In the past 11 days, the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital has more than tripled, and the number of positive ICU patients has increased more than fourfold.
Amid an ongoing spike in COVID-19 cases, Sarasota Memorial Hospital will activate a no-visitor policy beginning Monday, Aug. 2.
The hospital announced the policy in a release today, calling the decision a step to protect patients and staff from exposure to COVID-19 as the transmission of the disease increases in the region.
“We know how important visitor support is to our patients, but these new restrictions are for everyone’s protection,” said James Fiorica, the hospital’s chief medical officer.
Earlier this month, the hospital reported a surge of coronavirus cases largely concentrated among unvaccinated individuals. Since then, case numbers at the hospital have climbed further: There are 115 positive patients in the hospital, 29 of whom are in intensive care. That’s an increase of 219.4% and 314.3% respectively since July 19.
The Florida Department of Health announced 1,412 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Sarasota County this week at a positive test rate of 13.3%, an increase from 899 new cases and a 11.9% positivity rate last week. For the week ending July 1, the state reported 141 new cases at a positivity rate of 3.5% in Sarasota.
There will be limited exceptions to Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s prohibition on guests. The hospital said those exceptions will be limited to “extraordinary circumstances,” including end-of-life care and support persons for individuals undergoing surgery or patients in the Mother-Baby, Labor & Delivery, Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Units.
The hospital will provide support for patients teleconferencing with friends and family, the release said.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital had lifted its previous COVID-19 visitor restrictions in May, a move prompted by falling case numbers and rising vaccination rates.
More information on Sarasota Memorial’s coronavirus response is available on the hospital website.
Join the Neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering news and information that is relevant to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining the Observer's new membership program — The Newsies — a group of like-minded community citizens, like you. Be a Newsie.