The state of Florida’s weekly report on COVID-19 deaths at long-term-care facilities lists five new deaths in Polk County, and they were all associated with two Lakeland nursing homes. Two of the new cases were from Highlands Lake Center on Lakeland Highlands Road and three were from Consulate Health Care of Lakeland on Socrum Loop Road.

Highlands Lake accounts for 20 of the 25 Polk deaths listed in the report, issued Friday night. It has the third highest number of deaths at long-term-care facilities in Florida, behind centers in Pinellas and Dade with 25 and 22 respectively.

Consulate Health Care went from one death reported last week to four in this week’s update.

The only other elder-care facility in Polk reporting a death was Brandywyne Health Care Center in Winter Haven, which has had one death.

Twenty-seven of Polk County’s 41 COVID-19 deaths involve long-term-care facilities, according to today’s daily update from the Florida Department of Health. So there are two deaths at elder-care facilities that have not yet been publicly linked to a specific location.

Today’s report included one new COVID-19 death in Polk and one new death involving an elder-care facility. It was the fifth day in a row that at least one local death involving an elder-care facility was reported.

The person listed in today’s report as Polk’s latest COVID-19 fatality was a 59-year-old man whose case was first confirmed on Tuesday.

If there was any good news in today’s report, it’s that the number of new confirmed cases — 6 — was the second-lowest number this month.

Latest numbers

This morning’s COVID-19 updates from the Florida Department of Health compared with the previous day:

  • Polk confirmed cases: 722, an increase of 6
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 288, an increase of 2
  • Polk deaths: 41, an increase of 1
  • Polk hospitalizations: 231, an increase of 7

Hospitalizations hit a plateau toward the end of April with just five new cases between April 22 and 28, but the rate of new patients has quickened since then, with 92 new admissions since the end of April.

The numbers of confirmed cases and hospitalizations are cumulative and do not reflect how many people have recovered or have been released from the hospital.

Testing in Polk

  • Total tested: 12,635, an increase of 266 over the previous day.
  • Positive: 722
  • Negative: 11,909
  • Inconclusive: 4
  • Await results: 4
  • Percent positive: 5.7%

The numbers of people being tested remains small compared with Polk County’s estimated population of 724,777 people. A shortage of test kits means that until recently only people showing severe symptoms and/or high risk were tested. (Free testing offered by the Health Department Saturday morning at New Bethel AME Church is the first testing in Lakeland that we’re aware of where a doctor’s order will not be required.)

Long-term care facilities

  • Cases involving Polk facilities: 179, an increase of 32
  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 27, an increase of 1
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 10 | List (This link lasts only until the next day’s list is published.)

In Lakeland, the bulk of cases are from Highlands Lake Center, which today reported positive cases for 91 people: 1 resident, 65 residents who were transferred away and 25 staff.

Today’s increase in elder-care cases countywide can be attributed partially to Winter Haven’s Brandywyne, which went from 38 cases in yesterday’s report to 58 in today’s. It includes 30 residents, 13 residents who were transferred away and 15 staff members.

More Polk County data

The Florida Department of Health is now releasing county-by-county charts. Here are today’s for Polk:

Click the image to view a larger version
Click the image to view a larger version

ZIP Codes

Cases in Lakeland ZIP codes:

33801: 27, unchanged
33803: 26, unchanged
33805: 51, an increase of 2
33809: 21 unchanged
33810: 31, unchanged
33811: 1-4
33812: 11, unchanged
33813: 95, unchanged
33815: 13, unchanged

View an interactive ZIP code map here. To find local ZIP code data, click on the “Cases by Zip Code” tab below the map and then scroll to Polk and click. Learn how ZIP code data is reported.

Cases in Polk cities

  • Lakeland, 288
  • Winter Haven, 123
  • Davenport, 70
  • Lake Wales, 42
  • Kissimmee, 41*
  • Bartow, 39
  • Auburndale, 21
  • Haines City, 16
  • Mulberry, 13
  • Frostproof, 11
  • Fort Meade, 10
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Poinciana, 5
  • Polk City, 4
  • Dundee, 3
  • Eagle Lake, 3
  • Wahneta, 2
  • Kathleen, 2
  • Babson Park, 2
  • Bradley, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Lake Hamilton, 1
  • Waverly, 1
  • Clermont, 1
  • No city named, 5

* While Kissimmee is in Osceola County, the Health Department classifies a portion of east Polk as Kissimmee. It maintains a separate number for the Osceola portion of Kissimmee.

Download the full Florida report released Saturday.

Tracking the cases

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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