Polk County recorded its fifth COVID-19 death Monday as the number of confirmed cases in the county rose to 180, three of them at nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. The count includes 48 people in Lakeland, up sharply from Sunday’s 34 cases.

The latest death in Polk County involves a 66-year-old woman who had recently traveled in Georgia and Florida and had contacts with other COVID-19 cases, according to the Florida Department of Health. Her case was first recorded last Thursday.

In reaching 48 cases, Lakeland now has the highest number in the county, passing Winter Haven (43) and Davenport (40). All ZIP codes in Lakeland except three have at least five cases. Only one ZIP code has no confirmed cases.

Three cases of COVID-19 have been identified in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities in Polk County, according to the Florida Department of Health. The department says it does not release the names of facilities involved to protect patient identities; Highlands Lake Center in Lakeland confirmed to The Ledger it has one resident who tested positive.

Florida Department of Health’s evening report Monday shows that 2,643 people have been tested in Polk. In addition to the 180 positive readings:

  • 2,445 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.

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 61 on Monday after three days being relatively stable at 52 to 53.

Three Lakeland ZIP codes rose from the category of 1-4 cases to the 5-9 category: 33801 and 33803 in the central part of the city and 33805 in north Lakeland. The Department of Health uses these groupings if a Zip code contains fewer than 10 cases. For 10 and higher, exact numbers are used.

ZIP code data for Lakeland on Sunday:

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, 48
  • Winter Haven, 43
  • Davenport, 40
  • Kissimmee, 17*
  • Lake Wales, 8
  • Auburndale, 5
  • Haines City, 4
  • Mulberry, 3
  • Bartow, 2
  • Fort Meade, 2
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Frostproof, 1
  • Lake Alfred, 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 Monday.

Tracking the cases: Polk and Florida

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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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