COVID-19 claims 4 more lives in Central Texas; statewide case count continues to rise
(KWTX) - Four more Central Texas residents diagnosed with COVID-19 have died and the total number of cases confirmed in the region increased to 23,.076 Wednesday as state health officials reported 95 more deaths and an additional 4,667 confirmed cases of the virus, 4,564 of them new, increasing the statewide total to 805,082.
Two additional deaths were reported Wednesday in McLennan County and state data showed additional deaths in Bosque and Coryell counties, as well.
The virus has now claimed 16,717 lives in Texas.
The Central Texas death toll may be as high as 356, but according to state data Tuesday at least 340 area residents diagnosed with the virus have now died, including 94 Bell County residents, two more than the local count of 92; nine Bosque County residents; 13 Coryell County residents, one more than the local count of 11; five Falls County residents; four Freestone County residents; four Hamilton County residents; 15 Hill County residents; nine Lampasas County residents; nine Leon County residents; 15 Limestone County residents; 123 McLennan County residents, eight fewer than the local count of 131; seven Milam County residents; 29 Navarro County residents, eight fewer than the local count of 37; and four Robertson County residents.
At least 4,131 patients were hospitalized statewide Wednesday, about 80 more than on Tuesday, and in the two Trauma Service Areas that include most of Central Texas, just more than 100 were in hospitals, about the same as on Tuesday.
Hospitalizations in both regions remained below the 15% threshold set by Gov. Greg Abbott in his executive order allowing counties to opt in to a plan to reopen bars at 50% capacity beginning on Wednesday.
Both Bell and McLennan counties are allowing bars to reopen under the plan.
Officials have declined to allow bars to reopen in Dallas, Harris, Bexar, El Paso, Nueces, Webb and the Lower Rio Grande counties as well as in most West Texas counties.
The reopening coincides with the start of an extended early voting period in Central Texas and around the state.
Thousands lined up Tuesday outside area voting sites and long lines were in evidence again on Wednesday.
More than 7 million tests have been administered statewide and the Lab Test Date clinical positivity rate was 7.52% Wednesday, up slightly from 7.32% Tuesday.
Just one of the state’s 254 counties remains free of the virus.
The Bell County Public Health District reported 28 additional cases of the virus Wednesday, raising the county’s total to 5,853.
Of the total, 407 cases were active Wednesday and 5,354 patients have recovered.
State data, which includes Fort Hood personnel who live on post, showed 5,931 total cases Wednesday and 94 deaths.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard, which hasn’t been updated since Oct. 9, still showed four current cases and a total of 124 since Aug. 1 on Wednesday.
Texas A&M University-Central Texas, which hasn’t updated totals since Oct. 9, still showed a total of eight cases involving students and four involving employees since March and no active cases Wednesday.
The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed a total of 57 cases involving students and 101 involving staff since March 16. The district Wednesday reported one case involving an employee at Ira Cross Elementary; one involving a student at Meadows Elementary; one involving a student at Montague Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Mountain View Elementary; two involving students at Peebles Elementary; one involving a student at Skipcha Elementary; one involving a student at Audie Murphy Middle School; one involving an employee at Early College High School; four involving employees and four involving students at Killeen High School; one involving a student at Harker Heights High School; three involving employees and five involving students at Killeen High School; one involving a student at the KISD Career Center; one involving an employee and two involving students at Shoemaker High School, and three involving employees at non-campus facilities.
Starting next Monday the Killeen ISD will allow principals on each campus to decide whether allowing teachers to specialize in remote or in-person instruction, which could lead to some schedule changes. “The district recognizes the tremendous workload that has been placed on employees during this unprecedented time,” KISD spokeswoman Taina Maya said.
The Temple ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed three cases at Temple High School, one at Lamar Middle School, one at Bonham Middle School, and one at Western Hills Elementary.
The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed one case at Belton Early Childhood School; two cases at Chisholm Trail Elementary; two cases at Southwest Elementary; one case at Tarver Elementary; one case at North Belton Middle School; four cases at South Belton Middle School and two cases at Belton High School.
A temporary state COVID-19 testing site will remain open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Killeen Special Events Center at 3301 South WS Young Dr.
