This morning’s COVID-19 update from the Florida Department of Health showed the biggest one-day increase in confirmed cases in Polk County and also one of the highest days for testing in the county.

There were 31 new cases in Polk, 23 of them in Lakeland, since Sunday morning’s report. The number of new tests, 324, is the third highest since testing started in mid-March.

Nineteen new cases are reported for ZIP Code 33813, which includes the Lakeland Highlands. There have been 79 cases in that ZIP code, representing 43% of all cases in Lakeland.

At least 29 cases have been reported in residents at one long-term-care facility in that ZIP Code: Opis Highlands Lake on Lakeland Highlands Road. That number was reported last Monday, when Lakeland Regional Health said it had taken in 35 Highlands Lake residents who had shown COVID-19 symptoms. At the time, results were pending on six of the residents who went to the hospital. No further information has been released since then about cases among Highlands Lake residents.

Overall numbers

Monday morning’s totals compared with the previous day:

  • Polk confirmed cases: 441, an increase of 31
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 183, an increase of 23
  • Polk deaths: 18, unchanged
  • Polk hospitalizations: 123, an increase of 1

This was the fourth consecutive report with no new deaths in Polk County. Six COVID-19 deaths were reporting in Polk last week, representing a 50 percent increase over the 12 cases at the beginning of the week.

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: 6,810, an increase of 324 over the previous day
  • Positive: 441, an increase of 31
  • Negative: 6,361
  • Inconclusive: 2
  • Await results: 6

Since testing began in mid-March, there have been only two days when more tests were reported in Polk County: April 7 with 374 tests and 19 positive cases, and April 13 with 335 tests and 16 positive cases.

Long-term care facilities

  • Cases involving Polk facilities: 67 were reported Sunday. This morning’s statewide update did not include numbers of cases at long-term care facilities. We’re continuing to try to find whether they are being reported in a new location.
  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 8, unchanged
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 6 | List

The left-hand side of this chart represents Sunday’s numbers. If we are unable to get update numbers of cases at long-term-care facilities, we’ll cease including this chart with future articles:

The number of positive cases is likely 10 times the official number, Polk County Health Department Director Joy Jackson told city commissioners recently. Those who test positive now probably contracted the disease two to three weeks ago, given the time it takes for symptoms to show and test results to be processed.

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 only people who meet CDC criteria are being tested.

New Polk County data

Along with the change of release times, the Florida Department of Health is releasing a new county-by-county series of charts. Today’s new county charts have not been released yet. We’ll continue watching for them and post images here when they’re available

ZIP Codes

Cases in Lakeland ZIP codes:

33801: 10, unchanged
33803: 13, unchanged
33805: 30, an increase of 1
33809: 14, an increase of 1
33810: 15, an increase of 1
33811: 1 to 4
33812: 5, unchanged
33813: 79, an increase of 19
33815: 7, unchanged

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, 183
  • Winter Haven, 67
  • Davenport, 51
  • Kissimmee, 34*
  • Lake Wales, 19
  • Auburndale, 15
  • Bartow, 15
  • Haines City, 10
  • Mulberry, 9
  • Fort Meade, 8
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Frostproof, 4
  • Poinciana, 4
  • Eagle Lake, 2
  • Wahneta, 2
  • Kathleen, 1
  • Babson Park, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Dundee, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Polk City, 1

Today was the first day that Kathleen was added to the list of cities with confirmed cases.

* 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 Monday.

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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