Polk Exceeds 100,000 Total COVID-19 Infections as New Records Are Set

With nearly 7,000 new COVID-19 infections reported in Polk County this week — the fourth consecutive week of setting a new high mark — Polk has exceeded 100,000 total infections since testing began in March 2020. The county recorded an average positivity rate of 28.9% this week, also a new high mark.

COVID new cases and positivity chart
View an interactive version of this graphic.

If there’s any consolation, it’s that the rate of growth in new cases and positivity has decelerated during the last two weeks compared with the huge surge of the three prior weeks.

The report, released this evening, covers the week of Aug. 13-19; the number of new infections in Polk the past week — 6,983 — was 95% higher than the 3,579 cases recorded in the second week of January, the highest peak before the current surge.

In this week’s update, Polk continues to fare worse than statewide averages for Florida, one of the nation’s hardest-hit states:

  • New cases per 100,000 population: 970.3 in Polk vs. 683.1 statewide.
  • New case positivity this week: 28.9% for Polk vs. 19.3% statewide
  • Overall case positivity: 23.6% for Polk vs. 19.8% statewide
  • Vaccinations – Age 12+ residents receiving at least one dose of vaccine: 58% in Polk vs. 66% statewide. Polk increased two percentage points in this category, compared with a 1 percentage point statewide increase.

In all, 100,347 infections have been reported in Polk County since March 2020, according to the DOH.

Across Florida, 150,118 new infections reported this week, bringing the state’s cumulative total to 3,027,954.

TESTING: With the latest surge, wait times for COVID test appointments have increased recently. A relief valve starts tomorrow in the form of a new drive-through testing center at the RP Funding Center. The Florida Department of Health has contracted with Nomi Health. Tests are free; appointments are required. Register here.

The patient load at Lakeland Regional Health continues to increase. The hospital reported Thursday morning that it had:

  • 403 patients who had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • 54 of them were in the intensive care unit.
  • 53 of them were on ventilators.