COVID-19 Death Toll Reaches New Highs in Florida, Polk

In another grim, milestone, the number of deaths from COVID-19 hit one-day highs today in Florida, where 133 statewide deaths were reported, and in Polk County, where there were 10 new fatalities.

The 10 who died in Polk included six women and four men ranging in age from 33 to 90. Three were under 60. Four had lived in elder-care facilities.

The women were ages 57, 69, 74, 83, 85 and 86. The men were ages 33, 47, 77 and 90.

These updates came from the state Department of Health on a day when Florida reported 9,194 infections and Polk reported 251 new cases.

Polk County added 11 new hospitalizations, a typical number for the past week.

At Lakeland Regional Health, 144 patients are reported under care for COVID-19 today, an increase of 11 from Monday’s number. Twenty-three of those are in intensive care, boosting ICU usage to 78 beds, which is more than the 68 standard ICU capacity, but well under the 118 “flex” capacity.

In all, there have been 601 people hospitalized in Polk with COVID-19 since March, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The rate of tests that come back positive continues to rise. The DOH COVID-19 dashboard tracks overall positive rates for each county — the proportion of tests showing positive results since testing began in March. Today’s “percent positive” reading for Polk increased to 12%, eight days after Polk crossed from the green-lettered “Within Target Range” of under 10% to the red-lettered “Above Target Range.”

Polk’s positivity rate was at 4.5% just over three weeks ago. The statewide positivity rate was reported at 10.8% today, a new high for the state.

Coronavirus cases started to spike in Polk County on June 19, and each of the last 20 days have seen readings of more than 150 new cases.

Lakeland is currently in the thirteenth day of a 30-day mandate to wear masks or other face coverings in indoor spaces within Lakeland city limits (other than residences) where people aren’t able to maintain 6-foot distance. City commissioners voted 5-2 to require masks after Polk County Health Department Director Joy Jackson told them that local hospitals are seeing rising numbers of COVID-19 patients as the disease spreads in the community.

The median age of people testing positive in Polk has reduced from the mid-50s to 39 in recent weeks as more people in their 20s through 50s have started testing positive for the disease.

Latest numbers

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

  • Polk confirmed cases: 7,881 an increase of 251
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 2,427, an increase of 80
  • Polk deaths: 151, an increase of 10
  • Polk hospitalizations: 601, an increase of 11

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 tests: 65,923, an increase of 1,244
  • Positive: 7,881
  • Negative: 56,992
  • Inconclusive: 1
  • Await results: 24
  • Overall percent positive: 12%, an increase of 0.2%

Long-term care facilities

  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 86, in increase of 4
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: There was no report today. On Monday, there were 41, the same as listed in Saturday’s report. Here’s a link to the most recent report.

Lakeland facilities with high numbers:

  • Highlands Lake Center reports 83 cases: 82 residents who were transferred away and 1 staff.
  • Lakeland Hills Center reports 71 cases: 31 residents, 38 who transferred away and 2 staff members.
  • Consulate Health Care of Lakeland reports 12 cases, all residents who have been transferred elsewhere.
  • Hawthorne in of Lakeland, 6150 Lakeland Highlands Road, joins the list today with 12 cases: 5 residents, 5 who were transferred away and 2 staff members. Saturday’s report listed three residents.
  • Grace Manor at Lake Morton reports 9 cases, all residents who were transferred away

A majority of COVID-19 deaths in Polk County have involved people who have lived in long-term-care facilities, though the proportion has come down from more than 75% a few weeks ago to 58.2% today:

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 and City Data

These will return later this week.

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