A day after Polk County set several coronavirus high marks, today’s update from the Florida Department of Health looks similar, except that the numbers are slightly lower. Today’s report included the second most tests reported in one day (1,937), third most new cases (372) and second most new cases in Lakeland (120).

The percentage of positive results among all cases reported so far increased to 11.4%; that proportion has increased steadily since it was reported at 4.5% on June 15.

Today’s report adds nine new Polk deaths, ending a week that has seen 33 new deaths here, or 24% of all COVID-19 deaths recorded in Polk since the first one was reported on March 31.

Among the deaths were five women and four men ranging in age from 68 to 97. Each of them had cases that were confirmed this month.Two of the nine had lived in elder-care facilties.

The five women were ages 70, 73, 76, 81 and 97. The men were ages 68, 82, 91 and 96.

These updates came from the state Department of Health on a day when Florida reported 10,360 infections, bringing the total number statewide to 254,511 cases. In the last 24 hours, 98 new deaths were reported statewide.

If there was one small positive glimmer in the data that LkldNow checks daily, it was that the 14-day average of new cases in Polk maintained by the Florida Department of started tipping downward after steadily increasing since June 4.

At that point, the average was 19.9 cases a day. It rose to 273.6 cases a day on Friday, and today dipped to 271.5.

Polk County added 13 new hospitalizations for a third day in a row, a number that’s higher than average.

For the first time on Friday, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration started reporting the number of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 as their primary diagnosis. In the past, the Department of Health reported only a cumulative number for hospitalizations.

According to today’s report, there are currently 151 people in Polk hospitalized with COVID-19 as their primary diagnosis, an increase in 13 over Friday.

AHCA said the new data shows hospitalizations where coronavirus is the main reason for admission, instead of hospitalizations of people with coronavirus who were admitted for reasons besides the virus.

In all, there have been 570 people hospitalized in Polk with COVID-19 since March, according to the Florida Department of Health.

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 11.4%, five 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 10.3% today, a new high for the state.

Coronavirus cases started to spike in Polk County on June 19, and each of the last 18 days have seen readings of more than 150 new cases.

Lakeland is currently in the tenth 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.

Latest numbers

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

  • Polk confirmed cases: 6,983 an increase of 405
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 2,189, an increase of 120
  • Polk deaths: 138, an increase of 9
  • Polk hospitalizations: 570, 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: 61,057, an increase of 1,937
  • Positive: 6,983
  • Negative: 54,014
  • Inconclusive: 1
  • Await results: 25
  • Overall percent positive: 11.4%, an increase of 0.2%

Long-term care facilities

  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 77, in increase of 2
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 41, which is one more than were listed in Friday’s report. Here’s a link to the most recent report.

Lakeland facilities with high numbers:

  • Highlands Lake Center reports 83 cases: 82 residents who were transferred away and 1 staff.
  • Lakeland Hills Center reports 71 cases: 31 residents, 38 who transferred away and 2 staff members.
  • 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 9 cases, all residents who were transferred away

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 55.8% today:

The state’s weekly report counting deaths affiliated with specific long-term-care facilities, which was released Friday night, included eight new cases in Polk. Here are the Polk County elder-care facilities where deaths of residents have been reported:

  • Highlands Lake Center on Lakeland Hills Boulevard: 26, unchanged. It’s the sixth highest number among Florida elder-care facilities.
  • Lakeland Hills Center on East Bella Vista Street: 10, an increase of 1
  • Brandywyne Health Care Center in Winter Haven: 9, an increase of 1
  • Consulate Health Care of Lakeland on North Socrum Loop Road: 7, unchanged
  • Grace Manor at Lake Morton on Lime Street: 7, an increase of 1
  • Palm Garden of Winter Haven: 6, unchanged
  • Winter Haven Health and Rehabilitation Center, 5, an increase of 2
  • Astoria Health and Rehabilitation Center in Winter Haven, 1, unchanged
  • Bartow Center, 1, new to the list
  • The Gardens of Lake Alfred, 1, new to the list
  • Consulate Health Care of Winter Haven, 1, new to the list

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: 309, an increase of 17 since Friday
33803: 201, an increase of 8
33805: 376, an increase of 15
33809: 217, an increase of 16
33810: 322, an increase of 19
33811: 158, an increase of 10
33812: 99, an increase of 7
33813: 313, an increase of 13
33815: 172, an increase of 13

As of today’s report, the 33801 ZIP code that includes downtown Lakeland is showing as red on the state map, meaning that there are 300 or more confirmed cases. Other Lakeland ZIPs showing red: 33810, 33813 and 33805.

A band of central Polk including parts of Lakeland, Bartow, Winter Haven and Haines City are now showing as red:

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, 2,189
  • Winter Haven, 1,498
  • Davenport, 530
  • Haines City, 387
  • Bartow, 331
  • Auburndale, 277
  • Kissimmee, 275*
  • Lake Wales, 265
  • Mulberry, 253
  • Polk City, 229
  • Frostproof, 158
  • Fort Meade, 146
  • Lake Alfred, 69
  • Avon Park, 65*
  • Eagle Lake, 42
  • Dundee, 28
  • Lake Hamilton, 20
  • Poinciana, 16
  • Babson Park, 13
  • Waverly, 9
  • Kathleen, 5
  • Homeland, 4
  • Wahneta, 5
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 4
  • Highland City, 4
  • Eloise, 3
  • Eaton Park, 2
  • Alturas, 2
  • Bradley, 2
  • River Ranch, 1
  • Loughman, 1
  • Gibsonia, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Clermont, 1*
  • Nichols, 1 (new to the list today)
  • No city named, 118

* 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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