For a third week in a row, Polk County set record highs for the number of new COVID-19 cases — 6,521 new infections were confirmed — and the rate of tests that come back positive — 27.2% — according to the weekly update from the Florida Department of Health.

The report, released this evening, covers the week of Aug. 6-12; the number of new infections in Polk the past week was 80% higher than the 3,579 cases recorded in the second week of January, the highest peak before the current surge.

In this week’s update, Polk continues to fare worse than statewide averages for Florida, one of the nation’s hardest-hit states:

  • New cases per 100,000 population: 906.1 in Polk vs. 689 statewide
  • New case positivity this week: 27.2% for Polk vs. 19.3% statewide
  • Overall case positivity: 22.4% for Polk vs. 19.1% statewide
  • Vaccinations – Age 12+ residents receiving at least one dose of vaccine: 56% in Polk vs. 65% statewide

In all, 93,349 cases have been reported in Polk County since March 2020, according to the DOH.

Across Florida, 151,764 new infections reported this week, bringing the state’s cumulative total to 2,877,214.

The current surge is being felt at Polk County hospitals, according to the latest seven-day figures compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • 593 COVID patients have been admitted to hospitals countywide, nearly twice the peak during the January surge.
  • 35.24% of beds are going to COVID-19 patients, around the rate of last summer but well above the single digits at the beginning of last month.
  • 42.16% of intensive care beds are being used by COVID-19 patients, a little below last summer’s figure, but well above the near-zero rate in early July.

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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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