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Texas COVID-19 death toll rises to more than 15,000, area toll nears 300

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 4:05 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2020 at 6:14 PM CDT
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(KWTX) – The state wide COVID-19 death toll increased by 135 Wednesday to 15,129, making Texas only the fourth state in which the virus has claimed more than 15,000 lives.

Four more deaths were reported Wednesday in Central Texas.

According to state data Wednesday at least 286 area residents diagnosed with the virus have now died, including 84 Bell County residents, five more than the local count of 79; 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; 11 Limestone County residents; 100 McLennan County residents, one more than the local count of 99; six Milam County residents, one fewer than the state count of five; 26 Navarro County residents, six fewer than the local count of 32; and four Robertson County residents, one fewer than the local count of three.

More than 260 additional cases of the virus were reported Wednesday in Central Texas, increasing the region’s total to 19,879.

Statewide 3,045 additional cases of the virus were reported Wednesday, including about 70 older cases, raising the Texas total to 719,252.

Of the total, 86,416 cases were active and 618,054 patients have recovered.

At least 3,195 patients were hospitalized statewide Wednesday, down slightly from Tuesday, and in the two Trauma Service Areas that include most of Central Texas, hospitalizations held steady at 95.

The Lab Test Report Date positivity rate was 7.75% Wednesday, down from 7.85% on Tuesday.

More than 5.7 million tests have been administered.

Three Texas counties still remain free of the virus.

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

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 Thursday.

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

The Bell County Public Health District Wednesday reported 33 additional cases of the virus, but new cases totaled less than 20, raising the county’s total to 5,298.

Of the total, 273 cases were active Wednesday and 4,948 patients have recovered.

“I am happy to say that our case count today is below 20 so even though we saw a small spike for yesterday it doesn’t look to be continuing into today. Still, we remain vigilant,” health district Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said.

The county was still reporting 79 deaths Wednesday, but state data showed 84, an increase of two.

The state count, which includes Fort Hood personnel who live on post, rose by 44 to 5,371 Wednesday.

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

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

The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed 61 confirmed cases involving staff and 19 involving students since March 16. One active case involving an employee was reported Wednesday at Cedar Valley Elementary School; one case involving a student was reported at Fowler Elementary School; one case involving an employee was reported at Harker Heights Elementary School; one active case involving an employee was reported at Hay Branch Elementary; two active cases involving students were reported at Peebles Elementary School; one case involving a student was reported at Venable Village Elementary School; one active case involving a student was reported at Willow Springs 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 case involving an employee was reported at Palo Alto Middle School; one case involving an employee was reported at Rancier Middle School; two cases involving students were reported at Smith Middle School; one active case involving an employee and one involving a student were reported at Union Grove Middle School, and two active cases involving students were reported at Shoemaker High School.

The Killeen ISD has received Texas Education Agency approval for its plan to provide asynchronous virtual learning for students who requested it during the school year. The plan is available online. Asynchronous virtual learning involves the use of prerecorded or pre-produced modules rather that real-time live instruction.

The Temple ISD’s online dashboard showed nine confirmed cases Wednesday including five at Temple High School, one at Cater Elementary School, and three at Kennedy-Powell Elementary

The Belton ISD’s online dashboard showed one confirmed case Wednesday at Belton Early Childhood School, one confirmed case at North Belton Middle School and two at Belton High School.

BELL COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

MCLENNAN COUNTY

The Waco-McLennan County Health District reported 153 additional cases of the virus Wednesday, 75 of which were new and 78 of which were older and previously unreported, increasing the county’s total to 7,779.

The county also reported a 99th death on Wednesday, a 68-year-old man.

State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 100 deaths in the county.

The new cases include six involving residents whose ages range from 1 to 10; nine involving residents whose ages range from 11 to 17; 33 involving residents who range in age from 19 to 25; 11 involving residents ranging in age from 26 to 29; 22 involving residents in their 30s; 31 involving residents in their 40s; 18 involving residents in their 50s; 15 involving residents in their 60s; five involving residents in their 70s, and three involving residents who are 80 or older.

“It appears we got through the Labor Day spike,” Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver said during a virtual news conference Wednesday.

“It feels like we got through it and avoided a big jump. We got through that and the opening of Waco ISD so that is great news. It’s great that the governor is opening back up. If we stay with it and wash hands, keep our distance, and wear masks we will continue to reopen and get back to the things we love to do,” he said.

Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 74 active cases Wednesday and a total of 963 confirmed cases since Aug. 1. Thirty nine cases have been confirmed over the past seven days for a seven-day clinical positivity rate of 2.5%

The McLennan Community College dashboard Wednesday showed one active case involving an employee and 10 involving students. A total of 69 cases have been confirmed in the last three weeks, including 12 involving employees or visitors and 57 involving students.

The Waco ISD dashboard Wednesday showed nine cumulative cases involving students, eight involving staff and two more identified as “other.” Seven cases have been confirmed this week including two at Bell’s Hill Elementary School, two at Kendrick Elementary School, one at Lake Air Montessori School; one at Cesar Chavez Middle School, and one at a non-campus facility.

