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The number of COVID-19 inpatients at Sarasota Memorial Hospital has remained high but fairly steady over the last two weeks, according to the hospital system’s spokeswoman.
This plateau comes after hospitalizations climbed significantly throughout June, said Kim Savage, the public information officer for Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
The hospital system, which treats COVID patients at both its Sarasota and Venice facilities, reported having 88 COVID-19 inpatients on Tuesday, compared to 89 a week ago and 79 two weeks ago.
Sarasota Memorial had eight COVID patients in the intensive care unit on Tuesday, compared with seven such patients a week ago and four two weeks ago. Savage noted that ICU admissions are a lagging indicator – they typically trail infection rates and hospitalizations.
She said the current coronavirus wave is “less challenging” than previous peaks.
“Most patients are successfully treated and discharged without developing severe lung disease or other complications that previously required admission to our ICU, thanks to the added immunity many people have received from vaccinations, boosters and previous COVID infections,” Savage said by email.
She noted that Sarasota Memorial’s testing positivity rate also remains fairly stable. It was 15.6% for the week ending this Tuesday and 16.1% for the week ending Tuesday, June 28.
Sarasota, Manatee counties’ case levels remain high
The Florida Department of Health reported 1,362 new COVID cases in Sarasota County for the week ending last Thursday. The number was similar two weeks prior – 1,397.
The weekly case counts have not reached the extremely high numbers they did during last winter’s COVID wave. At the peak of that wave, FDOH reported a weekly case total of 6,089 new cases in Sarasota County.
In Manatee County, 1,189 cases were reported by FDOH for the week ending last Thursday, compared to 1,138 two weeks prior.
However, Sarasota Memorial infectious disease specialist Dr. Manuel Gordillo said last month that the case numbers being published by the CDC or the state of Florida are “huge” underestimates of the true numbers.
SMH is continuing to urge people to take standard precautions to prevent infection and spreading the virus. Those measures include frequent hand washing, getting vaccinated and boosted if you are eligible, social distancing when you are at crowded gatherings and wearing a mask when social distancing isn’t possible.
If you test positive and are at the highest risk of developing severe disease, SMH recommends that you ask your doctor if you qualify for the preventive therapy Evusheld.
Everyone else should know what steps to take if they develop symptoms. Oral antivirals for COVID-19 are available by prescription at many pharmacies. These pills can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death, but you must begin the treatment within five days of your first symptom. To learn more about treatments for COVID-19, visit smh.com/treatcovid.
Anne Snabes covers city and county government for the Herald-Tribune. You can contact her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter at @a_snabes.
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Sarasota Memorial's COVID hospitalizations remain high but steady