Two more Polk residents have died of COVID-19, both of them residents of long-term-care facilities, the Florida Department of Health reported today. Like yesterday, the number of new cases reported today was higher than average — 20 — on a day with a very high number of new testing.

As testing has ramped up in recent weeks, the proportion of positive results has dropped from a cumulative 6.6% two weeks ago to 5.8% today.

The new deaths involve a 74-year-old man and an 88-year-old woman whose cases were first confirmed on May 3 and May 4 respectively. The Department of Health reports don’t indicated which elder-care facilities were involved.

A report due on Friday will update the total number of deaths at specific facilities. As of last week’s reports, there had been 18 deaths at Highlands Lake Center in Lakeland and one each at Consulate Health Care of Lakeland and Brandywyne Health Care Center in Winter Haven. Three more Polk elder-care deaths have been recorded since that report was issued.

Latest numbers

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

  • Polk confirmed cases: 675, an increase of 20
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 273, an increase of 9
  • Polk deaths: 35, an increase of 2
  • Polk hospitalizations: 216, an increase of 7

Hospitalizations hit a plateau toward the end of April with just five new cases between April 22 and 28, but the rate of new patients has quickened since then, with 77 new admissions since the end of April.

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: 11,610, an increase of 552 over the previous day. That increase is second only to yesterday, when 622 new tests were reported.
  • Positive: 675
  • Negative: 10,932
  • Inconclusive: 3
  • Await results: 4
  • Percent positive: 5.8%

The numbers of people being tested remains small compared with Polk County’s estimated population of 724,777 people. A shortage of test kits means that until recently only people showing severe symptoms and/or high risk were tested. (Free testing offered by the Health Department Saturday morning at New Bethel AME Church is the first testing in Lakeland that we’re aware of where a doctor’s order will not be required.)

Long-term care facilities

  • Cases involving Polk facilities: 130, a decrease of 2
  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 23, an increase of 2
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 8 | List (This link lasts only until the next day’s list is published.)

In Lakeland, the bulk of cases are from Highlands Lake Center, which has reported positive cases for 7 residents, 54 residents who were transferred away and 23 staff; those numbers have not changed since May 2.

The Department of Health’s daily report on long-term-care facilities has been revamped and now includes a page for each county that includes charts showing changes in cases over time. Here are the charts for Polk from last night’s report showing cases at skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities:

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: 25, unchanged
33803: 25, an increase of 2
33805: 45, an increase of 2
33809: 20, an increase of 1
33810: 31, an increase of 2
33811: 1-4 (until recently, 5 were reported)
33812: 11, an increase of 1
33813: 90, unchanged
33815: 13, an increase of 1

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, 273
  • Winter Haven, 116
  • Davenport, 66
  • Kissimmee, 41*
  • Lake Wales, 37
  • Bartow, 36
  • Auburndale, 20
  • Haines City, 15
  • Mulberry, 12
  • Fort Meade, 10
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Frostproof, 5
  • Poinciana, 4
  • Dundee, 3
  • Polk City, 3
  • Eagle Lake, 2
  • Wahneta, 2
  • Kathleen, 2
  • Babson Park, 2
  • Bradley, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Lake Hamilton, 1
  • Lakeshore (formerly Fedhaven), 1
  • Waverly, 1
  • No city named, 5

* 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 Tuesday.

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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