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The weekly number of new coronavirus infections is at the highest level in two months in both Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Each county had 386 new infections last week, the most since mid-August.

Manatee County had 105 new infections on Oct. 10 and 120 on Oct. 16. Before that, the last time the county had 100 new infections in a single day was in August.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 also is up in both counties.

Sarasota County had 42 COVID-19 patients in the hospital Sunday, the most since early September. Manatee had 27 COVID-19 patients Sunday, up from just 10 on September 10.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital is treating the bulk of the COVID-19 patients in the region. The hospital had 32 patients hospitalized with the disease Friday, compared with just 18 on September 29.

It is unclear if the increases are just blips, or part of a new upward trend. Each county is still well below the new infection and hospitalization numbers seen during the pandemic’s peak locally in July. And the number of tests coming back positive in each county continues to be below 5% on most days, although the positivity rate inched above that level twice last week in Manatee and once in Sarasota.

During the week of July 19 to 25 there were 872 new virus cases in Sarasota and 1,265 in Manatee. Sarasota had 145 COVID-19 patients in the hospital on July 28 and Manatee had 123.

Last week’s new case total was the most in Sarasota County since the week of August 9 to 15, when there were 478. In Manatee County, last week’s total was the most since August 16 to 22, when there were 388 cases.

The weekly number of new cases has risen for three weeks in a row in Manatee, and for two weeks in Sarasota.

According to figures released Monday by the state Department of Health, more than 16,000 Florida residents have died of COVID-19. Florida reported 54 resident deaths Monday, bringing the total to 16,021. The state also reported 1,707 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 756,727. The most resident deaths have occurred in Southeast Florida, where Miami-Dade County has had 3,547, Broward County has had 1,515, and Palm Beach County has had 1,497, the Department of Health numbers show. The next-highest numbers are in Pinellas County, with 801 resident deaths, and Hillsborough County, with 751. Also hard-hit have been nursing homes and assisted living facilities. As of Monday, the state reported 6,496 deaths involving long-term care residents and staff members. 

The report includes material from the News Service of Florida.

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