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Two Central Texas counties report first deaths from COVID-19

Two Central Texas counties that remained free of COVID-19 until mid-May both recorded their...
Two Central Texas counties that remained free of COVID-19 until mid-May both recorded their first deaths from the virus Wednesday. (File)(Courtesy Photo)
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 1:44 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2020 at 6:03 PM CDT
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(KWTX) – Mills and San Saba counties, both of which remained free of COVID-19 until mid-May, recorded their first deaths from the virus Wednesday.

The first case of the virus wasn’t confirmed in San Saba County, population 6,100, until May 17.

The first case in Mills County, population 5,000, was reported the next day.

State data, based on death certificates and county of residence showed one death in each county Wednesday.

McLennan County health officials reported two more deaths Wednesday.

The Central Texas death toll may now be as high as 376, but according to state data Tuesday at least 354 area residents diagnosed with the virus have now died, including 96 Bell County residents, one more than the local count of 95; 10 Bosque County residents; 13 Coryell County residents, two 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; 129 McLennan County residents, 13 fewer than the local count of 142; seven Milam County residents; one Mills County resident; 31 Navarro County residents, eight fewer than the local count of 39; four Robertson County residents, and one San Saba County resident

The statewide death toll rose by 114 Wednesday to 17,201.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 5,252 additional cases of the virus Wednesday, 4,991 of them new, increasing the total confirmed in the state to 838,809.

Of the total, 84,538 cases were active Wednesday and 739,140 patients have recovered.

Hospitalizations rose again Wednesday to at least 4,782, an increase of more than 200 over 4,568 on Tuesday, the largest number since July.

Almost 7.5 million tests have been administered statewide and the Lab Test Date positivity rate rose again Wednesday to 8.72%

In the two Trauma Service Areas that include most of Central Texas, more than 100 patients were in hospitals.

The virus is present in all but one of the state’s 254 counties.

BELL COUNTY

The Bell County Public Health District reported 25 additional cases of the virus Wednesday raising the county’s total to 6,077.

Of the total, 448 cases were active and 5,534 patients have recovered.

“We did see a fair number of new recoveries, which led to a decline in the number of active cases and a corresponding decline in the incidence rate which is exactly what we want to see,” health district Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said.

The virus has claimed 95 lives in the county, according to local data.

State data, which include Fort Hood personnel living on post showed a total of 6,158 cases and 96 deaths.

A temporary state COVID-19 testing site will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Downtown Killeen Acts & Activities Center at 711 North 4th St. Registration may be completed in advance online. Participants must provide either a mobile phone number or valid email address. The test involves a mouth swab. Participants should avoid eating or drinking at least 15 minutes prior to testing.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard Wednesday showed eight active cases of the virus and a total of 136 since Aug. 1.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas Wednesday showed no active cases and a total of eight involving students and four involving staff since March.

The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed a total of 82 cases involving students and 120 involving staff since March 16. The district Wednesday reported one case involving an employee and one involving a student at Alice Douse Elementary; one case involving a student at Clear Creek Elementary; one case involving a student at Harker Heights Elementary; three cases involving employees at Meadows Elementary; one involving an employee at Montague Village Elementary; one involving an employee at Mountain View Elementary; three involving students at Peebles Elementary; one involving an employee at Richard E. Cavazos Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Eastern Hills Middle School; one involving an employee at Liberty Hill Middle School; one involving a student at Rancier Middle School; one involving a student at Smith Middle School; two involving students at Union Grove Middle School; four involving students and two involving employees at Harker Heights High School; four involving students and one involving an employee at Killeen High School; one involving an employee at the KISD Career Center; one involving a student at Shoemaker High School, and three involving employees at non-campus facilities,two of them in transportation.

The Temple ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed one case at Lamar Middle School and one at Raye-Allen Elementary.

The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed one case at High Point Elementary; one case at Leon Heights Elementary; one case at Pirtle Elementary; two cases at Southwest Elementary; one case at Belton High School; one case at Belton New Tech High School; one case at Lake Belton High School and one at a non-campus facility.

The health district has created a guide for safe holiday practices that’s available online.

BELL COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

MCLENNAN COUNTY

The Waco-McLennan County Health District announced two more deaths from the virus Wednesday, a 46-year-old woman and a 72-year-old woman, increasing the county’s death toll to 142.

State data showed 127 deaths.

The health district also reported 59 additional confirmed cases Wednesday, increasing the county’s total to 9,632.

Of that number, 526 cases were active Wednesday and 8,947 patients have recovered.

Forty nine patients were hospitalized Tuesday, 13 of them on ventilators.

Forty two of the 49 are McLennan County residents.

Hospitalizations have dropped over the past several days from 12.28% of active COVID-19 cases on Sunday to 9.37% on Tuesday.

“The pandemic has cost businesses a lot of money and lots of job loss, but it’s also costing people their lives. We are trying to find a balance. I know a lot of people have sacrificed but those sacrifices are saving people’s lives,” Dr. Marc Elieson of Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center said during a virtual news conference Wednesday.

The new cases involve three residents ranging in age from 1 to 10; one ranging in age from 10 to 17; 14 ranging in age from 18 to 25; three ranging in age from 26 to 29; 10 residents in their 30s; five in their 40s, seven in their 50s; five in their 70s; seven who are 80 or older, and one whose age was unknown.

Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver Wednesday urged residents to be careful as they celebrate Halloween.

“Strike a balance here,” he said.

