COVID-19: Five more deaths, 180 new cases reported in Central Texas
(KWTX) - Five more deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 181 new cases of the virus were reported Thursday in Central Texas while the state added 4,700 more cases, a second Central Texas prison unit was locked down and one county in the state prepared to tighten restrictions to stem a surge.
The total number of confirmed cases of the virus in Central Texas rose to at least 23,257 Thursday and new deaths were reported in McLennan, Leon, Limestone and Navarro counties.
The Central Texas death toll may be as high as 361, but according to state data Tuesday at least 343 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; 10 Leon County residents; 16 Limestone County residents; 124 McLennan County residents, eight fewer than the local count of 132; seven Milam County residents; 29 Navarro County residents, 10 fewer than the local count of 39; and four Robertson County residents.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has locked down the San Saba Transfer Facility because of an outbreak of the virus and the William P. Hobby prison unit in Marlin, with almost 300 active cases, remains on lockdown, as well.
The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 4,726 additional cases of the virus Thursday, 4,615 of them newly confirmed, raising the statewide total to 809,808.
Of the total, 76,720 cases are active Thursday and 716,015 patients have recovered
Ninety five more Texas residents diagnosed with the virus have died, raising the statewide death toll to at least 16,812.
The virus is surging in El Paso County, where officials are tightening restrictions, ordering nonessential businesses to cut back to 50% capacity and again barring visits to elder care facilities.
The total number of cases in the county is approaching 30,000.
Gov. Greg Abbott has deployed medical personnel and equipment to the region in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus.
At least 4,263 patients were hospitalized statewide Thursday, about 130 more than on Wednesday, and in the two Trauma Service Areas that include most of Central Texas, just more than 100 were in hospitals.
Hospitalizations as a percentage of total hospital beds 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, but COVID-19 hospitalizations as a percentage of all hospitalizations rose to nearly 16% Thursday in the region that includes McLennan County, which could affect restaurant operating capacity.
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.
More than 7.1 million tests have been administered statewide and the Lab Test Date clinical positivity rate was 7.69% Thursday, up slightly from 7.52% Wednesday.
Just one of the state’s 254 counties remains free of the virus.
The Bell County Public Health District reported 56 additional cases of the virus Thursday, raising the county’s total to 5,909.
Of the total, 443 cases were active Thursday and 5,374 patients have recovered.
The health district reports 92 deaths.
Health officials are concerned about a “marked increase” in cases.
“Perhaps that will not continue to be a trend, but that is concerning and it remains important to remind the public of the steps that they can take to reduce COVID-19 risk,” health district Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said Thursday.
“As always the major reminders are: socially distance, mask if you cannot, wash your hands, stay home if you are sick and be extra vigilant if you have a compromised immune system and/or are over the age of 60.”
State data, which includes Fort Hood personnel on post, showed 28 additional cases in the county Thursday, raising the total to 5,959.
State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 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 Thursday.
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 Thursday.
The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Thursday showed a total of 63 cases involving students and 105 involving staff since March 16. The district Thursday reported one case involving a student at Cedar Valley Elementary; one case involving an employee at Ira Cross Elementary; one case involving an employee and one involving a student at Meadows Elementary; one involving a student and two involving employees 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 a student at Charles Paterson Middle School; one involving a student at Liberty Hill Middle School; one involving an employee at Early College High School; two involving students at Harker Heights High School; five involving students at Killeen High School; one involving an employee and two involving students at Shoemaker High School, and five involving employees at non-campus facilities, four of them in transportation.
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 Thursday showed five cases at Temple High School, and one at Cater Elementary.
The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Thursday 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; two cases at Belton High School, and one at Belton New Tech 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. Saturday 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 another death from COVID-19 Thursday, an 87-year-old man who was the 132nd resident of the county diagnosed with the virus to die.
The health district also reported 56 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, increasing the total to 9,243.
Of that number, 526 cases were active Thursday and 8,585 patients have recovered.
Sixty six patients were hospitalized Thursday, 16 on ventilators.
Fifty four of the 66 are McLennan County residents.
A week ago 45 patients were hospitalized, five on ventilators.