The Central Texas Food Bank will distribute food from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 17 at Temple College.
The health district has created a guide for safe holiday practices that’s available online.
The Waco-McLennan County Health District reported two more deaths Wednesday, a 66-year-old woman and an 89-year-old woman, increasing the virus' toll in the county to 133.
Forty four percent of those who’ve died in the county were nursing home residents, officials said.
The health district also reported 62 additional cases of the virus Wednesday, increasing the total number of cases confirmed in the county to 9,187.
Of the total, 527 cases were active Wednesday and 8,500 patients have recovered.
Sixty patients were hospitalized Wednesday, 17 of them on ventilators.
Fifty of the 60 are McLennan County residents.
The latest cases involve five residents who range in age from 1 to 10; nine who range in age from 11 to 17; 10 who range in age from 18 to 25; four who range in age from 26 to 29; 10 in their 30s; five in their 40s; four in their 50s; eight in their 60s; five in their 70s, and two who are 80 or older.
Free COVID-19 test sites are in operation in the Waco area after the federal government provided 40,000 test kits to McLennan County as part of the effort to stem the spread of the virus. Additional details are available online.
Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 101 active cases Wednesday and a total of 1,143 cases since Aug. 1. Over the past seven days, 56 cases have been confirmed for a seven-day positivity rate of 3.5%. Among the active cases are 32 involving student athletes, 28 of them football players. Fourteen football staff members have also tested positive. Baylor’s homecoming game Saturday against Oklahoma State has been postponed until Dec. 12 after a “significant rise in COVID-19 cases,” Athletic Director Mack Rhoades announced Sunday night. Team practice has been suspended until Saturday. The Waco-McLennan County Health District has given the university 5,000 COVID-19 tests for students who live off-campus. Tests will be distributed from Oct. 19 to Oct. 30. The university will continue regular surveillance testing in addition to the off-campus surge tests.
The McLennan Community College dashboard showed seven active cases Wednesday, all of them involving students, and a total of 112 confirmed cases over the past three weeks, 98 of them involving students.
The Waco ISD dashboard Wednesday showed a cumulative total of 37 students, 42 staff members and four others classified as “other” have tested positive for the virus since Sept. 8. The district reported one case Tuesday at Dean Highland Elementary, one case at J.H. Hines Elementary; one case at Kendrick Elementary; one case at Mountainview Elementary; one case at Parkdale Elementary; one case at Cesar Chavez Middle School; one case at Indian Spring Middle School, and three cases at Waco High School.
University High School, Waco High School, the Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy and the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy will be closed through Friday in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
University High School’s football on Oct. 16 game against Aledo has been postponed. All other high school district games, meets and matches scheduled from Oct. 9 to Oct. 16 have been postponed and all other high school athletic events have been canceled.
The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed one active case involving a student at Hewitt Elementary; three involving employees at South Bosque Elementary; one involving a student at Speegleville Elementary; two involving students and one involving an employee at Spring Valley Elementary; two involving students at Woodgate Intermediate; two involving students at Midway Middle School; two involving employees and 11 involving students at Midway High School, and two involving employees at non-campus facilities.
The Valley Mills ISD has notified parents and students that remote learning will be suspended effective Oct. 20 “for any student who has demonstrated poor attendance, a lack of instructional engagement, or receives a failing grade for any course in the first six weeks period.”
Nine school districts and two private schools in the county are reporting a total of 72 active cases, 50 of which involve students, officials said during a virtual news conference Wednesday.
Coryell County was still reporting 747 cases Wednesday.
Of the total, 126 cases were active and 610 patients have recovered.
State data, which include Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates in the county, showed a total of 1,914 cases Wednesday and 1,798 recoveries.
State data showed a 13th death in the county Wednesday, but according to local data the virus has claimed 11 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 Wednesday was reporting 19 active cases involving inmates and 22 involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville where 70 inmates were on medical restriction and 20 were isolated; six cases involving inmates and 44 involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 314 inmates were medically restricted and eight were medically isolated; three cases involving employees at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville; five cases involving employees at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville where 124 inmates were medically restricted, and three cases involving inmates and four cases involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail in Gatesville where 46 inmates were on medical restriction and three inmates were medically isolated.
