polk covid level rated high

Polk County’s latest uptick in COVID-19 cases has peaked. The number of new cases has shown a downward trend over the last four weeks after increasing steadily over a four-month period, according to weekly tallies reported by the Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the week ending last Thursday, 2,041 new infections were reported in Polk, down from the most recent peak of 3,084 for the week of July 15-21.

That weekly peak is comparable to the top of the January 2021 spike (3,579) but well below the large spike last summer that peaked exactly a year ago (7,510) or this past winter’s all-time high of 14,852 new cases.

The rate of tests that come back positive continues to hover over 20%, as it has since the end of June. The positivity rate had been below 5% — the level said to indicate minimal community spread — from Feb. 25 to April 22 of this year.

The CDC currently rates Polk County’s Community Level as high, along with around two-thirds of Florida’s 67 counties. Of the counties touching Polk, six are rated high — Pasco, Hillsborough, Manatee, Hardee, Highlands and Osceola — and three are rated medium — Sumter, Lake and Orange.

Testing reported by health authorities does not include the results of home tests.

The number of hospital beds used by Polk County COVID-19 patients shows a decline mirroring the number of overall infections, according to the CDC.

View the CDC’s latest report for Polk County

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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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