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A Message to Polk County Residents from the Chair

Published on Mar 19, 2020

Bartow, Fla. (March 19, 2020) — We know these are trying times for the citizens of Polk County. Rest assured that your Board of County Commissioners and all of the employees of Polk County make public safety our number one priority.

Many of you are asking what we are doing to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are following the guidelines from the CDC: washing hands often and practicing social distancing. We ask that you follow these guidelines too. There is no cure for this disease and there will not be one for a long time. The only way we can manage this emergency is to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the only way to do that is by limiting contact with each other. If we do this, it will cause the disease to spread at a much slower rate. If we do not follow these instructions it will spread rapidly and eventually overwhelm our emergency rooms and health care system.

To the young and healthy citizens reading this, know that you may be infected already and not know it. Please avoid others so that you don’t inadvertently infect someone with a compromised immune system. Now is the time to act in the best interest of others.

As a farmer, I assure you there are no shortages of food. A few bottlenecks in the country’s logistics system remain after people panicked thinking that we could go weeks without certain commodities. The nation’s delivery system to stores will work itself out in the next few days. Please consider your extended family, friends and neighbors; there is no need to hoard any supplies. There always was, and continues to be, plenty of food and cleaning supplies. Don’t panic!

COVID-19 is a very serious health concern. The county will continue to work with our state and local health officials and other medical professionals to get through this crisis.

The state has developed a website with a COVID-19 dashboard that contains the latest public information and is updated hourly. You’ll also find practical information at

Bill Braswell, Chairman
Board of County Commissioners