Maybe it’s just a one-day deceleration, but the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Polk and Lakeland grew at a slower rate on Wednesday. The countywide number is up seven to 206, and Lakeland’s number is up two to 55. The number of people hospitalized in Polk also rose just one person on Wednesday to 68. To illustrate the rate of growth, here’s one of the charts we update daily:

Polk County recorded its sixth death attributed to COVID-19 on Wednesday. It involved a 77-year-old woman who had not traveled recently and was not aware of contact with other COVID-19 cases. Her case was first reported on March 20.

Florida Department of Health’s evening report Wednesday shows that 3,209 people have been tested in Polk, up 566 in just two days. In addition to the 206 positive readings:

  • 2,986 were negative
  • 2 were inconclusive
  • 16 await results

The number of positive cases is likely 10 times the official number, Polk County Health Department Director Joy Jackson said recently. Those who test positive now probably contracted the disease two to three weeks ago, given the time it takes for symptoms to show and test results to be processed.

Jackson is scheduled to update city commissioners on local COVID-19 efforts at 3 p.m. today. Watch it live:
* Spectrum channel 643
* FIOS channel 43

In addition, the numbers of people being tested remains tiny compared with Polk County’s estimated population of 708,000 people. A shortage of test kits means only people who meet CDC criteria are being tested.

The number of people hospitalized in Polk rose to 68 on Tuesday, up just one from the previous day. There have been five cases reported at nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.

ZIP code data for Lakeland on Wednesday:

10 cases:

5 to 9 cases: 

1 to 4 cases:

No cases:

View an interactive ZIP Code map here or at the end of this article. To find local ZIP code data, click on the “Cases by Zip Code” tab below the map and then scroll to Polk and click.

Current totals reported for Polk cities are:

  • Lakeland, 55
  • Winter Haven, 46
  • Davenport, 41
  • Kissimmee, 18*
  • Lake Wales, 10
  • Auburndale, 7
  • Haines City, 5
  • Mulberry, 5
  • Fort Meade, 4
  • Lake Alfred, 4
  • Bartow, 2
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Dundee, 1
  • Frostproof, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Poinciana, 1
  • Polk City, 1
  • No city named, 2

* 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 a full report for Wednesday.

Tracking the cases: Polk and Florida

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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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