5 Central Texas counties told to roll back reopenings as area case count rises to nearly 20,500
(KWTX) – McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Hill and Limestone counties are facing a state order to roll back business and restaurant capacity from 75% to 50% after the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the Trauma Service Area to which they’re assigned rose to more than 15% of total hospitalizations. The order came as the total number of cases confirmed in Central Texas rose Monday to nearly 20,500 and the regional death toll rose to more than 290.
“As a result, as of September 27, 2020, all restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries in all counties in Trauma Service Area M are required to return to maximum 50% occupancy levels, except in any county that separately qualifies for the greater occupancy levels because it has minimal cases of COVID-19 under the Department of State Health Services attestation process,” Dr. John Hellerstedt said in a letter to the counties' judges.
An executive order Gov. Greg Abbott issued on Sept. 17 allowed businesses and restaurants to expand operating capacity to 75% provided they are in Trauma Service Areas where the percentage of hospitalized COVID-19 patients is 15% or less for seven consecutive days.
Elective surgeries would also have to be discontinued under the provisions of the Sept. 17 order.
McLennan County Judge Scott Felton said Monday the numbers on the state dashboard don’t match local data and said he’s working with the state to correct the issue.
Bosque County Emergency Management said in a Facebook post that it has contacted the Texas Department of State Health Services “because the numbers in Bosque county are much lower” than other counties in the Trauma Service Area.
Two COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Monday in Bosque County and 40 were hospitalized in McLennan County.
According to state data 64 or 16.8% of the 382 patients hospitalized Monday in the Trauma Service Area that includes the five counties have COVID-19.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Trauma Service Area that includes Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam and Mills counties, represent about 4.5% of total hospitalizations.
Statewide Monday at least 3,201 patients were hospitalized.
The total number of cases confirmed in the region rose Monday to 20,445, an increase of 208 since Friday.
According to state data Monday more than 290 area residents diagnosed with the virus have now died, including 85 Bell County residents, three more than the local count of 82; 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; 14 Hill County residents; eight Lampasas County residents; six Leon County residents; 13 Limestone County residents; 102 McLennan County residents, six fewer than the local count of 108; six Milam County residents, one fewer than the state count of five; 26 Navarro County residents, seven fewer than the local count of 33; and three Robertson County residents.
Statewide, 4,611 additional cases were reported Monday, 1,397 of them new, increasing the statewide total to 739,743.
Of the total, 67,570 cases were active and 657,407 patients have recovered.
The statewide death toll rose by just 11 Monday to 15,533.
Nearly 6.2 million tests have been administered statewide.
The Lab Test Reported Date positivity rate Monday was 8.66%.
Just two of the state’s 254 counties are free of the virus.
The Bell County Public Health District Monday reported a total of 5,428 cases, an increase of 61 since Friday.
Of the total 320 cases were active Monday and 5,026 patients have recovered.
The county reported 82 deaths Monday, an increase of one.
State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 85 deaths.
The state count, which includes Fort Hood personnel who live on post showed 5,473 cases Monday, an increase of 47 since Friday.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard Monday showed 28 current cases and 75 closed cases.
Texas A&M University-Central Texas Monday was reporting that seven students and four employees have tested positive since March.
The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed a total of 26 cases involving students and 68 involving employees have been confirmed since March 16. On Monday one active case involving a student was reported at Fowler Elementary School; one involving an employee and one involving a student were reported at Hay Branch Elementary School; one case involving an employee and one involving a student were reported at Meadows Elementary School; one case involving a student was reported at Montague Village Elementary School; two cases involving employees were reported at Sugar Loaf Elementary School; one case involving a student was reported at Willow Springs Elementary School; one case involving an employee was reported at Palo Alto Middle School; one case involving an employee was reported at Rancier Middle School; one case involving a student was reported at Smith Middle School; one case involving an employee and one involving a student were reported at Union Grove Middle School; one case involving a student was reported at Harker Heights High School; one case involving an employee and one involving a student were reported at Killeen High School, and one case involving an employee and two involving students were reported at Shoemaker High School
The Temple ISD’s online dashboard showed seven cases Monday including four at Temple High School, one at Lamar Middle School, and two at Kennedy-Powell Elementary
The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed one case at Belton Early Childhood School, one at Belton Middle School, one at South Belton Middle School and three at Belton High School.
Temple police and firefighters plan to take part in National Night Out celebrations on Oct. 6 while following health and safety guidelines amid the pandemic. Neighborhoods where more than 10 residents plan to gather must submit applications no later than seven days before the event.
A drive-thru state testing site will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday through Oct. 10 at the Killeen Special Events Center at 3301 South WS Young Dr.
Tests are free, but online registration is required.
Results should be provided by text or email within 48 to 96 hours.
The Central Texas Food Bank announced Monday it will distribute food from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 17 at Temple College.
The Killeen ISD will serve free breakfasts and lunches to all students on all campuses on scheduled school days not including holidays or weekends beginning Oct. 5 through Dec. 18, funded through U.S. Department of Agriculture waivers as part of the Coronavirus Relief Act. Students may go through cafeteria lines to receive free meals and virtual learners may continue to pick up meals without any documentation provided children are present. If the USDA discontinues the waiver before Dec. 18, the district will notify parents. Normal meal prices resume at the start of the spring term in January.
