Central Texas COVID-19 case counts climb, schools close, deaths and hospitalizations rise
(KWTX) – At least 443 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed since Friday in Central Texas, at least 11 more area residents have died and nearly a dozen schools have temporarily closed because of the virus.
Some local health officials fear the post-Halloween spike in cases may be a harbinger of worse to come as Thanksgiving approaches.
“With this kind of a spike from Halloween we are certainly apprehensive about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and we implore our residents to take every available measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Bell County Health District Director Dr. Amanda Robinson-Chadwell said Monday.
Additional deaths were reported Monday in Bell, Bosque, Falls, Leon, McLennan, Mills and San Saba counties.
The Central Texas death toll may now be as high as 428, but according to state data Monday at least 411 area residents diagnosed with the virus have now died including 105 Bell County residents, one more than the local count of 103; 14 Bosque County residents; 14 Coryell County residents, three more than the local count of 11; eight Falls County residents; five Freestone County residents; seven Hamilton County residents; 16 Hill County residents; nine Lampasas County residents; 13 Leon County residents; 16 Limestone County residents; 153 McLennan County residents, 11 fewer than the local count of 164; nine Milam County residents; three Mills County residents; 34 Navarro County residents, six fewer than the local count of 40; four Robertson County residents, and five San Saba County residents.
The total number of confirmed cases of the virus in Central Texas rose from 26,915 Friday to 27,358 Monday.
In the two Trauma Service Areas that include most of the region, at least 129 patients were hospitalized Monday.
Statewide more than 6,100 patients were in hospitals.
The state reported 6,735 additional cases Monday, 3,816 of them new, raising the statewide total to 936,019, an increase of 20,480 since Friday.
The statewide death toll rose by 26 Monday to 18,769, an increase of 180 since Friday.
The Lab Test Report Date clinical positivity rate was 12.22% Monday, up from 10.94% on Friday.
An outbreak in the El Paso area is responsible for some of the increase.
The U.S. has confirmed more than 10 million COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data Monday.
Average daily case counts are increasing in 48 states and deaths are up 18% over the past two weeks.
Amid in the increases, Pfizer announced Monday that an interim analysis suggests its vaccine may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19.
The announcement doesn’t mean a vaccine is imminent.
Texas, meanwhile, is providing $202 million in emergency SNAP food benefits this month as the number of COVD-19 cases in Texas continues to rise. The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides food assistance to about 1.4 million low-income families and individuals in Texas. Residents in need may apply online.
The Bell County Public Health District reported a total of 6,903 confirmed cases Monday, an increase of 149 since Friday.
Of the total, 616 cases were active Monday and 6,287 patients have recovered.
The virus has claimed the lives of 103 residents, according to local data.
State data, which include Fort Hood personnel who live on post, showed an additional seven additional cases Thursday, for a total of 6,860.
State data showed 104 deaths.
“We were expecting a post-Halloween spike any day and we saw it hit today with 124 new cases received today alone,” health district Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said.
A spike in the incidence rate led health district officials to elevate the county’s COVID-19 threat level to Level 2, which is significant uncontrolled community transmission.
“We have shown that we can do this with diligent use of social distancing measures, masking, avoidance of gathering, and staying home when sick. Please be vigilant and, if we all work together, we can drive these numbers back down,” Roibison-Chadwell said.
Rogers High School and Middle School students temporarily returned to remote learning Monday after positive COVID-19 tests on campus. The district says its data do not suggest that the cases were contracted school, but because the test positivity rate reached 2%, the campuses will be closed for deep-cleaning in accordance with Bell County Health District guidelines. In-person instruction continued at Rogers Elementary School.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard Monday showed eight active cases of the virus and a total of 153 since Aug. 1.
Texas A&M University-Central Texas Monday showed no active cases and a total of nine involving students and four involving staff since March.
