Polk County recorded its 18th COVID-19 death on Friday, a 96-year-old woman. Hers was the sixth death associated with Highlands Lake Center in Lakeland, The Ledger reported today. Meanwhile, a 102-year-old resident of Highlands Lake who was “diagnosed with COVID-19” last Saturday tested negative this week, according to ABC News.

The 96-year-old woman who died had been in contact with another confirmed COVID-19 case, the Florida Department of Health reported. His case was first confirmed on Monday and is the ninth death in Polk County associated with an elder-care facility, according to the Health Department.

She died Thursday after having been transferred to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center last Saturday with symptoms of shortness of breath, a fever and a low blood-oxygen levels, The Ledger reported, based on a document from the 10th Judicial Circuit Medical Examiner’s Office. (We don't have a link to The Ledger article because it has not yet been posted online.)

The Medical Examiner's Office listed the cause of death as as sepsis and COVID- 19 infection, The Ledger reported.

In another case from Highlands Lake, ABC News and its “Good Morning America” show say 102-year-old Esther Marie Transue is recovering after being rushed to the hospital last Saturday with a COVID-19 diagnosis.

“Her primary symptom was a high fever, but just six days later she tested COVID-19 negative with no major health complications,” ABC news reported in a brief online article.

Last Saturday, 35 residents of Opis Highlands Lake were taken by ambulance to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where 29 had been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of Monday. At the time, the hospital said six others who had shown symptoms were awaiting test results; the outcome of those tests has not been disclosed.

The wording of the ABC News article doesn't make it entirely clear whether the 102-year-old woman was one of the 29 who tested positive or one of the sixth who were suspected of having the disease but whose results have not been released.

Overall numbers

Friday's totals compared with the previous day:

  • Polk confirmed cases: 393, an increase of 14
  • Lakeland confirmed cases: 156, an increase of 5
  • Polk deaths: 18, an increase of 1
  • Polk hospitalizations: 120, an increase of 2

Friday was the fifth straight day that at least one new COVID-19 death was reported in Polk County. The number of deaths in Polk has risen from 12 to 18 this 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: 6,025, an increase of 297 over the previous day
  • Positive: 393
  • Negative: 5,623
  • Inconclusive: 2
  • Await results: 7

Long-term care facilities

  • Cases involving Polk facilities: 61, the same as Thursday
  • Deaths involving Polk facilities: 8, an increase of 1
  • Number of Polk facilities with reported cases: 6 | List

Jazbablog has added a new chart that shows the proportion of COVID-019 cases and deaths in Polk County are associated with long-term-care facilities. It is being updated daily:

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.

ZIP Codes

Cases in Lakeland ZIP codes:

33801: 5 to 9
33803: 13, an increase of one over the previous day
33805: 27, an increase of two
33809: 12, unchanged
33810: 14, unchanged
33811: 1 to 4
33812: 5 to 9
33813: 59, unchanged
33815: 5 to 9

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, 156
  • Winter Haven, 64
  • Davenport, 51
  • Kissimmee, 32*
  • Lake Wales, 16
  • Auburndale, 14
  • Mulberry, 9
  • Haines City, 9
  • Bartow, 7
  • Fort Meade, 7
  • Lake Alfred, 5
  • Frostproof, 4
  • Poinciana, 4
  • Eagle Lake, 2
  • Babson Park, 1
  • Champions Gate, 1
  • Cypress Gardens, 1
  • Dundee, 1
  • Indian Lakes Estates, 1
  • Polk City, 1
  • Wahneta, 1

* 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 a full report for Friday.

Tracking the cases

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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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1 Comment

  1. This is crazy. If they were already in hospice or getting ready to pass, let us not call it a covid death.

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