It's been two years since the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic. In the months since then, local hospitals overflowed with coronavirus patients, health care workers became overwhelmed and exhausted, and masking and social distancing regulations kept us from gathering.
Also since then, 2,958 people have died in Sarasota and Manatee counties due to Covid-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This week alone, 117 Covid-related deaths were recorded in both counties. Seventy-eight new deaths in Sarasota County raised its death toll to 1,705, and 39 new deaths in Manatee County raised its toll to 1,253—roughly one death for every 255 residents in Sarasota and one for every 319 in Manatee.
After the original outbreak, the number of local cases spiked again in November 2021 with the Omicron variant, and peaked during the week of Jan. 6-12, with 5,423 new cases. But numbers have recently been on the decline. Last week, only 284 new cases were reported in Sarasota and Manatee.
According to Sarasota Memorial Hospital's daily Covid-19 updatw, there were 30 Covid patients in the hospital on Friday, March 11, and seven in the intensive care unit. Seventy-five percent of patients were unvaccinated.
Local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are still recommending Covid-19 vaccination as the best way to protect yourself and others from the virus.
To find local testing and vaccination sites, click here.