The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed a total of 128 cases involving students and 152 involving staff since March 16 and 20 involving students and 10 involving staff in the past seven days. The district Monday reported one case involving an employee at Alice Douse Elementary; one case involving a student at Cedar Valley Elementary; two cases involving employees at Fowler Elementary; one case involving a student at Maude Moore Wood Elementary; one case involving a student and one involving an employee at Mountain View Elementary; one case involving an employee at Richard E. Cavazos Elementary; one involving a student at Timber Ridge Elementary; one involving a student at Trimmier Elementary; one involving a student at Venable Village Elementary; one case involving an employee at Charles Patterson Middle School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Liberty Hill Middle School; one case involving a student an employee at Rancier Middle School; one case involving a student at Smith Middle School; five cases involving students at Ellison High School; one involving a student at Harker Heights High School; one involving a student at Killeen High School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at the KISD Career Center; two involving students and one involving an employee at Shoemaker High School, and two involving transportation employees.
The Temple ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed four cases at Temple High School; one at Bonham Middle School; one at Travis Middle School, and one at Garcia Elementary.
The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed one case at Chisholm Trail Elementary; one case at High Point Elementary; one case at Pirtrle Elementary; one case at South Belton Middle School; six cases at Belton High School; one at Belton New Tech High School, and two at Lake Belton High School.
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 from the virus Monday, an 87-year-old woman and a 68-year old man, increasing the county’s death toll to 164.
State data showed 153 deaths.
The health district reported 11,289 confirmed cases of the virus Monday, an increase of 372 since Friday.
On Saturday 176 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, 99 of which were from ongoing surge testing. Sixty one patients were hospitalized, 12 of them on ventilators.
Eighty nine more cases were confirmed on Sunday, 61 from ongoing surge testing.
The most recent cases include two residents younger than one; four who range in age from 1 to 10; 26 who range in age from 11 to 17; 33 who range in age from 18 to 25; 12 who range in age from 26 to 29; 35 residents in their 30s; 26 residents in their 40s; 22 residents in their 50s; nine residents in their 60s; two residents in their 70s, and five 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.
The health district has contracted with Aardvark Mobile Health to provide mobile COVID-19 tests, using a small truck that can accommodate two testing lines with the capacity to administer as many as 500 tests daily. Additional details are available online.
Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 87 active cases of the virus Monday, 74 involving students, five involving staff, seven involving a faculty and one involving a contractor. Sixty cases have been confirmed over the past seven days for a seven-day clinical positivity rate of 2.9%. Since Aug. 1, 1,262 cases have been confirmed.
The McLennan Community College dashboard showed 16 active cases Monday, four involving employees and 12 involving students. Over the past three weeks, 143 cases have been confirmed, 125 involving students and 18 involving employees.
The Waco ISD dashboard Monday showed a cumulative total of 72 students, 75 staff members and six classified as “other” have tested positive for the virus since Sept. 28. The district reported three active cases Monday at Waco High School.
Both Waco High and University High School have shifted to remote instruction through the end of the week because of the virus. Officials expect students to return to campus on Nov. 16.
Fifth through 12th grade students at Waco’s Rapoport Academy also shifted temporarily to remote instruction Monday. Students will return to campus on Nov. 30 after the Thanksgiving holiday. Both of Rapoport’s elementary campuses are continuing normal operations.
Earlier Indian Spring Middle School shifted to online instruction in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19 until at least Nov. 13.
On-campus instruction has also been temporarily suspended at G.W. Carver Middle School until Nov. 30 and at Lake Air Montessori Magnet School until next Wednesday.
The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed one case involving a student and one involving an employee at Hewitt Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at South Bosque Elementary; one involving an employee at Speegleville Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Spring Valley Elementary; one involving a student at Woodway Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at River Valley Intermediate; one involving a student and two involving employees at Midway Middle School; 11 involving students and three involving employees at Midway High School, and one involving an employee at a non-campus facility.
A message sent Monday to Midway High School parents said three 11th grade students, two 10th grade students, three ninth grade students and three staff members have also tested positive.
The Mart ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed no active cases and 11 total since Aug. 19.
The McGregor ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed one active case at McGregor Primary; four at McGregor Elementary; one at Isbill Junior High and 11 at McGregor High School. High school students shifted to remote instruction temporarily Monday. “Moving to remote instruction through the end of next week will provide an opportunity for a full reset and allow us to reopen on November 16,” Superintendent James Lenamon announced in a letter to parents Friday. The school will be deep-cleaned this week.
The Lorena ISD dashboard Monday showed two cases involving students and two involving staff at Lorena Primary School; one involving a student and two involving employees at Lorena Middle School and three involving students at Lorena High School.
Coryell County reported 907 confirmed cases Monday.
