The news breaks with a depressing sameness. For each of the last eight days, at least one COVID-19 death was reported in Polk County. The twelve people (eight women, four men) ranged in age from 36 to 92, with all but two age 70 or older.

Like seven others out of the dozen victims, the two reported today had lived in long-term-care facilities. They were women ages 84 and 89 who had each spent several weeks with COVID-19.

That’s one view of the COVID-19 story locally. Another view is that the rate of testing keeps rising and the proportion of positive cases keeps dropping.

While today’s update from the Florida Department of Health reflects 20 more confirmed cases of the disease in Polk County, there were 686 new tests — by far the largest number reported in a single day.

The proportion of all tests that come back positive continues to fall. Today it was reported at 5.3%, compared with 6.3% just 12 days ago.

More COVID News

  • If you’ve been following the data coming from the Florida Department of Health, here’s a story that bears following. The young data scientist who created the state’s COVID-19 dashboard said she was fired because she wouldn’t “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen,” Gannett’s Florida Today reports. The story is being picked up by national media.
  • Lakeland Electric said today one of its linemen tested positive for COVID-19. He is at home and doing well, and 11 employees who worked close to him are self-quarantined and will be tested, the utility said | Ledger coverage

Latest numbers

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

  • Polk confirmed cases: 766, an increase of 20
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 305, an increase of 9
  • Polk deaths: 45, an increase of 2
  • Polk hospitalizations: 237, unchanged

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 94 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: 14,388, an increase of 686 over the previous day.
  • Positive: 766
  • Negative: 13,616
  • Inconclusive: 4
  • Await results: 5
  • Percent positive: 5.4%

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.

Long-term care facilities

  • Cases involving Polk facilities: 185
  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 30, an increase of two
  • 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 94 people: 2 residents, 67 residents who were transferred away and 25 staff.

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: 52, an increase of 1
33809: 30, an increase of 5
33810: 33, an increase of 2
33811: 5, an increase of at least 1
33812: 11, unchanged
33813: 99, 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, 305
  • Winter Haven, 133
  • Davenport, 72
  • Lake Wales, 45
  • Kissimmee, 41*
  • Bartow, 41
  • Auburndale, 23
  • Haines City, 17
  • Mulberry, 14
  • Frostproof, 12
  • Fort Meade, 11
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Poinciana, 5
  • Eagle Lake, 4
  • Polk City, 4
  • Dundee, 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
  • Lakeshore (formerly Fedhaven), 1
  • Clermont, 1*
  • No city named, 6

* 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 Tuesday.

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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