The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed one active case involving a student at Hewitt Elementary School; two active cases involving employees at Spring Valley Elementary School; one active case involving a student at Midway Middle School, and six active cases involving students at Midway High School.

A Robinson Primary School student last in class on Sept.16 has tested positive for COVID-19, the school’s principal, Missy Zacharias, said in a letter to parents Tuesday. Students and parents who were in close contact with the student have been contacted.

Hewitt’s 10th annual Trunk or Treat event on Halloween has been canceled because of COVID-19 concerns.

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

Coyrell County was still reporting a total of 649 cases Wednesday, of which 160 were active.

A total of 479 patients have recovered.

State data, which include Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates, showed 1,810 active cases and 1,361 recoveries.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday was reporting 11 active cases involving inmates and 37 involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville where 218 inmates were on medical restriction and 13 were isolated; 13 cases involving inmates and 65 involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 368 inmates were medically restricted and 14 were medically isolated; five cases involving employees at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville; eight cases involving employees at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville where 99 inmates were medically restricted, 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 Tuesday showed one case involving a student and one involving an employee at Williams/Ledger Elementary School, and one case involving an employee at Clements Parsons Elementary School.

Friday night’s game between Gatesville and Lampasas has been canceled because of “COVID-19 concerns among Lampasas High School players,” the two districts said in social media posts. Thursday night’s JV game between Gatesville and Lampasas was also cancelled. Gatesville coaches were searching for another team to play Friday. Junior high school games at Lampasas and volleyball games Friday night at Lampasas are still scheduled to be played.

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.

Free testing is available from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday 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 562 confirmed cases Wednesday, an increase of three.

Of the total, 445 patients have recovered.

State data Wednesday showed an 11th death in the county.

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 was still reporting 1,249 confirmed and 355 probable cases Wednesday for a total of 1.604.

Of the total 163 cases were active Tuesday and 1,409 patients have recovered.

The county reported a 32nd death on Tuesday.

State data, based on birth certificates and county of residence, showed 26 deaths.

OTHER COUNTIES

According to the latest figures Wednesday Bosque County was reporting 311 cases, an increase of seven, and 226 recoveries. Revised state data based on death certificates showed six deaths in the county.

Falls County had 234 confirmed cases, an increase of seven, and 164 recoveries Wednesday. State data showed five deaths from the virus. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Wednesday reported four cases involving employees at the William P. Hobby Unit in Marlin where 300 inmates were on medical restriction and 11 were isolated. Eleven inmates were restricted at the Marlin Transfer Facility. Marlin Middle School and Marlin High School shifted shift to remote instruction from Wednesday through Friday out of an abundance of caution after six COVID-19 cases were confirmed at the middle school and seven at the high school. The schools will be deep cleaned. Students must log into Google Classroom daily. Students return to classrooms on Monday.

Freestone County was reporting 404 cases Wednesday. Of the total, 347 patients have recovered. One case involving an inmate and one involving an employee were reported Wednesday at the William R. Boyd Unit in Teague where 144 inmates were on medical restriction and one was medically isolated.. The county reported its first death from the virus on Aug. 31 and a second death was reported on Sept. 21.

Hamilton County was reporting 119 confirmed cases Wednesday. A total of 99 patients have recovered. Four residents have died of the virus, according to state data.

Hill County reported a total of 641 cases Wednesday, an increase of 26, 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. Two students at Hillsboro Intermediate School and one staff member at Hillsboro Elementary School in the Hillsboro ISD have confirmed cases of the virus

Lampasas County was reporting 243 cases Wednesday, an increase of 10, with 149 recoveries. Eight residents diagnosed with the virus have died, according to state data. Friday night’s game between Gatesville and Lampasas has been canceled because of “COVID-19 concerns among Lampasas High School players,” the two districts said in social media posts. Thursday night’s JV game between Gatesville and Lampasas was also cancelled. Gatesville coaches were searching for another team to play Friday. Junior high school games at Lampasas and volleyball games Friday night at Lampasas are still scheduled to be played. The 2020 Wine Celebration (Tour) scheduled for Saturday has been canceled, the Lampasas Chamber of Commerce announced Monday.

Leon County reported 235 confirmed cases, an increase of two, with 191 recoveries Wednesday. The virus has now claimed six lives in the county, according to state data.

Milam County reported 488 cases Wednesday, an increase of five, 18 of which were active. A total of 464 patients have recovered. The county was reporting six deaths Wednesday. State data showed five deaths.

Mills County reported 59 cases with 34 recoveries Wednesday.

Robertson County had 321 confirmed cases Wednesday. Of that number, 58 cases were active and 260 patients have recovered. State data showed four deaths, but local data showed three. The Hearne Police Department’s annual Trunk or Treat Halloween event has been canceled because of COVID-19 concerns.

San Saba County reported 53 cases and 39 recoveries Wednesday.

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

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