The most recent cases include one resident whose age ranges from 11 to 17; 14 who range in age from 18 to 25; three who range in age from 26 to 29; 13 in their 30s, three in their 40s, five in their 50s, five in their 60s; 10 in their 70s; one who’s 80 or older, and one whose age wasn’t available Thursday.
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.
An additional COVID-19 test site will be open on Friday and Saturday in downtown Waco where about 10,000 saliva-based tests will be available. The free tests will be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Heritage Square. Those who want to be tested should avoid eating, drinking or brushing their teeth for at least 30 minutes before the test is administered. Officials recommend residents register online in advance. The free tests are in addition to 30,000 self-administered nasal swab tests now available at several sites in the city. Information about times and locations is available online.
Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 114 active cases Thursday, an increase of 13, and a total of 1,160 since Aug. 1. Eighty of the active cases involve students, 27 involve staff members, four involve faculty and three involve university contractors. Over the past seven days 56 cases have been confirmed for a seven-day positivity rate of 2.8%. 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 six active cases Thursday, five involving students and a total of 113 confirmed cases over the past three weeks, 99 of them involving students.
The Waco ISD dashboard Thursday 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 Thursday 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; one case at Tennyson 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 game against Aledo Friday night 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 Thursday showed one active case involving a student at Hewitt Elementary; two 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; one involving an employee at River Valley Intermediate; two involving students at Woodgate Intermediate; one involving a student 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.”
Coryell County was still reporting 747 cases Thursday.
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 1,925 active cases Thursday and 1,805 recoveries.
State data show 13 deaths in the county, 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 Thursday was reporting 15 active cases involving inmates and 22 involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville where 101 inmates were on medical restriction and 16 were isolated; seven cases involving inmates and 44 involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 312 inmates were medically restricted and 10 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 38 inmates were on medical restriction and three inmates were medically isolated.
The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Thursday showed two cases involving employees 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 had 623 confirmed cases Thursday.
Of the total 262 patients have recovered.
The William P. Hobby Unit in Marlin remains on lockdown.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Thursday reported 249 active cases involving inmates and 39 involving employees at the unit where 890 inmates were on medical restriction and 252 were isolated. Three cases involving inmates and 10 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 645 cases Thursday, an increase of six.
Of the total, 549 patients have recovered.
The virus has claimed the life of a 16th resident of the county, according to state data Thursday.
The first resident to die 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 14 new cases of the virus Thursday and two additional deaths.
The county now has 1,373 confirmed cases and 472 probable cases of the virus for a total of 1,845.
Of the total, 92 cases were active Thursday and 1,714 patients have recovered.
Four patients were hospitalized Thursday.
The county’s death toll now stands at 39, according to local data.
State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 29 deaths.
According to the latest figures Thursday Bosque County was reporting 380 confirmed cases and 316 recoveries. Revised state data based on death certificates showed nine deaths 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 434 cases Thursday. Of the total 408 patients have recovered. Four residents have died. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported one case involving an inmate and one involving an employee at the William R. Boyd Unit in Teague where 206 inmates were on medical restriction and two were medically isolated.
Hamilton County was reporting 176 cases Thursday. Of the total 134 patients have recovered. Four residents have died.
Hill County reported a total of 742 cases Thursday and 633 recoveries. Fifteen residents have died. The Hill College dashboard Thursday showed two active cases involving students at the school’s Hillsboro campus. The Hillsboro ISD Thursday reported one case involving a student at Hillsboro Junior High, three involving students at Hillsboro High School and one involving an employee at an administration and operations facility.
Lampasas County was reporting 292 cases Thursday and 241 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 Thursday. 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 306 cases Thursday, an increase of nine. Ten patients have died and 235 have recovered.
Milam County reported 534 cases Thursday, an increase of four. Of the total, 13 cases were active and 514 patients have recovered. Three patients were hospitalized Thursday. Seven residents 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 Thursday.
Robertson County had 452 confirmed cases Thursday, an increase of 39. Of the total, 139 cases were active and 309 patients have recovered. The county is reporting four deaths from the virus. 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 Thursday and 61 recoveries. The San Saba Transfer Facility was locked down Thursday. The TDCJ Thursday reported 25 cases at the unit involving inmates and one involving an employee. A total of 301 inmates are on medical restriction and three are medically isolated.
Copyright 2020 KWTX. All rights reserved.