Polk County recorded its 12th COVID-19 death on Friday, a day when the number of deaths reported at long-term-care facilities increased by one. Twelve new cases were reported in Polk on Friday, but in an illustration that the numbers don’t always sync perfectly, 13 new cases were reported in Lakeland on Friday.

One ZIP code — 33813, which includes the Lakeland Highlands — saw an increase of nine cases on Friday. At 38 cases, that ZIP code contains one-third of the 110 cases officially reported in Lakeland. The next closest ZIP code is 33805, the area between downtown and I-4, where 18 cases are reported.

The Polk death involved an 82-year-old woman whose case was just recovered on Friday, the day she died. She had not traveled recently but had contact with another COVID-19 case, according to state records. While it might be presumed her death corresponds to the fifth 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 35 on Friday, up nine from the day before. That’s a marked increase from April 6, when there were three.

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 today that families count at least seven cases among residents at Highlands Lake Center on Lakeland Highlands Road.

The newspaper also reported, based on records from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, that two of the five long-term-care deaths in Polk were from that facility.

Friday in Polk:

  • Polk County recorded 12 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 316.
  • Thirteen new cases were reported in Lakeland for a total of 110.
  • 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 Friday for the third straight day, 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.

Friday’s report shows that 4,851 people have been tested in Polk, up 245 from the previous day. In addition to the 316 positive readings:

  • 4,533 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 Friday:

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: 37 cases
33815: 5 to 9 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, 110
  • Winter Haven, 53
  • Davenport, 47
  • Kissimmee, 28*
  • Auburndale, 13
  • Lake Wales, 13
  • Mulberry, 8
  • Haines City, 8
  • Fort Meade, 5
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Bartow, 4
  • Frostproof, 4
  • Poinciana, 3
  • Eagle Lake, 2
  • Babson Park, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Dundee, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Polk City, 1
  • Wahneta, 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 a full report for Friday.

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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