The state’s COVID-19 numbers continued to fall last week, with the number of new cases sinking to their lowest level in three months.

There were 37,772 new cases for the period from Sept. 24 to 30, down from a peak of more than 151,000 for the week beginning Aug. 20, according to the Weekly Situation Report.

The positivity rate dropped to 6.5% from a high of 20.5% six weeks earlier.

New cases have gone down for five consecutive weeks, and the positivity rate for six.

There was also a downturn in the number of deaths, with 1,719 added after four straight weeks of 2,300 or more. The death toll stood at 55,299 through Sept. 30.

Also declining for the fifth consecutive week was the number of vaccination doses administered. The vaccination rate among eligible recipients remained at 71% for the second week in a row.

The rate among Florida counties ranges from a high of 91% in Dade County to a low of 32% in Holmes County, one of four out of 67 that has yet to crack 40%.

All four had a positivity rate of 10% or higher last week. So did 19 other counties, with a high of 16.7% in Okeechobee County. Dade County had the lowest rate, at 3.7%.

Sarasota County reported 567 new COVID-19 cases last week, with a 5.5% positivity rate. The vaccination rate rose 1 percentage point, to 76%.

This week

Sarasota Memorial Hospital reported 76 COVID-19 patients Tuesday, of whom 37 are no longer infected but are waiting to be able to be discharged.

The ICU census was 38, with 21 patients not yet ready for discharge.

The hospital’s seven-day positivity rate was 2.7%, down from 4.5% for the previous period. There were two deaths.

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

Statewide, 4,588 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 Tuesday with 232 hospitals reporting, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s about half as many as three weeks ago but still more than twice as many as this time last year, when there were no vaccines.

ICU occupancy was 1,223.

The Sarasota County School District reported six staff and 130 students in isolation and seven staff and 241 students in quarantine Tuesday.


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