An 84-year-old Polk County man has died of COVID-19, the Florida Department of Health reported today, a day when Polk reached 500 confirmed cases and Lakeland passed the 200-case mark.

The man who died was a nursing home resident whose case was first confirmed Thursday.

Testing in Polk County reached its highest level in the last day, with this morning’s report showing 467 new tests. The previous high was 374 on April 7, a day when there were 19 confirmed new cases, compared with 17 today.

Interestingly, the 17 new cases in Polk cases (from 483 to 500) matches the 17 new cases reported at local elder-care facilities (94 to 111 cases).

Still, it’s hard to know whether those are the same 17 individuals because officials don’t comment on specific cases and because the numbers come from different reports that might have different reporting times. In addition, the nine new cases in Lakeland don’t match a smaller increase in cases at Lakeland nursing homes.

A large number of the new cases at elder-care facilities in recent days came from Brandywyne Health Care Center in Winter Haven, which reported seven cases among current residents, seven among residents who had transferred to a hospital and one staff member. On Tuesday, Brandywyne reported two cases in all.

Overall numbers

This morning’s totals compared with the previous day:

  • Polk confirmed cases: 500, an increase of 17
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 207, an increase of 9
  • Polk deaths: 24, an increase of 1
  • Polk hospitalizations: 143, 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 tested: 7,787, an increase of 467 over the previous day
  • Positive: 500, an increase of 17
  • Negative: 7,279
  • Inconclusive: 2
  • Await results: 6

Long-term care facilities

  • Cases involving Polk facilities: 111 were reported today, an increase of 17.
  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 14, an increase of 1
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 7 | List

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

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 that until recently only people showing severe symptoms and/or high risk were tested.

New Polk County data

The Florida Department of Health recently started releasing a new county-by-county series of charts. Today’s updates:

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

ZIP Codes

Cases in Lakeland ZIP codes:

33801: 14, an increase of 4
33803: 17, an increase of 2
33805: 35, an increase of 3
33809: 14, unchanged
33810: 18, an increase of 3
33811: 5
33812: 5, unchanged
33813: 82, an increase of 2
33815: 9, an increase of 2

If it looks to you like this adds up to more than Lakeland’s increase of nine cases, you’re right. There was a lag in updating ZIP code data on the state Department of Health website, which showed no changes Thursday even though Lakeland added eight cases that day.

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, 207
  • Winter Haven, 80
  • Davenport, 52
  • Kissimmee, 35*
  • Bartow, 23
  • Lake Wales, 19
  • Auburndale, 16
  • Haines City, 13
  • Mulberry, 10
  • Fort Meade, 9
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Frostproof, 4
  • Poinciana, 4
  • Dundee, 3
  • Eagle Lake, 2
  • Wahneta, 2
  • Kathleen, 1
  • Babson Park, 1
  • Bradley, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Polk City, 1
  • Lake Hamilton, 1
  • Lakeshore (formerly Fedhaven), 1

* 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 the full Florida report released Friday.

Tracking the cases

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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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    1. All the experts say to contact your physician’s office about getting tested.

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