Florida shattered its one-day coronavirus record today with 8,900 new cases, and Polk County exceeded 200 new cases in one day for the first time. In addition, Polk has recorded seven new deaths in the last two days.

Fifty of Polk County's 209 new cases were Lakeland residents. It's the third-highest day for new cases in Lakeland.

Cumulative hospitalizations in Polk grew by nine to 450, according to today's update from the Florida Department of Health.

The three deaths reported today were all men. Ages were 68, 87 and 88. Two were residents of long-term care facilities.

The deaths reported on Thursday involved three men and a woman. Two of the men were 73 and one was 62. The woman was 78. Two of the four were residents of long-term-care facilities.

As the statewide numbers continued increasing, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation today prohibited bars from serving alcohol beverages for in-house consumption. Sales for off-premises use is still allowed.

While state officials are urging people to wear masks to help prevent the spread of the disease, Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a Fort Myers press conference today that he does not believe it would work for the state to mandate masks.

“We’ve advised that’s something that could make an impact,” DeSantis said. “At the same time, to do police and put criminal penalties on that is something that probably would backfire.”

In Lakeland, city commissioners have argued similarly that mandated masks would create enforcement issues, though Mayor Bill Mutz and health-care leaders would like to see a mask order enacted, saying it would help save lives.

At the end of a meeting today, Mutz asked the other commissioners if, in light of rising coronavirus numbers, they'd like to continue holding their twice-a-month business meetings in person, a practice just resumed earlier this month. Several commissioners said they like meeting in person and none argued to return to virtual meetings.

With cases rising in what health officials say is evidence of community transmission of the disease, the median age of people testing positive in Polk has reduced from 52 to 42 in recent weeks. A state Department of Health chart shows that the 25-34 age group now has the most cases in Polk. Until recently, the 35-44 demographic had a slight edge.

The overall proportion of positive tests in Polk County reached 6.8% today. It was at at 4.5% less than two weeks ago.

Latest numbers

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

  • Polk confirmed cases: 2,780, an increase of 209
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 952, an increase of 50
  • Polk deaths: 87, an increase of 3
  • Polk hospitalizations: 450, an increase of 9

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: 40,963, an increase of 780
  • Positive: 2,780
  • Negative: 38,169
  • Inconclusive: 1
  • Await results: 15
  • Overall percent positive: 6.8%, an increase of 0.1%

Long-term care facilities

  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 61, an increase of 2
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 17. Here's a link to the most recent report.

Lakeland facilities with high numbers as of today:

  • Highlands Lake Center reports 110 cases: 81 residents who were transferred away and 29 staff.
  • Lakeland Hills Center reports 83 cases: 39 residents, 35 who transferred away and 9 staff members.
  • Grace Manor at Lake Morton reports 17 cases, all residents who were transferred away.
  • Consulate Health Care of Lakeland reports 25 cases: 10 residents, 12 who transferred away and 3 staff.

A large majority of COVID-19 deaths in Polk County have involved people who have lived in long-term-care 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: 118, an increase of 14 since Tueday
33803: 89, an increase of 19
33805: 192, an increase of 25
33809: 86, an increase of 15
33810: 142, an increase of 36
33811: 66, an increase of 17
33812: 38, an increase of 9
33813: 171, an increase of 21
33815: 48 an increase of 11

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, 952
  • Winter Haven, 601
  • Davenport, 223
  • Bartow, 139
  • Lake Wales, 127
  • Auburndale, 118
  • Kissimmee, 109*
  • Haines City, 108
  • Mulberry, 88
  • Fort Meade, 65
  • Frostproof, 31
  • Polk City, 25
  • Lake Alfred, 25
  • Eagle Lake, 22
  • Dundee, 11
  • Babson Park, 10
  • Poinciana, 10
  • Waverly, 6
  • Kathleen, 3
  • Wahneta, 3
  • Lake Hamilton, 3
  • Eaton Park, 1 (new to the list)
  • Highland City, 1
  • Gibsonia, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Bradley, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Lakeshore (formerly Fedhaven), 1
  • Clermont, 1*
  • Homeland, 1
  • Alturas, 1 (new to the list)
  • No city named, 73

* 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.

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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