A dozen new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Lakeland Thursday as the 33813 ZIP code in the Lakeland Highlands saw a steep rise of at least 11 cases — from a range of five to nine cases reported Wednesday to 20 cases on Thursday.

For ZIP codes with fewer than 10 cases, the Florida Department of Health reports ranges of under 5 or 5 to 9. Exact numbers are given when a ZIP code reaches 10 confirmed cases.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Polk climbed 28 to 234 on Thursday; it was the county’s largest one-day jump. Lakeland’s number rose to 67 cases.

For the second day in a row, a new death was reported in Polk.

Polk County’s seventh death attributed to COVID-19 involved its youngest victim, a 49-year-old woman; she had not traveled recently and was not aware of contact with other COVID-19 cases, similar to the 77-year-old woman whose death was reported a day earlier. The younger woman’s case was first reported on March 30.

Florida Department of Health’s evening report Thursday shows that 3,463 people have been tested in Polk, up 254 from the previous day. In addition to the 234 positive readings:

  • 3,228 were negative
  • 2 were inconclusive
  • 17 await results

The number of positive cases is likely 10 times the official number, Polk County Health Department Director Joy Jackson told city commissioners Thursday. 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 who have hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases in Polk rose to 71 on Thursday, up three from the previous day. State officials note this number is cumulative and does not reflect the number of people currently in hospitals.

There have been seven cases reported at nursing homes or other long-term care facilities in Polk. All have been reported in the last week.

ZIP code data for Lakeland on Thursday:

20 cases:

11 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. Learn how ZIP code data is reported.

Current totals reported for Polk cities are:

  • Lakeland, 67
  • Winter Haven, 50
  • Davenport, 44
  • Kissimmee, 20*
  • Lake Wales, 11
  • Auburndale, 9
  • Haines City, 6
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Mulberry, 5
  • Fort Meade, 4
  • Bartow, 2
  • Frostproof, 2
  • Poinciana, 2
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Dundee, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 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 Thursday.

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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