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Five more die of COVID-19 in Central Texas including veteran law enforcement officer

McLennan County sheriff’s Deputy Chris “Koogle” Smith, 59, died less than a week after contracting the virus.
McLennan County sheriff’s Deputy Chris “Koogle” Smith, 59, died less than a week after contracting the virus.(McLennan County Sheriff's Office photo)
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 4:06 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2020 at 12:08 PM CDT
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(KWTX) – Five more Central Texas residents diagnosed with COVID-19 have died, including McLennan County sheriff’s Deputy Chris “Koogle” Smith, 59, who contracted the virus just a week ago.

Smith, a 27-year veteran of the Waco Police Department, joined the sheriff’s office two years ago and was assigned to guard the county tax office at the time of his death.

“It’s a very sad thing to have happen at the end of your career,” said Sheriff Parnell McNamara. “He was a very good man, a gentleman, certainly a loss to his family and to law enforcement.”

The 100 Club Heart of Texas is accepting donations for his family.

Contributions may be made online.

Additional deaths were also reported Monday in Bell, Freestone, Leon and Milam Counties.

According to state data Monday at least 277 area residents diagnosed with the virus have now died, including 79 Bell County residents, two more than the local count; six Bosque County residents; 12 Coryell County residents, two more than the local count of 10; five Falls County residents; two Freestone County residents; four Hamilton County residents; 13 Hill County residents; eight Lampasas County residents; six Leon County residents; 10 Limestone County residents; 97 McLennan County residents, one fewer than the local count of 98; six Milam County residents, one fewer than the state count of five; 26 Navarro County residents, five fewer than the local count of 31; and four Robertson County residents, one fewer than the local count of three.

The total Central Texas case count rose to 19,475 Monday, up 265 from Friday’s total, while the statewide count rose to 698,387, up by more than 16,000 over Friday’s total, although thousands of older cases were recorded as part of the total.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 1,742 newly confirmed cases Monday.

The statewide death toll rose to 14,917 Monday, up by more than 200 from Friday, but an increase of just 24 from Sunday.

The U.S. death toll was approaching 200,000 Monday.

At least 3,132 patients were hospitalized statewide Monday, down by 40 from Friday’s total, but in the Two Trauma Service Areas that include most of Central Texas, at least 94 were hospitalized Monday, up 20 from Friday’s total.

More than 5.6 million tests have been administered statewide and the Lab Test Date Reported positivity rate was 7.90% Monday, down from 7.94% on Friday.

Restaurants, businesses, manufacturing facilities, museums and libraries were allowed to begin to operate at 75% capacity beginning Monday in Central Texas and around the state, but bars must remain closed under new guidelines Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday. Hospitals in the region may resume elective procedures, as well.

The reopening guidelines are predicated on hospitalizations in each of the 22 Trauma Service Areas in the state. The regions that include Freestone, Leon, Navarro and San Saba counties also have rates below 15%. Just three regions, Laredo, Victoria and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, had rates higher than 15% when the new guidelines were announced last week.

Nursing homes, assisted living centers and State Supported Living Centers in areas where COVID-19 hospitalizations are less than 15% may reopen for visitation with certain health protocols in place effective Sept. 24.

The total number of patients hospitalized

The Texas Education Agency and the state Department of State Health Services have created a website that provides an overview of COVID-19 cases in public schools. District level data will be available starting on Sept. 23.

BELL COUNTY

Bell County reported a total of 5,221 cases Monday, an increase of 21 since Friday.

Of the total, 260 cases were active and 4,884 patients have recovered.

The state count, which includes Fort Hood personnel, was 5,306 Monday.

Bell County’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 77 deaths Monday while state data showed 79, an increase of one over Friday’s total.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard showed 40 active cases Monday and 38 closed cases.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas Monday was reporting seven positive tests involving students and four involving faculty and staff since March.

