Polk County today reported six new COVID-19 deaths, a number smaller than the double-digit readings of the last three days but that would have been a record before July. So far, 52 deaths from the disease have been reported in this week’s six days, 10 more than the record-setting 42 recorded all last week.

Florida broke its coronavirus death record for a fourth day in a row today with 257 new fatalities, following days when the numbers were 191, 217 and 252. The statewide death toll from the disease is 6,966.

The Florida Department of Health reported 9,007 new infections statewide today.

The six people whose deaths were reported today were all men. Their ages were 54, 66, 70, 75, 76 and 78.

Two new deaths involving elder-care facilities were reported in Polk today.

Hospitalizations

Polk County today added 20 new hospitalizations today, according to a tally from the Florida Department of Health

At Lakeland Regional Health, 155 patients are reported under care for COVID-19 today. Twenty-one of those are in intensive care, accounting for nearly one-third of the 65 ICU beds in use.

In all, there have been 1,123 people hospitalized in Polk with COVID-19 since March, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration reports 283 current patients with COVID-19 as their primary diagnosis in all Polk County hospitals. Check a Miami Herald article for background on this relatively new metric being released by the state.

Testing

The rate of tests that come back positive continues to rise. The DOH COVID-19 dashboard tracks overall positive rates for each county — the proportion of tests showing positive results since testing began in March. Today’s “percent positive” reading for Polk increased to 14.3%. The number has risen steadily since it registered at 4.5% on June 14-15.

The statewide positivity rate is also rising and reached 12.95% today.

Coronavirus cases started to spike in Polk County on June 19, and each of the last 35 days have seen readings of more than 150 new cases.

Lakeland is currently nearing the end of a mandate to wear masks or other face coverings in indoor spaces within Lakeland city limits (other than residences) where people aren’t able to maintain 6-foot distance. 

The current order ends on Monday, but city commissioners vote that afternoon on whether to extend it. The resolution they will vote on mirrors the current order except that it ends on Sept. 8, the date of the first commission meeting in September.

The commission’s legal staff briefly discussed the resolution this morning during an agenda study meeting, but commissioners gave no indication of their thinking on continuing it.

The median age of people testing positive in Polk has reduced from the mid-50s to 39 in recent weeks as more people in their 20s through 50s have started testing positive for the disease.

While numbers remain high, a trend line showing a seven-day average for new cases in Polk shows a downward trend for the last six days, a period when the volume of testing was also lower:

This image comes from a COVID-19 dashboard created by University of South Florida epidemiolgist Jason L. Salemi

Latest numbers

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

  • Polk confirmed cases: 12,488 an increase of 207
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 3,805, an increase of 52
  • Polk deaths: 268, an increase of 6
  • Polk hospitalizations: 1,123, an increase of 20

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 tests: 87,420, an increase of 1,027
  • Positive: 12,488
  • Negative: 74,853
  • Inconclusive: 79
  • Overall percent positive: 14.3%, an increase of 0.1%

Long-term care facilities

  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 142, in increase of 2
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 49, a decrease of 1 since our last report on Tuesday. Here’s a link to the most recent report.

Lakeland facilities with high numbers:

An upcoming article will list the local elder-care facilities with high numbers of cases.

A majority of COVID-19 deaths in Polk County have involved people who have lived in long-term-care facilities, though the proportion has come down from more than 75% a few weeks ago to 55.5% as of Monday:

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: 502
33803: 323
33805: 633
33809: 376
33810: 620
33811: 292
33812: 197
33813: 535
33815: 302

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.

Download the latest detailed Florida report | View archived reports


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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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