State lists account for seven cases connected to Longboat Key, local "heat map" adds five more.
Five additional cases of COVID-19 connected to Longboat Key on a map depicting local positive tests comes down to differences in methodology between state data and data used by Sarasota County to produce the ZIP code-based graphic, not a sudden jump in illnesses reported.
Updated reports from the Florida Department of Health have continued to list seven positive tests in Longboat Key. The state also indicates Longboat Key has “5 to 9” positive tests via ZIP code data for 34228, which encompasses both the Manatee and Sarasota county portions of the island.
But the “heat map,’’ produced by Sarasota County as a planning tool to chart the density of positive tests, lists 12 connected to Longboat Key.
The difference is because of how positive tests are connected to locations.
According to a statement from G. Steve Huard, a public information officer with the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, the locally produced map accounts for not only residents but also non-residents who were taken ill while in the area.
“The way the state reports data is by ZIP code of residence,’’ Huard said. “The local map incorporates data based on physical address at the time of illness so that we can better understand disease transmission and prevalence in our community. It was designed as a planning tool for our community. Examples of differences include removing cases that have a Sarasota ZIP code if they were physically not here when they acquired the illness and adding cases that are listed as non-residents if they were physically here when they acquired the illness.”