Polk County added three new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 244. The number in Lakeland rose by two to 72. Today, LkldNow introduces a new infographic to our daily roundup article and to our COVID-19 page that visually charts the number of new cases per day in Lakeland and Polk:

A quick note about the new chart: The Lakeland number and the countywide number come from different Florida Department of Health documents that are typically released about an hour and a half apart. The Lakeland number comes from a PDF document that is released around 5 p.m. daily; the total for the county comes from the 6:30 p.m. daily update of the department’s online map/dashboard. For any day, the red and blue line added together represent the Polk County number reported at 6:30.

While the chart accurately represents the trend in new cases in Polk, the absolute number for new Polk cases outside Lakeland may be off very slightly on some days because of the difference in timing of the data.

The number of deaths in Polk County connected to confirmed COVID-19 cases remains at eight.

Florida Department of Health’s evening report Saturday shows that 3,775 people have been tested in Polk, up 163 from the previous day. In addition to the 244 positive readings:

  • 3,538 were negative
  • 4 were inconclusive
  • 16 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 been hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases in Polk remained at 75 on Saturday. State officials note this number is cumulative and does not reflect the number of people currently in hospitals.

Saturday evening’s report cites 18 cases reported at nursing homes or other long-term care facilities in Polk, the same number as Friday. The Florida Department of Health public reports do not list the names or cities of the facilities.

When asked for more details, a local Health Department spokeswoman on Saturday referred back to the total number released by the state and said, “Epidemiology investigations are underway for every positive COVID-19 case identified. Information from these investigations are confidential so that we can protect the privacy of the individuals being tested and monitored.”

ZIP code data for Lakeland on Saturday:

20 cases:

13 cases:

5 to 9 cases: 

1 to 4 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, 72
  • Winter Haven, 51
  • Davenport, 44
  • Kissimmee, 20*
  • Auburndale, 12
  • Lake Wales, 11
  • Haines City, 6
  • Mulberry, 6
  • Lake Alfred, 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 Saturday.

Tracking the cases

SEND CORRECTIONS, questions, feedback or news tips: newstips@lkldnow.com

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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