Polk County has added 230 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 5,895 — more than double the sum reported just 12 days ago, according to today’s update from the Florida Department of Health. In addition, seven new deaths were reported in Polk, second only to the nine deaths reported on Monday.

The people who died included three women and four men. The women were ages 61, 76 and 78. The men were ages 54, 72, 80 and 82. Two of the seven had lived in elder-care facilities.

In addition, the Department of Health reported four new hospitalizations in Polk, a lower number than has typically been reported in the last few weeks.

At Lakeland Regional Health, 140 patients are reported under care for COVID-19. Twenty-two of those are in intensive care, boosting the total ICU usage to 72 beds, which is more than the 68 standard ICU capacity, but well under the 118 “flex” capacity.

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 10.5%, two days after Polk crossed from the green-lettered “Within Target Range” of under 10% to the red-lettered “Above Target Range.”

Polk’s positivity rate was at 4.5% just over three weeks ago. The statewide positivity rate was reported at 9.6% today, a significant increase from the 7.4% reported two days ago.

Polk’s one-day positivity rating for test results received Tuesday was 14.1%, the lowest it’s been in nine days.

Coronavirus cases started to spike in Polk County on June 19, and each of the last 15 days have seen readings of more than 150 new cases.

Lakeland is currently in the seventh 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.

Outside of Lakeland, some hot spots in Polk County include Polk City, the Inwood area of north Winter Haven and Haines City.

In Polk City, 180 inmates at the state’s Polk Correctional Institution tested positive for the disease, The Ledger reported today. The facility houses 1,100-plus men, most of them near the end of their sentences.

In east Polk, the 33881 ZIP code that includes Inwood and Florence passed 300 cases last week and has zoomed to 568 cases as of today. Haines City’s 33844 ZIP Code reports 305 cases, becoming Polk’s fifth ZIP to be shown in the red on a state map that indicates 300+ cases.

Latest numbers

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

  • Polk confirmed cases: 5,895, an increase of 230
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 1,833, an increase of 80
  • Polk deaths: 122, an increase of 7
  • Polk hospitalizations: 531, an increase of 4

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: 56,070, an increase of 1,220
  • Positive: 5,895
  • Negative: 50,123
  • Inconclusive: 1
  • Await results: 22
  • Overall percent positive: 10.5%, an increase of 0.2%

Long-term care facilities

  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 74, an increase of 2
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 27. Here’s a link to the most recent report.

Lakeland facilities with high numbers:

  • Highlands Lake Center reports 110 cases: 81 residents who were transferred away and 29 staff.
  • Lakeland Hills Center reports 77 cases: 37 residents, 38 who transferred away and 2 staff members.
  • Consulate Health Care of Lakeland reports 29 cases: 9 residents, 12 who transferred away and 8 staff.
  • Grace Manor at Lake Morton reports 14 cases, all residents who were transferred away.

A large 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 60.7% today:

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: 264, an increase of 13 since Monday
33803: 175, an increase of 12
33805: 310, an increase of 9
33809: 175, an increase of 14
33810: 267, an increase of 22
33811: 132, an increase of 13
33812: 80, an increase of 4
33813: 273, an increase of 25
33815: 140, an increase of 11

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, 1,833
  • Winter Haven, 1,259
  • Davenport, 451
  • Haines City, 309
  • Bartow, 265
  • Kissimmee, 229*
  • Auburndale, 223
  • Lake Wales, 222
  • Polk City, 220
  • Mulberry, 207
  • Frostproof, 149
  • Fort Meade, 124
  • Avon Park, 65* (newly added today)
  • Lake Alfred, 58
  • Eagle Lake, 38
  • Dundee, 25
  • Lake Hamilton, 15
  • Poinciana, 14
  • Babson Park, 13
  • Waverly, 9
  • Kathleen, 4
  • Homeland, 4
  • Wahneta, 3
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 4
  • Highland City, 3
  • Eaton Park, 2
  • Eloise, 2
  • Alturas, 2
  • River Ranch, 1
  • Loughman, 1
  • Gibsonia, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Bradley, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Clermont, 1*
  • No city named, 113

* 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.

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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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