Two Polk County women in their 70s died of COVID-19, bringing to 26 the number of local fatal cases, the Florida Department of Health reported today. A separate report released Friday revealed that 12 of Polk’s deaths involved Highlands Lake Center in south Lakeland; only three elder-care facilities in Florida had more deaths.

The number of people associated with Polk County long-term-care facilities who have died increased by one to 15, according to today’s report. That most likely corresponds to a 79-year-old woman who had not traveled, had contact with another COVID-19 case and whose case was confirmed on Tuesday.

The other Polk fatality was a 74-year-old woman who had traveled in New Jersey and other parts of Florida and had no known contact with other known cases. Her case was confirmed on April 3.

For the first time yesterday, the state Department of Health released a report listing the number of deaths associated with individual nursing homes and assisted living
facilities. It will be updated weekly, the department said.

The report lists 12 deaths at Highlands Lake Center, all of them residents. Three facilities were listed with more deaths; each had 14, and are located in Suwannee, Pinellas and Manatee Counties.

The only other Polk County death on the list was associated with Consulate Health Care of Lakeland.

Check a searchable database of Florida elder-care COVID-19 deaths at the end of this Miami Herald article.

Overall numbers

This morning’s totals compared with the previous day:

  • Polk confirmed cases: 514, an increase of 14
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 213, an increase of 6
  • Polk deaths: 26, an increase of 2
  • Polk hospitalizations: 160, an increase of 17

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: 8,006, an increase of 219 over the previous day
  • Positive: 514, an increase of 14
  • Negative: 7,484
  • Inconclusive: 2
  • Await results: 6

Long-term care facilities

  • Cases involving Polk facilities: 111 were reported Friday, an increase of 17. (No new report yet today)
  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 15, 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.

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: 15, an increase of 1
33803: 18, an increase of 1
33805: 36, an increase of 1
33809: 14, unchanged
33810: 19, an increase of 1
33811: 5, unchanged
33812: 5, unchanged
33813: 83, an increase of 1
33815: 10, an increase of 1

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, 213
  • Winter Haven, 81
  • Davenport, 52
  • Kissimmee, 35*
  • Bartow, 23
  • Lake Wales, 21
  • Auburndale, 17
  • Haines City, 14
  • 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
  • No city named, 3

* 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 Saturday.

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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