The Florida Department of Health today reported 44 new cases of COVID-19 in Polk County. It’s the highest one-day increase since the pandemic started. It comes just one day after 37 new cases were reported in what was at the time the second-highest one-day increase.

Twenty-one of the new cases are in Lakeland, which has now seen more than 500 instances of the disease. Today’s report included at least one new case in every Lakeland ZIP code except 33801.

In addition, one more COVID-19 death was reported in Polk County: a 95-year-old woman who had lives at a long-term-care facility and whose case was first confirmed on May 21.

Today’s report brings the 14-day average of new cases in Polk County to 27.1. That number has increased steadily since late April and stood at 19.1 five days ago, according to a chart from the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Florida Scorecard.

At the same time, Polk has seen increasing numbers of people tested for COVID-19 for nearly a month, and in that period the cumulative percent testing positive has dropped from 6.1% to today’s 4.6%. That figure has been under 5% since May 20.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is tracking the weekly percent of tests that are positive, and showed a decrease for last week to 2.78% after an uptick the previous week.

Polk showed a lower percentage of positive tests than the state as a whole, which registered 3.62% last week.

Latest numbers

This morning’s COVID-19 updates from the Florida Department of Health compared with the previous day:

  • Polk confirmed cases: 1,287, an increase of 44
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 513, an increase of 21
  • Polk deaths: 71, an increase of 1
  • Polk hospitalizations: 352, an increase of 2

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: 27,869, an increase of 601
  • Positive: 1,287
  • Negative: 26,572
  • Inconclusive: 1
  • Await results: 10
  • Percent positive: 4.6%, unchanged

The number of people tested is 3.85% of Polk County’s estimated population of 724,777 people. The Florida Department of Health’s goal is to see 500 people a day tested this month.

Long-term care facilities

  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 54, an increase of 4
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 10, Here’s a link to today’s report, but note that this link lasts only until the next day’s report is issued.

Lakeland facilities with high numbers:

  • Highlands Lake Center reports 93 cases: 67 residents who were transferred away and 26 staff.
  • Lakeland Hills Center reports 58 cases: 29 residents, 21 who transferred away and 8 staff members
  • Grace Manor at Lake Morton reports 38 cases: 37 residents who were transferred away and 1 staff.
  • Consulate Health Care of Lakeland reports 23 cases: 8 residents, 12 who transferred away and 3 staff.

A large majority of COVID-19 deaths in Polk County have involved people who have lived in long-term-care facilities:

More Polk County data

The Florida Department of Health is now releasing county-by-county charts. Here are today’s for Polk:

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

ZIP Codes

Cases in Lakeland ZIP codes:

33801: 74
33803: 37
33805: 113, an increase of 29 over the last four days
33809: 50
33810: 60
33811: 17
33812: 18
33813: 116
33815: 20

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, 513
  • Winter Haven, 242
  • Davenport, 98
  • Bartow, 77
  • Lake Wales, 62
  • Kissimmee, 59*
  • Auburndale, 49
  • Mulberry, 38
  • Haines City, 36
  • Fort Meade, 23
  • Frostproof, 13
  • Eagle Lake, 8
  • Poinciana, 8
  • Lake Alfred, 8
  • Dundee, 6
  • Polk City, 5
  • Babson Park, 3
  • Wahneta, 2
  • Kathleen, 2
  • Waverly, 2
  • Gibsonia, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Bradley, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Lake Hamilton, 1
  • Lakeshore (formerly Fedhaven), 1
  • Clermont, 1*
  • No city named, 13

* 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. A similar situation exists for Clermont, which is in Lake County.

Download the latest detailed Florida report | View archived reports

Tracking the cases

A graphic showing the daily numbers of new cases in Lakeland and the rest of Polk normally appears here. Today it is being shown near the top of the article.

The other chart that usually appears under this heading showed the number of ICU and general hospital beds in use at Lakeland Regional Health and Polk as a whole compared with total capacity. LkldNow is no longer updating those two charts.

They were initiated when there had been fears that the demand for hospital beds and particularly ICU beds might outstrip the supply in Florida. That has not come to pass.

A Lakeland Regional Health vice president told LkldNow that the ICU capacity reported to the state daily does not include a cushion of 50 beds, so the hospital had flexibility even on days when the chart showed it at capacity.

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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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