Sarasota County

The Sarasota School Board on Tuesday took steps to advance its mask policy until the end of the school year to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

During a midday workshop, board members heard from Sarasota Memorial Hospital infectious disease doctor Manuel Gordillo, who said talk about masks lowering oxygen intake “is just simply a myth, and it should not be in this conversation.”

He also lamented the push — by some members of the community — to end mask-wearing, when the virus is still spreading and there is no vaccine against it.

In its last meeting before schools reopen on August 31, the Sarasota County School Board adopted a stricter mask policy, and heard from local health department officials Tuesday that cases of coronavirus in the area are trending downward.

Children who attend school in Sarasota County will have to wear either a mask or clear face shield, except in a handful of circumstances, the school board decided by a unanimous 5-0 vote on Tuesday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends mask-wearing in public because it may slow the spread of coronavirus, especially when six feet of distance cannot be maintained. However, it does not recommend face shields as a substitute for masks.

The Sarasota County School Board on Tuesday will offer details on the school district’s reopening plan. They will also finalize the district’s mask policy, determining what constitutes a mask and what exceptions will be made.

Sarasota County has opened a drive-thru Covid-19 testing site but like others locations across the region, resources are very limited.

Department of Children and Family Services Assistant Secretary for Economic Self-Sufficiency Taylor Hatch and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Colonel Kurt A. Hoffman announce an ongoing investigation looking into a statewide DCF data breach.
COURTESY SARASOTA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE.

By Daylina Miller

Thousands of Floridians – including children - who receive public assistance benefits like food stamps and Medicaid had their personal information stolen by a Department of Children and Families employee. 

The Sarasota County Commission has rejected a preemptive ban on recreational marijuana because of an error found in the ordinance.

Paramedics in Sarasota County are turning away from opioids to treat patients in pain.

Instead, they will primarily use nitrous oxide also known as laughing gas.

The worst of the red tide in Sarasota County may have passed. That's the word from county officials, who say fewer dead fish washed ashore Thursday.

Sea turtle deaths continue to increase as red tide lingers off Florida's southwestern coast. While the numbers remain steady in Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties, Sarasota is experiencing a spike in cases. 

iStock

Florida’s top health-care regulator gave final approval last week to a pair of new hospitals for southern Sarasota County. 

Wikimedia Commons

Wildlife officials want to know who ran over eight sea turtle nests on a South Siesta Key beach.

A red tide algae bloom is persisting along Sarasota County beaches. Background concentrations of the toxic organism Karenia brevis are typical in Gulf waters, but very low to medium concentrations have been recorded across parts of Florida's west coast. 

Just in time for hurricane season, Sarasota County is introducing a plan to help transport people who can’t drive to evacuation centers.

A scrap recycling center won't be built next to popular Sarasota bird sanctuary after all.

After a public hearing that took nearly eight hours, Sarasota commissioners voted three to two late Wednesday to reject an industrial recycling plant next to Celery Fields.

Sarasota County Asks Justices To Reconsider Indigent Care Ruling

Jul 19, 2017
Florida Supreme Court
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Sarasota County on Tuesday asked the Florida Supreme Court to reconsider a ruling in favor of private hospitals in a long-running dispute about payments for care of indigent patients.

Florida Supreme Court
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Sarasota County could be on the hook for $300 million in medical bills for care that private hospitals gave to poor patients after a state Supreme Court ruling Thursday.

Justices Will Hear Hospital Funding Dispute

Jul 6, 2016
Florida Supreme Court
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The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments Oct. 5 in a long-running dispute about a 2003 state law that directed Sarasota County to reimburse private hospitals for indigent care, according to an online docket.

Sarasota Doctors Hospital, Inc., Englewood Community Hospital Inc., and the former Venice Regional Medical Center took the issue to the Supreme Court after the 2nd District Court of Appeal last year ruled that part of the 2003 law was unconstitutional.

WMFE

The Florida Department of Health wants Sarasota County to privatize its prenatal care in the next three years. And that has its southern neighbors worried – after all, when Charlotte County privatized health care, residents started leaving the county for care.

Sujatha Guduru of Oviedo had a 20-year history of mental illness. She had required hospitalization in a psychiatric ward three times, was seeing a mental-health counselor and taking psychotropic drugs. Yet Guduru was still able to walk into a local gun shop and buy a revolver.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Sarasota County has a higher percentage of people over 65 than any other large county in the nation. And some business leaders now say that all those seniors -- rather than a demographic drawback -- could be a valuable asset. 

They could actually help diversify the economy - even turn the county into what they're calling a "mecca" for those who want to learn what an aging population looks like.