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COVID-19 in Central Texas: 30 deaths, 2,500 cases and climbing

The post-Memorial Day surge in COVID-19 cases continues in Central Texas where more than 160 new cases and an additional death were reported Friday as the state’s governor ordered bars to close and restaurants to scale back occupancy. (USAF photo by Mandy Foster/file)
The post-Memorial Day surge in COVID-19 cases continues in Central Texas where more than 160 new cases and an additional death were reported Friday as the state’s governor ordered bars to close and restaurants to scale back occupancy. (USAF photo by Mandy Foster/file)(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 22, 2020 at 4:29 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2020 at 5:16 PM CDT
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(KWTX) - The post-Memorial Day surge in COVID-19 cases continues in Central Texas where 164 new cases and an additional death were reported Friday as Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order  shutting down bars, scaling back restaurant dining, and closing rafting and tubing outfitters on popular rivers to try to slow the spared of the virus.

Texas has one of the highest positivity rates in the country and concerns are again rising about hospital capacity in the state’s largest cities.

A total of 2,552 Central Texas residents have been diagnosed with the virus, which has now claimed a total of 30 lives in the region including 12 in Bell County, two in Coryell County, one in Hamilton County, one in Hill County, one in Limestone County, the six in McLennan County, one in Milam County, and six in Navarro County, which reported the additional death Friday.

Statewide, the number of confirmed cases increased Friday by more than, 5,700 to 137,624 with 2,324 deaths.

A total of 59,018 cases were active Friday in Texas and 76,282 patients have recovered, Texas Department of State Health Services data show.

A total of about 1.9 million tests have been administered and the virus is now present in all but 10 of the state’s 254 counties.

BELL COUNTY

The state reported 1,077 cases Friday in Bell County, an increase of 68.

The state count includes Fort Hood personnel who live on post.

The county’s total, which doesn’t include Fort Hood personnel, rose by 119 to 1,022.

“I hope that the measures taken by the state and county are followed by the public and that they help reduce the rate of new COVID-19 cases in Bell County. There was a significant increase in cases this week, including the four highest single-day increases to date. The past three days alone account for almost 20 percent of all reported cases in Bell County since the first case on March 11,” Bell County Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell said.

At least 377 patients have recovered.

Twelve people diagnosed with the virus in Bell County have died including a Killeen man in his 50s in ICU died who died on April 8, a Temple man in his 60s in intensive care who died on April 6 who died on April 6, a Temple woman in her 80s who had been diagnosed with the virus died on March 26; woman in her 90s who was a resident of West Inn Nursing and Rehabilitation whose death was announced on May 30; a resident of Weston Inn Nursing and Rehabilitation whose death was announced on June 3; a woman in her 60s who was a resident of Weston Inn whose death was reported on June 9, a woman in her 70s who was transferred on June 1 from Weston Inn Nursing and Rehabilitation to Scott & White Medical Center died on June 14; two men in their 80s whose deaths were reported on June 17, both of whom were residents of Weston Inn Nursing & Rehabilitation in Temple; a man in his 60s whose was reported on June 19 who also was a former resident of Weston Inn; a woman in her 50s with underlying conditions whose death was reported on June 22; and a man in his 90s who died on June 25.

Drive-thru testing will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday at the Temple Central Fire Station at 210 North 3rd St.

Appointments are required for screening and may be made online.

Bell County Judge David Blackburn issued orders Wednesday that direct all businesses to require the use of face coverings by employees, customers, contractors and vendors on premises where physical distancing isn’t possible and “strongly encourage” residents wear face coverings in public places “where it is difficult to maintain social distancing.”

The directives, which go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, recommend against the use of medical masks of N-95 respirators and exempt the use of face coverings while exercising or engaging in other physical activity outside; while driving alone or with passengers from the same household as the driver; while pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment; while in a building such as a bank or engaged in an activity that requires surveillance; while eating or drinking or “when doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety or security risk.”

MCLENNAN COUNTY

McLennan County reported 72 new cases Friday, increasing the county’s total to 624.

Fourteen patients were hospitalized Friday, five of them on ventilators.

Eleven of the fifteen are McLennan County residents.

A total of 425 cases area active, 193 patients have recovered and officials are monitoring 804 residents.

Among the new cases are three who are 10 or younger, seven between the ages of 11 and 19, 18 residents in their 20s, 13 residents in their 30s, 14 residents in their 40s, seven residents in their 50s and 10 residents in their 60s.

Six McLennan County residents diagnosed with the virus have died including a 44-year-old man who died on June 23 in a local hospital; a 66-year-old resident whose death was announced on April 22; a 61-year old McLennan County man whom a neighbor found dead on April 8, and a 46-year-old man with no apparent underlying issues who died June 18 in a Waco hospital,

G.W. Carver Middle School Principal Phillip Perry, died of complications from the virus on March 31 and a 69-year-old man died on April 9 at a local hospital.

An order that directs Waco businesses to require employees and customers to wear face masks and Waco residents to wear face coverings in public places where physical distancing isn’t possible went into effect Friday and remains in effect at least until July 7.

CORYELL COUNTY

The state reported 327 cases Friiday in Coryell County, but the county’s latest update, which does not include Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates or employees, showed 112 cases with 58 recoveries and two deaths.

Several prison units in Gatesville remain locked down because of the virus, which has claimed the lives of a Copperas Cove man in his 70s who died on April 9 at Advent Hospital in Killeen, to which he was admitted on April 2 and a Copperas Cove man in his 60s who was diagnosed with the virus on April 5.

Coryell County Judge Roger Miller issued an extended order Tuesday that calls on residents to comply with state and federal guidance including the use of face masks and authorizing every business, service provider, and organization operating in Coryell County” to retain the right to refuse service to any customer or patron who they feel is not in compliance with the minimum standard health protocols recommended by the DSHS or CDC.

LIMESTONE COUNTY

Forty three cases have been confirmed in Limestone County, which has recorded one death.

A Mexia woman in her late 50s to early 60s with underlying health conditions died on March 31 at Parkview Regional Hospital in Mexia after she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Eighteen patients in Limestone County have recovered.

OTHER COUNTIES

According to the latest figures Friday, Bosque County was reporting 10 cases including four who have recovered; Falls County had 25 cases with nine recoveries; Freestone County reported 23 cases with nine recoveries; Hamilton County reported 19 with one death and seven recoveries; Hill County reported 58, with one death and 17 recoveries; Lampasas County had 19 cases with seven recoveries; Leon County reported 19 cases with five recoveries; Milam County reported 80 with one death and 53 recoveries; Mills County had one case and the patient has recovered; Navarro County reported 185 cases, an increase of seven, with six deaths and 113 recoveries; Robertson County had 37 cases with 10 recoveries; and San Saba County had four cases with one recovery.

Walk-up testing will be available in Robertson County from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 1 at Hearne High School at 1201 West Brown St. in Hearne and at the Pidgeon Center at 351 Cooks Lane in Franklin.

Residents don’t need to have symptoms to be tested, but must provide a current driver’s license or photo ID, a phone number and an email address.

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