions to its visitor policy effective Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Inpatient visiting hours will be 8 a.m.-noon seven days a week, with one visitor per patient except for COVID-19 units, where no visitors will be allowed.

Exceptions may be made for end-of-life situations but must be approved by the administrator on call.

Patients in the emergency room or who are undergoing a procedure can also have one visitor.

Visitors must be 18, with an exception for the parent of a hospitalized child

Prior to entering the hospital everyone must undergo screening, then practice hand sanitization.

Sanitization is also required upon entering and exiting a patient’s room. Masks are to be worn at all times.

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