Polk County recorded its 11th COVID-19 death — an 85-year-old woman — on Thursday as it crossed the 300 mark on confirmed cases of the disease. The number of deaths at long-term-care facilities also increased by one.

The woman who died had not traveled recently but had contact with another COVID-19 case, according to state records. Her case was first reported on April 9. While it can be presumed her death corresponds to the fourth death at a long-term-care facility in Polk, public records do not make that correlation.

The number of cases reported at nursing homes or other long-term care facilities in Polk was 26 on Thursday, up one from the day before.

The Florida Department of Health public reports do not list the names or cities of the long-term-care facilities where cases are reported. However, The Ledger reported Tuesday that at least six cases out of the 19 recorded in Polk as of Monday were residents connected to Highlands Lake Center on Lakeland Highlands Road.

The newspaper reported Thursday, based on records from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, that two of the four long-term-care deaths were from that facility. Those involved Polk’s two oldest fatalities — a 90-year-old white male and 91-year-old black male.

Thursday in Polk:

  • Polk County recorded 17 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 304.
  • Six new cases were reported in Lakeland for a total of 97.
  • The total number of people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in Polk remained unchanged.

The number of people who have been hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases in Polk stayed at 91 on Thursday, according to the Florida Department of Health’s evening report. State officials note this number is cumulative and does not reflect the number of people currently in hospitals.

Wednesday’s report shows that 4,606 people have been tested in Polk, up 178 from the previous day. In addition to the 304 positive readings:

  • 4,300 were negative
  • 2 were inconclusive
  • 8 await results

The number of positive cases is likely 10 times the official number, Polk County Health Department Director Joy Jackson told city commissioners last week. 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.

ZIP code data for Lakeland on Thursday:

33801: 5 to 9 cases
33803: 11 cases
33805: 18 cases
33809: 5 to 9 cases
33810: 11 cases
33811: 1 to 4 cases
33812: 1 to 4 cases
33813: 28 cases
33815: 1 to 4 cases

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.

Current totals reported for Polk cities are:

  • Lakeland, 97
  • Winter Haven, 53
  • Davenport, 47
  • Kissimmee, 26*
  • Auburndale, 13
  • Lake Wales, 13
  • Mulberry, 8
  • Haines City, 7
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Bartow, 4
  • Fort Meade, 5
  • Frostproof, 3
  • Poinciana, 3
  • Eagle Lake, 2
  • Babson Park, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Dundee, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Polk City, 1
  • Wahneta, 1
  • No city named, 5

* 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

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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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