For those looking for a ray of hope amid the barrage of COVID-19 numbers, here’s one: Polk County’s seven new cases reported today are the lowest increase in two weeks, and they came on the fourth highest day for new reported tests. On the other hand, Polk recorded another death — its 31st — and actually saw more new hospital admissions than new cases.

The Polk resident who died of COVID-19 was an 81-year-old long-term-care resident whose case was first recorded on April 26. Reading between the lines, it appears she was from one of the elder-care facilities that has reported just a case or two; the report indicates it was unknown whether she had been contact with another case.

The Florida Department of Health’s weekly report on deaths at elder-care facilities might make it clear which facility was involved, but the report — due today — has not been posted online yet.

Twenty of the 31 Polk residents who have died of COVID-19 have been residents of elder-care facilities.

Latest numbers

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

  • Polk confirmed cases: 601, an increase of 7
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 240, an increase of 2
  • Polk deaths: 31, an increase of 1
  • Polk hospitalizations: 202, an increase of 8

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 63 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: 9,762, an increase of 349 over the previous day.
  • Positive: 601
  • Negative: 9,157
  • Inconclusive: 3
  • Await results: 6
  • Percent positive: 6.2%

The numbers of people being tested remains small compared with Polk County’s estimated population of 708,000 people. A shortage of test kits means that until recently only people showing severe symptoms and/or high risk were tested.

Long-term care facilities

  • Cases involving Polk facilities: 140, an increase of 1
  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 20, 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 list shows current cases at Highlands Lake Center (7 residents, 54 residents transferred away, 23 staff — the same numbers reported since last Saturday), Consulate Health Care (1 resident, 2 transferred, 1 staff), Grand Villa (1 staff) and Lakeland Hills Center (1 transferred), and Scott Lake Health and Rehabilitation Center (1 staff).

New Polk County data

The Florida Department of Health recently started releasing a new county-by-county series of charts. Here are today’s:

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

ZIP Codes

Cases in Lakeland ZIP codes:

33801: 17, unchanged
33803: 21, unchanged
33805: 40, unchanged
33809: 15, unchanged
33810: 22, unchanged
33811: 5, unchanged
33812: 5, unchanged
33813: 84, unchanged
33815: 9, unchanged

This is the second day in a row that ZIP code data has not changed, even though 13 new cases have been reported in Lakeland during that period. We’ll keep checking for updates.

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, 240
  • Winter Haven, 108
  • Davenport, 63
  • Kissimmee, 39*
  • Bartow, 33
  • Lake Wales, 26
  • Auburndale, 17
  • Haines City, 14
  • Mulberry, 12
  • Fort Meade, 9
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Frostproof, 4
  • Poinciana, 4
  • Dundee, 3
  • Eagle Lake, 2
  • Wahneta, 2
  • Kathleen, 2
  • Babson Park, 2
  • Bradley, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Polk City, 1
  • Lake Hamilton, 1
  • Lakeshore (formerly Fedhaven), 1
  • Waverly, 1

* 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 Friday.

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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