County numbers decline amid warning: ‘Pandemic is not over’

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Jake Saur, Manatee County public safety director, presents an update on the new coronavirus June 2, during a teleconferenced county commission meeting at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto. Islander Courtesy Photo

The number of daily positive cases is decreasing, but the coronavirus is not gone.

For several weeks, Manatee County has held 10th place among 67 counties for positive cases of the new virus.

As of June 5, the county had tested 21,300 people — about 5.3% of the population of 402,253 people.

At a June 2 teleconferenced county commission meeting, public safety director Jake Saur gave a report on COVID-19 in the county.

He said about 40%-45% of new cases were either residents or staff of long-term care facilities.

The Florida Department of Health-Manatee County was working on an action plan with the residential facilities, including testing for all residents and staff, guidance from infection control practitioners and a prohibition on new residents, according to Saur.

Saur said the state recently had an uptick in positive cases, while Manatee County’s positive case count trended downward.

June 1 was the first day since early March that the percentage of positive cases in those tested mirrored the state’s rate at 5.5%.

The county’s positive rate dropped 9% since testing increased in May.

The percentage of positive numbers lessened, but cases still were being confirmed daily in Manatee County as of June 5.

As of June 5, there were:

  • 105 fatalities in Manatee County attributed to COVID-19;
  • 220 people were hospitalized;
  • More than 605 people had tested positive and recovered.

Residents and staff of long-term care facilities accounted for 63 deaths, totaling 60% of fatalities in Manatee County related to COVID-19.

As of June 5, 139 residents and 37 staff members tested positive, totaling 176 positive cases in LTCFs — 15% of 1,162 Manatee County cases.

While new positive cases were reported daily in the county, the percentage of new positive cases in LTCFs decreased by 5% from the week prior.

Saur said the county’s goal was to test another 2% of the population by early July.

He said the DOH reported it planned to initiate mobile testing operations at mobile home parks. Meanwhile, testing continued at six Manatee Rural Health locations and a state-sponsored regional testing site at the Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota.

“The pandemic is not over,” Saur said. “While we may be heading in the right direction with our efforts to reduce or stop the spread of COVID-19, and while we may see businesses and extra-curricular activities resume, COVID-19 is still very present in our community.”