The rate of new COVID-19 cases in Polk County declined steeply this week for a third week in a row, according to the latest update from the Florida Department of Health. For the first time in nearly two months, the number of new infections — 3,233 — is below the previous high of 3,579 last January.

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The positivity rate of new tests is also continuing to decline. The rate was 15.2% this week after peaking at 28.9% four weeks ago, according to the state update posted this evening.

Statewide, 75,906 new coronavirus infections were reported this week, down from last week’s 100,012.

Here is how Polk compares with statewide averages in several key areas:

  • Testing positivity: Polk, 15.2%; Florida, 11.2%
  • Cases per 100,000 population: Polk, 449.2; Florida, 345.4
  • Overall case positivity: Polk, 26.1%; Florida, 21.3%
  • Vaccinations – Age 12+ residents receiving at least one dose of vaccine: Polk, 63%; Florida, 70%

In all, 122,076 infections have been reported in Polk County since March 2020, according to the DOH. Statewide, there have been 3,485,163 cases.

The state is not currently releasing death figures for each county, as it did prior to June of this year. The CDC has recently started releasing the numbers of deaths for Florida counties, but those numbers appear to be unavailable tonight.


Lakeland Regional reported that it had 294 patients on Wednesday afternoon who had tested positive for COVID-19. That number was down from the peak of 443 on Aug. 26 but much higher than the top number of 180 reached during last winter’s surge.

Out of the 294 COVID patients at the hospital on Wednesday, 87.8% were unvaccinated.

The numbers of COVID-19 patients in intensive care and on ventilators Wednesday were lower than one week earlier but not showing the kinds of multi-week declines seen in all infected patients.

On Wednesday, there were 61 COVID patients in ICU, down from 72 a week earlier. Of those, 95% were unvaccinated. There were 54 COVID patients on ventilators, down from 63 a week earlier. Of those, 96.3% were unvaccinated.

Including non-COVID patients, all 128 ICU beds were occupied at Lakeland Regional Health on Monday, the latest day for which data is available, according to a compilation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This week’s state report

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