The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed one case involving a student and one involving an employee at Copperas Cove High School' one case involving an employee at Copperas Cove Junior High, and one case involving a student at Martin Walker Elementary.
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.
The Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation Department Monday announced the cancellation of the 2020 Fall-O-Ween Festival scheduled for Oct. 24 at City Park.
Falls County 620 confirmed cases Wednesday, an increase of 10.
Of the total 258 patients have recovered.
The William P. Hobby Unit in Marlin remains on lockdown.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Wednesday reported 250 active cases involving inmates and 38 involving employees at the unit where 893 inmates were on medical restriction and 256 were isolated. Three cases involving inmates and nine involving employees were reported at the Marlin Transfer Facility where 112 inmates were medically restricted and four were medically isolated.
The virus has claimed five lives in the county.
Limestone County reported a total of 639 cases Wednesday, an increase of 16.
Of the total, 545 patients have recovered.
Fifteen 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 was still reporting 1,359 active and 454 probable cases of the virus Wednesday for a total of 1,813. Of the total, 112 cases were active Wednesday and 1,664 patients have recovered.
Six were hospitalized.
The county reported 37 deaths.
State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 29 deaths.
According to the latest figures Wednesday Bosque County was reporting 379 confirmed cases and 311 recoveries. Revised state data based on death certificates showed a ninth death in the county. The Valley Mills ISD has notified parents and students that remote learning will be suspended effective Oct. 20 “for any student who has demonstrated poor attendance, a lack of instructional engagement, or receives a failing grade for any course in the first six weeks period.”
Freestone County reported a total of 431 cases Wednesday. Of the total 406 patients have recovered. Four residents have died. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported three cases involving inmates and one involving an employee at the William R. Boyd Unit in Teague where 206 inmates were on medical restriction and four were medically isolated.
Hamilton County was reporting 176 cases Wednesday. Of the total 132 patients have recovered. Four residents have died.
Hill County reported a total of 735 cases Wednesday and 602 recoveries. Fifteen residents have died. The Hill College dashboard Wednesday showed two active cases involving students at the school’s Hillsboro campus. The Hillsboro ISD Wednesday reported one case involving a student at Hillsboro Junior High, one involving a student at Hillsboro High School and one involving an employee at an administration and operations facility.
Lampasas County was reporting 292 cases Wednesday and 235 recoveries. Nine residents diagnosed with the virus have died. The Lampasas ISD is among eight Texas school systems participating in a pilot program to conduct rapid COVID-19 testing of employees and students, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday. The districts will be provided with rapid antigen tests that will be administered to students, with written permission from parents, and to teachers and staff members who choose to participate, in the COVID-19 Rapid Testing Pilot Program, Abbott said.
Leon County reported 297 cases Wednesday, an increase of 11. Nine patients have died and 226 have recovered.
Milam County was reporting 530 cases Wednesday, an increase of 10. A total of 527 patients have recovered and seven have died. The Buckholts ISD shifted to remote learning through Oct. 16 after a student tested positive for the virus who was last on campus on Oct. 8.Those in close contact must remain off campus for as long as 14 days. Students return to campus on Oct. 19. Facilities will be deep cleaned and disinfected.
Mills County reported 70 cases and 55 recoveries Wednesday.
Robertson County had 413 confirmed cases Wednesday. Of that number 108 cases were active and 301 patients have recovered. Four residents have died. The Bremond ISD is extending online instruction until Oct. 23 after 11 positive tests for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Extracurricular activities have been rescheduled, Bremond High School Principal K.L. Groholski said in a letter to parents Wednesday. “All students need to continue to check their Google Classrooms each day to read the teacher’s directions, answer the teacher questions for attendance purposes, watch any instructional videos and complete assignments,” Groholski said. The district canceled classes and sent students home to learn remotely last Thursday and Friday after a jump in COVID-19 cases.
San Saba County reported 103 cases Wednesday and 60 recoveries.
Copyright 2020 KWTX. All rights reserved.