“We can’t cancel too many things or we will lose people’s support and lose this game in the long run. I strongly encourage you to not do traditional trick or treating and find new traditions but we will not be banning trick or treating,” he said.

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.

The surge testing has confirmed 137 case of the virus so far, and 41 of them were asymptomatic.

Baylor University’s online dashboard Wednesday showed 62 active cases, 46 involving students and 16 involving staff members, and a total of 1,194 cases since Aug. 1. Over the past seven days, 30 cases have been confirmed for a seven-day positivity rate of 2%.

The McLennan Community College dashboard showed six active cases Wednesday, one involving an employee and five involving students. In the past three weeks, 118 cases have been confirmed, 104 involving students and 14 involving employees.

The Waco ISD dashboard Wednesday showed a cumulative total of 43 students, 45 staff members and four classified as “other” have tested positive for the virus since Sept. 28. The district reported one case Wednesday at Dean Highland Elementary; one case at Parkdale Elementary, and one case at Tennyson Middle School.

The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed two cases involving employees at Castleman Creek Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at South Bosque Elementary; two involving students at Speegleville Elementary; two involving students at Spring Valley Elementary; one involving an employee at River Valley Intermediate; three involving students at Woodgate Intermediate, and one involving an employee and six involving students at Midway High School.

The Mart ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed no active cases and a total of eight since Aug. 19.

The McGregor ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed three active cases at McGregor Primary and one at McGregor Elementary. The McGregor Primary School campus is closed this week and students are learning online after contact tracing led to the closure of two classrooms and the quarantine of 13 staff members. On-campus instruction is scheduled to resume on Oct. 26.

MCLENNAN COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

CORYELL COUNTY

Coryell County reported 784 cases Wednesday

Of the total, 129 cases were active and 644 patients have recovered.

State data, which include Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates in the county, showed a total of 1,937 active cases and 1,828 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 Wednesday was reporting 15 active cases involving inmates and 15 involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville where 73 inmates were on medical restriction and 15 were isolated; six cases involving inmates and six involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 165 inmates were medically restricted and six were medically isolated; no active cases at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville where 107 inmates were on restriction; one case involving an employee at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville, and one case involving an inmate and five cases involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail in Gatesville where 80 inmates were on medical restriction and two inmates were medically isolated.

The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard  Wednesday showed two cases involving students and three involving employees at Copperas Cove High School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Copperas Cove Junior High, and one case involving a student at Fairview Jewell 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.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

FALLS COUNTY

Falls County reported 639 confirmed cases Wednesday and 484 recoveries.

The William P. Hobby Unit in Marlin remains on lockdown.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Wednesday reported 27 active cases involving inmates and 32 involving employees at the unit where 442 inmates were on medical restriction and 27 were isolated. Eight cases involving inmates and 11 involving employees were reported at the Marlin Transfer Facility where 151 inmates were medically restricted and 10 were medically isolated.

The virus has claimed five lives in the county.

LIMESTONE COUNTY

Limestone County reported 659 cases Wednesday.

Of the total, 569 patients have recovered.

The virus has claimed 16 lives in the county.

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.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

NAVARRO COUNTY

Navarro County reported 1,404 confirmed and 495 probable cases of the virus Wednesday for a total of 1,899.

Of the total, 87 cases were active Wednesday, three patients were hospitalized and 1,773 have recovered.

The county’s death toll stands at 39, according to local data.

State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 31 deaths.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

OTHER COUNTIES

According to the latest figures Wednesday Bosque County was reporting 385 confirmed cases and 332 recoveries. Revised state data based on death certificates and county of residence showed 10 deaths in the county.

Freestone County reported a total of 440 cases Wednesday. Of the total 414 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 123 inmates were on medical restriction and one was medically isolated.

Hamilton County was reporting 182 cases Wednesday. Of the total 144 patients have recovered. Four residents have died.

Hill County reported a total of 762 cases Wednesday and 679 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, three involving students at Hillsboro High School and one involving an employee at an administration and operations facility. The Hillsboro ISD has notified parents that it’s ending online instruction except for students for are quarantined or have approved medical exceptions. Franklin Elementary School, Hillsboro Elementary School, Hillsboro Intermediate School and Hillsboro Junior High School will return fully to in-person instruction on Nov. 2. Hillsboro High School will make the change on Jan 6.

Lampasas County was reporting 298 cases Wednesday and 256 recoveries. Nine residents diagnosed with the virus have died.

Leon County reported 319 cases Wednesday. Ten patients have died and 250 have recovered.

Milam County reported 542 cases Wednesday. Of the total, nine cases were active and 526 patients have recovered. One patient was hospitalized Wednesday. Seven residents have died.

Mills County reported 71 cases and 59 recoveries Wednesday. The county’s first death from the virus was reported Wednesday.

Robertson County was reporting 452 confirmed cases Wednesday. Of the total, 139 cases were active and 309 patients have recovered. The county is reporting four deaths from the virus. The Bremond City Hall lobby is closed to the public because of an increase in cases of the virus in the community. The Bremond ISD is extending online instruction until Oct. 23 after 11 positive tests for COVID-19 last Wednesday.

San Saba County reported 112 cases Wednesday and 72 recoveries. The county reported its first death from the virus Wednesday. The San Saba Transfer Facility was still locked down Wednesday. The TDCJ Wednesday reported 120 cases at the unit involving inmates and six involving employees. A total of 315 inmates are on medical restriction and 121 are medically isolated.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

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