Sixteen new COVID-19 deaths were reported in Polk County today in the largest single-day increase yet. Victims ranged in age from 27 to 94. The report comes on the heels of a week when Polk registered its largest seven-day increases in deaths, hospitalizations and new cases.

Today’s update from the Florida Department of Health listed 10 women whose ages were 27, 32, 53, 63, 64, 65, 72, 73, 87 and 94. The 27-year-old was first diagnosed with the disease more than a month ago. She is among the two youngest Polk residents to die from COVID-19, along with a 27-year-old man who died in June.

The six men whose deaths were reported today were ages 55, 59, 76, 78, 92 and 94.

Six new deaths involving elder-care facilities were reported in Polk today.

These updates came on a day when Florida reported a record 191 coronavirus deaths, bringing the state total to 6,240. Statewide, 9,230 new infections were reported today, bringing the total to 441,977.

Last week

Last week, Polk reported 42 deaths between Sunday and Saturday. For comparison, the previous weeks saw 36, 33 and 13 respectively.

Similarly, new cases in Polk set a new high last week at 2,167. The previous weeks saw 2,047, 2,077 and 1,723 respectively.

And new hospitalizations in Polk last week far exceeded any previous seven-day period at 291. The previous three weeks saw levels of 76, 72 and 71 respectively.


Polk County today added 62 new hospitalizations today, its third highest after recording 63 on Monday and 91 last Tuesday.

At Lakeland Regional Health, 169 patients are reported under care for COVID-19 today. Twenty-five of those are in intensive care, boosting ICU usage to 76 beds, which is more than the 68 standard ICU capacity, but well under the 118 “flex” capacity.

In all, there have been 1,021 people hospitalized in Polk with COVID-19 since March, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration reports 290 current patients with COVID-19 as their primary diagnosis in all Polk County hospitals. Check a Miami Herald article for background on this relatively new metric being released by the state.


The rate of tests that come back positive continues to rise. The DOH COVID-19 dashboard tracks overall positive rates for each county — the proportion of tests showing positive results since testing began in March. Today’s “percent positive” reading for Polk increased to 14.1%. The number has risen steadily since it registered at 4.5% on June 14-15.

The statewide positivity rate is also rising and reached 12.68% today.

Coronavirus cases started to spike in Polk County on June 19, and each of the last 32 days have seen readings of more than 150 new cases.

Lakeland is currently in the 26th day of a 30-day mandate to wear masks or other face coverings in indoor spaces within Lakeland city limits (other than residences) where people aren’t able to maintain 6-foot distance. City commissioners voted 5-2 to require masks after Polk County Health Department Director Joy Jackson told them that local hospitals are seeing rising numbers of COVID-19 patients as the disease spreads in the community.

The median age of people testing positive in Polk has reduced from the mid-50s to 39 in recent weeks as more people in their 20s through 50s have started testing positive for the disease.

While numbers remain high, a trend line showing a seven-day average for new cases shows a seesaw pattern for the last several days:

This image comes from a COVID-19 dashboard created by University of South Florida epidemiolgist Jason L. Salemi

Latest numbers

This morning’s COVID-19 updates from the Florida Department of Health compared with the previous day:

  • Polk confirmed cases: 11,893 an increase of 176
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 3,694, an increase of 56
  • Polk deaths: 236, an increase of 16
  • Polk hospitalizations: 1,021, an increase of 62

The numbers of confirmed cases and hospitalizations are cumulative and do not reflect how many people have recovered or have been released from the hospital.

Testing in Polk

  • Total tests: 84,569, an increase of 981
  • Positive: 11,893
  • Negative: 72,610
  • Inconclusive: 66
  • Overall percent positive: 14.1%, an increase of 0.1%

Long-term care facilities

  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 128, in increase of 6
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 50, an increase of 1 since our last report more than a week ago. Here’s a link to the most recent report.

Lakeland facilities with high numbers:

An upcoming article will list the local elder-care facilities with high numbers of cases.

A majority of COVID-19 deaths in Polk County have involved people who have lived in long-term-care facilities, though the proportion has come down from more than 75% a few weeks ago to 55.5% as of Monday:

More Polk County data

The Florida Department of Health is now releasing county-by-county charts. Here are today’s for Polk:

Click the image to view a larger version
Click the image to view a larger version

ZIP Codes

Cases in Lakeland ZIP codes:

33801: 487
33803: 310
33805: 611
33809: 356
33810: 581
33811: 268
33812: 184
33813: 508
33815: 282

Florida’s color-coded map showing COVID-19 cases by ZIP codes now shows all Lakeand ZIPs in red, signifying at least 300 cases. The exceptions are in 33811 in southwest Lakeland, 33812 in southeast Lakeland and 33815, west of downtown.

View an interactive ZIP code map here. 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.

Cases in Polk cities

  • Lakeland, 3,614
  • Winter Haven, 2,447
  • Davenport, 972
  • Haines City, 910
  • Bartow, 608
  • Kissimmee, 525*
  • Auburndale, 515
  • Mulberry, 433
  • Lake Wales, 431
  • Polk City, 293
  • Frostproof, 231
  • Fort Meade, 212
  • Lake Alfred, 131
  • Avon Park, 66*
  • Eagle Lake, 60
  • Dundee, 48
  • Poinciana, 35
  • Lake Hamilton, 34
  • Babson Park, 24
  • Waverly, 13
  • Eaton Park, 11
  • Highland City, 8
  • Kathleen, 6
  • Eloise, 7
  • Wahneta, 6
  • Homeland, 4
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 5
  • Nichols, 4
  • Bradley, 5
  • Alturas, 2
  • Lakeshore, 2
  • River Ranch, 2
  • Loughman, 2
  • Gibsonia, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Clermont, 1*
  • Florence Villa, 1
  • No city named, 182

* 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. A similar situation exists for Clermont, which is in Lake County, and Avon Park in Highlands County. The Avon Park cases reflect an outbreak at a state prison between Avon Park and Frostproof.

Download the latest detailed Florida report | View archived reports

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Barry Friedman founded 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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