The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed 56 confirmed cases involving staff and 14 involving students since March 16. One active case involving an employee was reported Monday at Cedar Valley Elementary School; one case involving an employee was reported at Harker Heights Elementary School; two active cases involving students were reported at Peebles Elementary School; one active case involving a student was reported at Trimmier Elementary School; two cases involving students were reported at Venable Village Elementary School; one active case involving an employee was reported at Audie Murphy Middle School, one active case involving a student was reported at Charles Patterson Middle School; one active case involving a student was reported at Live Oak Ridge Middle School; one case involving a student was reported at Smith Middle School; one active case involving a student was reported at Harker Heights High School; one active case involving a student was reported at Killeen High School and one active case involving an employee was reported at a non-campus building.

The Temple ISD’s online dashboard showed six confirmed cases Monday including three at Temple High School, one at Cater Elementary School, and two at Kennedy-Powell Elementary

The Belton ISD’s online dashboard showed three confirmed cases at North Belton Middle School and two at South Belton Middle school Friday.

BELL COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

MCLENNAN COUNTY

The Waco-McLennan County Health District reported its 98th death Monday, McLennan County sheriff’s Deputy Chris “Koogle” Smith, 59.

The health district Monday reported a total of 7,571 confirmed cases of the virus, an increase of 143 since Friday and 51 since Sunday.

The county reported 59 new cases of the virus on Saturday, and 33 cases on Sunday.

Of the total, 349 cases were active Monday and 7,124 patients have recovered.

Fifty two patients were hospitalized Monday, up eight from Friday’s total, and 13 were on ventilators.

Forty four of the 52 are McLennan County residents.

The most recent cases include one resident who ranges in age from 1 to 10; one who ranges in age from 11 to 17; 13 who range in age from 18 to 25; two who range in age from 26 to 29; five residents in their 30s; seven residents in their 40s; seven residents in their 50s; eight residents in their 60s; four residents in their 70s and three who are 80 or older.

Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 77 active cases Monday, down from 118 on Friday and a total of 1,003 since Aug. 1. Over the past seven days, 49 cases have been confirmed for a clinical positivity rate of 3.8%.

The McLennan Community College dashboard Monday showed six active cases, five of which involve students. A total of 62 cases have been confirmed in the past three weeks, 50 of them involving students.

The Waco ISD dashboard showed six cumulative cases involving students and six involving staff including one case at Bell’s Hill Elementary School; one at Alta Vista Elementary School; three at Kendrick Elementary School; one at Lake Air Montessori School; one at Provident Heights Elementary School; one at Cesar Chavez Middle School; three at University High School, and one at Waco High School.

The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed two active cases involving students at Hewitt Elementary School; one involving a student at South Bosque Elementary School; two involving staff members at Spring Valley Elementary School; one involving a student at Midway Middle School and two involving 11th grade students at Midway High School.

Parents of Midway High School students were notified Monday afternoon that a case has also been confirmed involving a 10th grade student.

The Waco-based Heart of Texas MHMR Center has created a web page through which area residents may access the #TexansRecoveringTogether Crisis Counseling Program, which “uses a strength-based, outreach approach that utilizes crisis counselors to meet individuals or groups in non-traditional, and virtual, settings in the community to promote resilience, empowerment and recovery.”

Free COVID-19 testing will be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Waco Multipurpose Facility at 1020 Elm Ave. in Waco for which no registration is required; from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 2 and Waco Fire Station No. 5 at 4515 Bagby Ave. for which online registration is required, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct 8 through Oct. 10 at the First Baptist Church at 307 Center St. in Lorena for which online registration is required.

MCLENNAN COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

CORYELL COUNTY

Coryell County was still reporting a total of 633 confirmed cases of the virus Monday, the same as on Friday.

Of the total 150 cases were active and 473 patients have recovered.

State data, which include Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates, showed 1,795 active cases and 1,352 recoveries.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Monday was reporting 14 active cases involving inmates and 38 involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville where 808 inmates were on medical restriction and 15 were isolated; 13 cases involving inmates and 66 involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 481 inmates were medically restricted and 16 were medically isolated; five cases involving employees at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville where 53 inmates were on medical restriction and one was isolated; eight cases involving employees at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville, and one case involving an inmate and four cases involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail in Gatesville where one inmate was medically isolated

The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed one case involving a student and one involving an employee at Williams/Ledger Elementary School, and one case involving a student at Clements Parsons Elementary School.