The Waco-McLennan County Health District Monday reported 61 new cases of the virus and the county’s 108th death, a 66-year-old man.
The additional cases increased the county’s total to 8,061.
The county reported the death of an 83-year-old woman on Saturday and the death of a 30-year-old woman on Sunday.
Forty patients were hospitalized Monday, 14 of them on ventilators.
Twenty nine of the 40 are McLennan County residents.
The most recent cases include one resident whose age ranges from 11 to 17; 14 whose ages range from 18 to 125; five whose ages range from 26 to 29; five in their 30s; seven in their 40s; 13 in their 50s; seven in their 60s; one whose age ranges from 75 to 79; and five who are 80 or older.
State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 102 deaths Monday.
Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 47 active cases Monday, 41 of them involving students. A total of 981 cases have been confirmed since Aug. 1. In the past seven days 24 cases have been confirmed for a positivity rate of 1.4%.
The McLennan Community College dashboard Monday showed 22 active cases, 21 of which involved students, and a total of 86 confirmed cases in the past three weeks, 73 of which involvefd students.
The Waco ISD dashboard Monday showed 11 cumulative cases involving students, 10 involving staff and three involving individuals classified as “other,” and no cases so far this week.
The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed one case involving a staff member at South Bosque Elementary School, two involving staff members at Spring Valley Elementary School; two cases involving students and one involving a staff member at Midway Middle School, and one case involving a student and one involving an employee at Midway High School.
Midway High School parents, however, were notified Monday of cases involving a 12th grade student, an 11th grade student and a 10th grade student.
The Central Texas Food Bank announced Monday it will distribute food from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 1 at Waco ISD Stadium.
Coyrell County reported 669 cases Monday, an increase of 20 since Friday.
Of the total 107 cases were active and 552 patients have recovered.
State data, which include Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates, showed 1,816 cases with 1,561 recoveries.
Among the county’s most recent cases are a Copperas Cove man in his 30s and a Copperas Cove man in his 20s.
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.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Monday was reporting 17 active cases involving inmates and 34 involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville where 173 inmates were on medical restriction and 17 were isolated; four cases involving inmates and 48 involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 33 inmates were medically restricted and four were medically isolated; four cases involving employees at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville; two cases involving inmates and five cases involving employees at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville where 99 inmates were medically restricted and two were medically isolated, and one case involving an inmate and four cases involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail in Gatesville where 67 inmates were on medical restriction and three inmates were medically isolated.
The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed one case involving an employee at Clement Parsons Elementary School and one case involving an employee and two involving students at Williams/Ledger Elementary School.
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 reported 568 confirmed cases Monday, an increase of two since Friday.
Of the total, 482 patients have recovered.
Thirteen 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 reported 1,294 confirmed cases and 389 probable cases Monday for a total of 1,683, an increase of 11 over Friday.
Of the total 168 cases were active and 1,482 patients have recovered.
The county also reported a 33rd death.
State data, based on birth certificates and county of residence, showed 26 deaths.
According to the latest figures Monday Bosque County was reporting 324 cases and 246 recoveries. Revised state data based on death certificates showed six deaths in the county.
Falls County had 279 confirmed cases Monday, an increase of seven since Friday. Of the total, 176 patients have recovered. State data showed five deaths from the virus. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Monday reported 20 cases involving inmates and five cases involving employees at the William P. Hobby Unit in Marlin where 555 inmates were on medical restriction and 20 were isolated. Marlin High School students returned to the classroom Monday after three days of remote learning, but Marlin Middle School students will remain at home until Oct. 5 after two more positive cases involving staff and two more involving students were reported.
Freestone County was reporting 410 cases Monday. Of the total, 389 patients have recovered. One case involving an inmate and one involving an employee were reported Monday 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 137 confirmed cases Monday, an increase of six since Friday. A total of 102 patients have recovered. Four residents have died of the virus, according to state data.
Hill County reported a total of 650 cases Monday and 433 recoveries. Fourteen residents diagnosed with the virus have died, according to state data. The Hill College dashboard Monday showed two active cases involving students at its Hillsboro campus. In the Hillsboro ISD one student at Hillsboro Elementary and one student at Hillsboro Junior High School had active cases of the virus Monday.
Lampasas County was reporting 250 cases Monday, an increase of two, with 186 recoveries. Eight residents diagnosed with the virus have died, according to state data.
Leon County reported 240 confirmed cases with 197 recoveries Monday. The virus has claimed six lives in the county, according to state data.
Milam County reported 498 cases Monday, just 11 of which were active. A total of 481 patients have recovered. The county was reporting six deaths Monday.
Mills County reported 59 cases with 40 recoveries Monday.
Robertson County was still reporting 321 confirmed cases Monday. Of that number, 55 cases were active and 260 patients have recovered. The virus has claimed three lives in the county. The Hearne Police Department’s annual Trunk or Treat Halloween event has been canceled because of COVID-19 concerns.
San Saba County reported 65 cases Monday and 41 recoveries.
(Megan Vanselow and Rissa Shaw contributed to this report)
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