An 88-year-old man who is in stable condition at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center has been tested positive for COVID-19, the hospital announced. It's the third case reported in Polk County and the first known to be in Lakeland. The case is not considered to be travel-related.

Earlier this week, the Florida Department of Heath reported the disease had been confirmed in a 44-year-old woman whose case wasn't considered travel-related and a 21-year-old woman who had recently traveled to Georgia.

No information was released indicating where in Polk they live. The 21-year-old has been identified as a student who takes classes at Polk State College's Winter Haven campus. College officials said they are notifying students and faculty who may have come into contact with her.

We don't know yet how long the latest victim has been in the hospital.

UPDATE: Today's 6 p.m. update of the Florida Department of Health interactive COVID-19 map showed that a fourth case has been confirmed in Polk County. The latest case is a 55-year-old man who recently traveled to Spain, according to the Polk County Health Department. All four cases have been confirmed in the last three days.

In all, 67 people have been tested in Polk County. In addition to the four who tested positive, 31 were negative, and 32 test results are pending.

Here's the text of a news release sent by Lakeland Regional Health at 2:25 p.m. today:

Lakeland, FL – We were notified by the Florida Department of Health this morning of a COVID-19 positive presumptive result for an 88-year-old male under our care who is in stable condition.

The Department of Health will notify exposed individuals in the community and investigate the possible source of the infection while providing them additional direction and guidance. This patient was appropriately triaged by our medical teams with the use of screening protocols recommended by state and federal agencies.

Our well-trained staff ensured adequate infection prevention guidelines were followed to minimize exposure to others and themselves.

The hospital has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. Friday to answer questions.

If you have questions you'd like us to consider asking the hospital staff, please place them in the comment box below. Be sure to include your first and last name.

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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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  1. My mother was checked in to Lakeland Regional Health for an overnight stay on Tuesday and was released yesterday at around 3PM. She was on the 7th floor, could she have been exposed? Rachel Novak

    1. A person with a Lakeland Regional Health email address gave this response to the question about visiting a patient in the ICU: LRH visitation policy is only 1 visitor per patient at a time and the waiting areas cannot have people in them. The ICU has more strict visitation so please call ahead for their policy

  2. I was released Wednesday afternoon. Will they notify patients if they where in the same care area?

  3. My mom and my youngest daughter is in the hospital do you think they will be effected by this

  4. I believe I had this back in January but it was no name for it. I went to Lakeland Regional Hospital because I got super sick and I couldn’t breathe they told me I caught a really really bad virus.

  5. Has there been any risk to employees of the hospital since the patient has been under their care?

  6. Yo soy astmatica cronica . donde yo puedo aserme la prueba para ver si tengo el coronavirus ... !!

  7. Is the patient being kept in a self contained insulation unit with no air recirculated to other areas of the hospital. Are the nurses and doctors treating him still treating other patients

  8. Thank you to all the employees and staff at the hospital. Can you imagine their concern and that of their families?

  9. why are the transporters in the hospital not being given protective cloths when they are moving these people around the hospital? told to not wear protection in the halls so they wont scare people. just push them around and hope for the best!

  10. Is it safe to have surgery? I am scheduled for Monday. Was advised I will have to stay over night.

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