The county’s most recent cases include a Copperas Cove woman in her 40s, a Copperas Cove man in his 50s; a Copperas Cove resident younger than 10; a Copperas Cove man in his 20s; a Copperas Cove woman in her 50s; a Copperas Cove man in his 40s, and a Copperas Cove man in his 30s.

Twelve people have died in Coryell County, according to state data, but according to local data the virus has claimed 10 lives in the county including 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; a Copperas Cove man in his 60s who was diagnosed with the virus on April 5; a Copperas Cove man whose death was reported on July 8, and a Gatesville man in his 60s whose death was reported on July 12.

A free mobile test site will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Copperas Cove Fire Department at 415 South Main St. Register online. Free testing is also available from noon to 8 p.m. on Sept. 24 at the Civic Center at 301 Veterans Memorial Dr. in Gatesville. ID is required.

The Cove House Free Clinic at 806 West Avenue D, Suite H, is offering free COVID-19 testing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays. Appointments are required and may be made by calling (254) 289-9865.

LIMESTONE COUNTY

Limestone County reported 556 confirmed cases on Monday, an increase of seven over Friday’s total.

Of the total, 429 patients have recovered.

Ten residents diagnosed with the virus have died.

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

NAVARRO COUNTY

Navarro County reported 1,238 confirmed and 344 probable cases Monday for a total of 1,382.

Of the total, 154 cases were active and 1,397 patients have recovered.

Ten patients were hospitalized.

The county is reporting 31 deaths from the virus, but state data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 26 deaths.

OTHER COUNTIES

According to the latest figures Monday Bosque County was reporting 394 cases, an increase of six since Friday, and 225 recoveries. Revised state data based on death certificates showed six deaths in the county.

Falls County had 223 confirmed cases, an increase of six, and 164 recoveries Monday. State data showed five deaths from the virus. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Monday reported two cases involving employees at the William P. Hobby Unit in Marlin where 124 inmates were on medical restriction. Eleven inmates were restricted at the Marlin Transfer Facility.

Freestone County was reporting 403 cases Monday. Of the total, 346 patients have recovered. One case involving an employee was reported Monday at the William R. Boyd Unit in Teague where 69 inmates were on medical restriction. The county reported its first death from the virus on Aug. 31 and a second death was reported Monday.

Hamilton County was reporting 115 confirmed cases Monday. A total of 100 patients have recovered. Four residents have died of the virus, according to state data.

Hill County reported a total of 605 cases Monday, an increase of six, with 372 recoveries. Thirteen residents diagnosed with the virus have died, according to state data. The Hill College dashboard showed one active case involving a student at its Hillsboro campus. Nine students and four staff members in the Hillsboro ISD have confirmed cases of the virus including two students and three staff members at Hillsboro Elementary School; six students at Hillsboro Intermediate School, one student at Hillsboro Junior High School, and two staff members at Hillsboro High School.

Lampasas County was reporting 231 cases Monday, an increase of nine, with 147 recoveries. Eight residents diagnosed with the virus have died, according to state data. The 2020 Wine Celebration (Tour) scheduled for Saturday has been canceled, the Lampasas Chamber of Commerce announced Monday.

Leon County reported 230 confirmed cases, an increase of three, with 191 recoveries Monday. The virus has now claimed six lives in the county, according to state data.

Milam County reported 483 cases Monday, an increase of four, 20 of which were active. A total of 457 patients have recovered. The county reported a sixth death Monday. State data showed five deaths.

Mills County reported 52 cases with 33 recoveries Monday.

Robertson County had 321 confirmed cases Monday, an increase of 21 over Friday’s total. Of that number, 58 cases were active and 260 patients have recovered. State data showed four deaths, but local data showed three.

San Saba County reported 52 cases and 39 recoveries Monday. The TDCJ reported one case involving an employee of the San Saba Transfer Facility.

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

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