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Siesta Key among beaches now given all-clear from no-swim advisories

Bird Key/Ringling Causeway is among three sites still testing beyond safe limits for enterococcus bacteria, the Florida Department of Health said.


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  • | 4:20 p.m. July 29, 2022
  • Sarasota
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No-swim advisories were posted Thursday for seven Sarasota County beaches after the discovery of enterococcus bacteria in levels higher than considered acceptable, the Florida Department of Health said.

The no-swim advisories were posted for:

  • Siesta Key Beach
  • Bird Key Park and the Ringling Causeway
  • Service Club Beach in Venice
  • Venice Fishing Pier
  • Brohard Beach
  • Casperson Beach
  • Manasota Key

The Florida Health Department said the beaches remain open, though wading, swimming or other water recreation is not recommended until water testing confirms levels have returned to acceptable concentrations.

No sewage spills have been reported. Enterococcus bacteria can additionally come from a variety of natural and human-made sources. These include pet waste, livestock, birds, land-dwelling and marine wildlife, and stormwater runoff.

Water testing was performed Thursday, with new results expected by Friday afternoon.

DOH-Sarasota Environmental Administrator Tom Higginbotham said in a statement that the Florida Healthy Beaches program protects beachgoers when conditions are unsuitable for swimming. This is done by testing beach water weekly and providing up-to-date explanations of the results. 

“When these bacteria are found at high levels in recreational waters, there is a risk that some people may become ill," he said. "People, especially those who are very young, elderly or who have a weak immune system that swallow water while swimming can get stomach or intestinal illnesses. If water contacts a cut or sore, people can get infections or rashes."

Shellfish, such as crabs and shrimp, collected in the immediate area of any beach with a no-swim advisory in place should not be eaten. Finfish caught live and healthy can be eaten if filleted.