More than 1 in 10 Southwest Florida residents have now tested positive for COVID-19 at some point
Red wooden block with Covid19 sign close-up background. Coronavirus covid 19 stop concept.

Red wooden block with Covid19 sign close-up background
More than 34,000 tested positive in the region this week.

More than one in 10 resident of Southwest Florida have tested positive for COVID-19 at some point over the course of the pandemic. That’s according to the latest weekly data dump from the Florida Department of Health, which shows more than 34,000 individuals tested positive in the last week.

That means about 16% of those in the region tested positive at any point in the last 17 months did so last week.

The bright news may be that more than 143,000 more individuals have now received at least a single dose of the vaccine. That means more than 56% of all those living in the 10-county area have been at least partially inoculated. That’s a better percentage than the 55% vaccination rate among the population statewide.

But the increase in cases arrive as more area hospitals report record amounts of hospitalizations.

Lee Health officials reported it admitted 58 new COVID-19 patients on Thursday, bringing the system’s total number of patients in the hospital with the coronavirus to 349.

At Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, 170 patients are currently admitted, with 70 of those in the intensive care unit . The hospitals in the system say 89% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

And at NCH in Naples, 152 patients are hospitalized who have tested positive for the virus, 36% of whom are in the ICU and 18 on ventilators. About 83% of their COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.

Both of the major hospital groups this week suspended all elective surgeries requiring overnight stays.

Every county in Southwest Florida now has seen at least 1,000 individuals test positive for COVID-19. The smallest county, Glades, passed that milestone with 68 new cases this week. Nearly 21% of all individuals tested for COVID-19 in the county were positive for the virus this week, more than twice the 10% threshold at which epidemiologists consider the spread of a virus out of control.

But the worst positivity rate was in Hardee County, where more than 30% of tests came back positive for the virus. Hardee also has the highest percentage of the population who has been infected, greater than 14%, and it has the lowest percentage of residents vaccinated, less than 33%.

The region’s more populated coastal counties all have much greater percentages of the population who have had at least their first shot of one of three available vaccines. In Sarasota, more than 64% of the population has been vaccinated, Charlotte sits close to 63% and Collier is at nearly 61%. Lee, the most populated county in the region, is at around 54% vaccinated and Manatee is at 53%.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • From the Gulf of Florida

    August 8, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    It would be helpful to know what tests are being used for these statistics, I think that after this long with the release of Covid, these numbers are probably very low for Florida. In my community many of us were naturally inoculated when this virus was first known, by getting Covid. It’s a serious virus for sure like many others we as Americans have survived. I can say that getting Covid the second time was like a cold, nothing at all. I’ve had the flu too, also very serious, and was vaccinated. I survived.
    Remember when getting the chicken pox was better from someone infected than the vaccine?

  • PeterH

    August 9, 2021 at 11:59 am

    Good reporting. If you’ve had the virus in the past ….. it’s important to get vaccinated to help fortify your immunity. The vaccine may help you from getting Covid again.

    Furthermore, A virus can not mutate if the virus can not find an unvaccinated host to infect!

    If you’re unvaccinated….. COVID is looking for you!

Comments are closed.


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