Polk County set several coronavirus high marks today: most tests reported in one day (2,013), most new cases (405) and most new cases in Lakeland (138).

One other number reached a new high: the percentage of positive results among all cases reported so far: 11.2%, a number that has increased steadily since it was reported at 4.5% on June 15.

These numbers came from the state Department of Health on a day when Florida set a statewide record: 437 new hospitalizations. In addition, 11,433 new infections were reported statewide, 25 cases short of the peak set on Saturday. 

Polk added 13 hospitalizations today and two new deaths. Both were men; their ages were 68 and 82. Neither was a long-term care resident.

At Lakeland Regional Health, 139 patients are reported under care for COVID-19 today, a decrease of 13 from Thursday’s number. Twenty-five of those are in intensive care, boosting the total ICU usage to 77 beds, which is more than the 68 standard ICU capacity, but well under the 118 “flex” capacity.

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 11.2%, four days after Polk crossed from the green-lettered “Within Target Range” of under 10% to the red-lettered “Above Target Range.”

Polk’s positivity rate was at 4.5% just over three weeks ago. The statewide positivity rate was reported at 10.1% today, the first time it was crossed the 10% threshhold

The positive rate for the huge block of tests that were returned on Thursday was 15.6%, a bit lower than the 16.7% average for the last two weeks but far higher than the proportions from a month ago and earlier.

Coronavirus cases started to spike in Polk County on June 19, and each of the last 17 days have seen readings of more than 150 new cases.

Lakeland is currently in the ninth day of a 30-day 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. City commissioners voted 5-2 to require masks after Polk County Health Department Director Joy Jackson told them that local hospitals are seeing rising numbers of COVID-19 patients as the disease spreads in the community.

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.

A chart from the Florida Chamber of Commerce smooths out the daily ups and downs of new coronavirus cases in Polk County by showing them as a 14-day average. The trend is still flowing upward:

Latest numbers

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

  • Polk confirmed cases: 6,611 an increase of 405
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 2,069, an increase of 131
  • Polk deaths: 129, an increase of 2
  • Polk hospitalizations: 557, an increase of 13

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: 59,120, an increase of 2,013
  • Positive: 6,611
  • Negative: 52,452
  • Inconclusive: 1
  • Await results: 25
  • Overall percent positive: 11.2%, an increase of 0.3%

Long-term care facilities

  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 74, no change
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 40, which is 13 more than were listed in Thursday’s report. Here’s a link to the most recent report.

Here are Lakeland facilities with high numbers. In each case, the numbers released today showed reductions in cases from those reported on Thursday.

  • Highlands Lake Center reports 83 cases: 82 residents who were transferred away and 1 staff. This represents a reduction of 27 cases, almost all of them staff members.
  • Lakeland Hills Center reports 73 cases: 33 residents, 38 who transferred away and 2 staff members. This represents a reduction of four, all of them residents.
  • Consulate Health Care of Lakeland reports 13 cases: 0 residents, 12 who transferred away and 1 staff. This represents a reduction of 16, including nine residents and seven staff.
  • Grace Manor at Lake Morton reports 11 cases, all residents who were transferred away and a reduction of three since Thursday’s report.

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 58.1% today:

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: 292, an increase of 21 since Thursday
33803: 193, an increase of 9
33805: 361, an increase of 19
33809: 201, an increase of 14
33810: 303, an increase of 25
33811: 148, an increase of 8
33812: 92, an increase of 8
33813: 300, an increase of 18
33815: 159, an increase of 9

As of today’s report, two more Lakeland ZIP codes are showing as red on the state map, meaning that there are 300 or more confirmed cases. ZIP codes 33810 with 303 cases and 33813 with 300 cases join 33805, which has 361 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.

Cases in Polk cities

  • Lakeland, 2,069
  • Winter Haven, 1,421
  • Davenport, 512
  • Haines City, 362
  • Bartow, 306
  • Auburndale, 261
  • Kissimmee, 252*
  • Lake Wales, 246
  • Mulberry, 241
  • Polk City, 225
  • Frostproof, 156
  • Fort Meade, 135
  • Avon Park, 65*
  • Lake Alfred, 62
  • Eagle Lake, 41
  • Dundee, 28
  • Lake Hamilton, 17
  • Poinciana, 15
  • Babson Park, 13
  • Waverly, 9
  • Kathleen, 5
  • Homeland, 4
  • Wahneta, 4
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 4
  • Highland City, 3
  • Eloise, 3
  • Eaton Park, 2
  • Alturas, 2
  • Bradley, 2
  • River Ranch, 1
  • Loughman, 1
  • Gibsonia, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Clermont, 1*
  • No city named, 116

* 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, and Avon Park in Highlands County.

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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