Polk County saw its biggest one-day increase in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in today’s Florida Department of Health updates, driven by an apparent outbreak at an assisted-living facility in downtown Lakeland.

Grace Manor at Lake Morton, an assisted-living facility on Lime Street specializing in memory care, reported 39 new positive cases between Tuesday and today. The facility went from two cases Tuesday to seven on Wednesday to 16 on Thursday to 41 today. Today’s report involved 33 residents who have been transferred to other facilities and eight staff members.

In today’s reports here, here and here:

  • Polk confirmed cases increased by 38 to 977.
  • Lakeland contributed 22 of those cases, bringing the city’s total to 400. Thursday’s count of 24 for Lakeland was a record.
  • Polk hospitalizations rose to 309, an increase of 34.
  • The 33801 ZIP Code that includes downtown Lakeland and includes Grace Manor has gone from 31 positive cases on Wednesday to 60 in today’s report.

Polk’s 55th COVID-19 death was reported today. It involved an 88-year-old woman who had lived at a long-term-care facility. The 40 deaths at those facilities represents 72.7 percent of all the coronavirus fatalities in Polk County.

Hospitalizations in Polk reached 309 in today’s report. They 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 166 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: 20,193, an increase of 481
  • Positive: 977
  • Negative: 19,210
  • Inconclusive: 4
  • Await results: 8
  • Percent positive: 4.8%

The numbers of people tested is 2.79% of Polk County’s estimated population of 724,777 people.

Long-term care facilities

  • Cases involving Polk facilities: 271, an increase of 28 over the previous day.
  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 40, an increase of 1
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 12. Here’s a link, but note that this link lasts only until the next day’s report is issued.

In Lakeland, the bulk of cases are from Highlands Lake Center, which for the last few days has reported positive cases for 91 people: 66 residents who were transferred away and 25 staff.

A report due later tonight will give an update on the numbers of deaths associated with individual long-term-care facilities in Florida.

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: 60, an increase of 19
33803: 32, an increase of 1
33805: 67, unchanged
33809: 41, unchanged
33810: 46, unchanged
33811: 9, unchanged
33812: 14, unchanged
33813: 107, a increase of 1
33815: 15, an increase of 1

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, 400
  • Winter Haven, 174
  • Davenport, 88
  • Lake Wales, 54
  • Kissimmee, 48*
  • Bartow, 48
  • Auburndale, 34
  • Mulberry, 24
  • Haines City, 22
  • Frostproof, 12
  • Fort Meade, 11
  • Poinciana, 6
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Eagle Lake, 4
  • Polk City, 4
  • Dundee, 4
  • Wahneta, 2
  • Kathleen, 2
  • Babson Park, 2
  • Bradley, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Lake Hamilton, 1
  • Waverly, 1
  • Lakeshore (formerly Fedhaven), 1
  • Clermont, 1*
  • No city named, 15

* 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. A similar situation exists for Clermont, which is in Lake County.

Download the full Florida report released Thursday.

Tracking the cases


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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com 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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