COVID-19 in Polk: Friday Evening

Polk’s third confirmed COVID-19 death was reported Friday, as the number of verified cases in the county rose to 126, up 23 from the previous day. Twenty-seven of those cases were in Lakeland, up five from Thursday.

The Polk death involved a 63-year-old man whose case was first recorded on Thursday, according to the Florida Department of Health. It was not known whether he had been in contact with other COVID-19 cases, the Health Department said.

In addition, Polk’s medical examiner said a death certificate indicated an 84-year-old retired cardiologist from Lakeland with a history of Parkinson’s disease and other medical conditions died from the disease, The Ledger reported. He had been admitted to Lakeland Regional Health with a temperature of 100.94.

The Ledger article explained that the first two deaths attributed to Polk County by the Health Department were people who lived in Polk but died in Orange and Osceola Counties, where they presumably sought treatment.

Florida Department of Health records show that 1,888 people have been tested in Polk. In addition to the 126 positive readings:

  • 1,739 were negative
  • 2 were inconclusive
  • 21 await results

The number of positive cases is likely 10 times the official number, Polk County Health Department Director Joy Jackson told county commissioners Friday. 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.

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 was reported at 52 Thurdsay evening.

Reported cases in Lakeland grew by five to 27.

Current totals reported for Polk cities are:

  • Davenport, 34
  • Winter Haven, 28
  • Lakeland, 27
  • Kissimmee, 15
  • Lake Wales 6
  • Auburndale, 3
  • Haines City, 3
  • Mulberry, 3
  • Bartow, 2
  • Fort Meade, 2
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Frostproof, 1

In addition, state reports list one death to “Missing, Polk.”

Tracking the cases: Polk and Florida