For the third day in a row, a new COVID-19 death was reported in Polk County on Friday, a day when the number of confirmed cases rose by seven to 241. Friday evening’s report connects 18 cases to nursing homes or long-term facilities in Polk County, a large jump from the seven reported a day earlier.

Polk County’s eighth death attributed to COVID-19 concerned an 86-year-old man whose case was not thought to involve contact with other COVID-19 cases; his case was first reported on Sunday. Health officials did not know whether he had traveled recently

Florida Department of Health’s evening report Friday shows that 3,612 people have been tested in Polk, up 149 from the previous day. In addition to the 241 positive readings:

  • 3,368 were negative
  • 4 were inconclusive
  • 17 await results

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

The number of people who have been hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases in Polk rose to 75 on Friday. State officials note this number is cumulative and does not reflect the number of people currently in hospitals.

Friday evening’s report cites 18 cases reported at nursing homes or other long-term care facilities in Polk, a large increase from the seven reported the previous days. The Florida Department of Health public reports do not list the names or cities of the facilities. We’ve asked the Department of Health for elaboration on these cases.

ZIP code data for Lakeland on Friday:

20 cases:

12 cases:

5 to 9 cases: 

1 to 4 cases:

View an interactive ZIP code map here or at the end of this article. 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, 70
  • Winter Haven, 51
  • Davenport, 44
  • Kissimmee, 20*
  • Lake Wales, 11
  • Auburndale, 11
  • Haines City, 6
  • Mulberry, 6
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Fort Meade, 4
  • Bartow, 2
  • Frostproof, 2
  • Poinciana, 2
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Dundee, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Polk City, 1
  • No city named, 2

* 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 Friday.

Tracking the cases: Polk and Florida

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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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