Of the total, 210 cases were active and 684 patients have recovered.
Of the total, 188 cases were active and 684 patients have recovered.
State data, which include Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates in the county, showed a total of 2,067 cases and 1933 recoveries.
The county’s latest cases include a Copperas Cove boy younger than 10; a female Copperas Cove resident who ranges in age from 10 to 19; a male Cove resident who ranges in age from 10 to 19; four Copperas Cove women in their 20s; one Copperas Cove man in his 30s; one Copperas Cove woman in her 30s; three Copperas Cove men in their 40s; three Copperas Cove men in their 50s; a Copperas Cove woman in her 60s; a Copperas Cove woman in her 70s; and two Copperas Cove women and a Copperas Cove man who are 80 or older.
The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed 25 active cases at Copperas Cove High School, five of them involving employees and 20 involving students; one involving a student and one involving an employee at S.C. Lee Junior High; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Hettie Halstead Elementary; one involving a student at House Creek Elementary; two involving students at Williams-Ledger Elementary; one involving an employee at Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy, and one involving an employee at the District Training Facility.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Monday showed two cases involving inmates and 15 cases involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville where 165 inmates were on medical restriction and two were isolated; two cases involving employees at the Hilltop Unit in Gatesville; two cases involving inmates and three involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 310 inmates were medically restricted and two were medically isolated; three cases involving employees at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville where 10 inmates were medically restricted; one case involving an inmate and one involving an employee at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville where 39 inmates were on restriction and one was isolated, and three cases involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail in Gatesville, where 73 inmates were medically restricted.
State data show 14 deaths in the county, but according to local data the virus has claimed 13 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 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.
Falls County reported 709 cases Monday.
Of the total, 640 patients have recovered.
State data showed two more deaths in the county, raising the virus' toll to eight.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Monday reported 31 cases involving employees at the William P. Hobby Unit in Marlin, and six cases involving inmates and six involving employees at the Marlin Transfer Facility where 89 inmates were medically restricted and six were isolated.
Limestone County reported 699 cases Monday.
Of the total, 643 patients have recovered.
RQ Sims Intermediate School in Mexia is shifting to remote instruction after officials learned of additional adult cases of COVID-19 on campus, the Mexia ISD said in a message to parents Monday. No student active student cases were reported on campus. The school will be closed for the rest of the week and on-campus instruction will resume on Nov. 16i.
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.
Navarro County Monday reported 1,527 confirmed cases of the virus, an increase of 19 since Friday, and 607 probable cases for a total of 2,134.
Of the total 156 cases were active Monday and 1,938 patients have recovered.
Eight patients were hospitalized Monday.
The county’s death toll is 40, according to local data.
State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 34 deaths.
According to the latest figures Monday Bosque County was reporting 434 cases and 385 recoveries. State data based on death certificates and county of residence showed two more deaths for a total of 14.
Freestone County reported a total of 471 cases Monday. Of the total 448 patients have recovered. Five residents have died, according to state data. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported four cases involving employees Monday at the William R. Boyd Unit in Teague where 82 inmates were medically restricted.
Hamilton County was reporting 226 cases Monday. Of the total 183 patients have recovered. State data showed seven deaths in the county.
Hill County reported a total of 929 cases Monday and 772 recoveries. Sixteen residents have died. The Hill College dashboard showed no active cases at the school’s Hillsboro campus. The Hillsboro ISD reported one case involving a student at Hillsboro Elementary; three cases involving students at Hillsboro Intermediate; six cases involving students and one involving an employee at Hillsboro Junior High and seven involving students at Hillsboro High School.
Lampasas County reported 333 cases Monday, and 290 recoveries. Nine residents diagnosed with the virus have died.
Leon County reported 400 cases Monday and 315 recoveries. State data showed a 13th death in the county.
Milam County reported 572 confirmed cases Monday. Twelve were active and 546 patients have recovered. Two patients were hospitalized. Nine residents diagnosed with the virus have died.
Mills County reported 94 cases and 72 recoveries Monday. State data showed a third death from the virus. The county’s first death from the virus was reported on Oct. 21.
Robertson County was still reporting 492 cases on Monday. Of the total, 124 cases were active and 368 patients have recovered. The county is reporting four deaths from the virus.
San Saba County reported 256 cases Monday and 106 recoveries. A fifth resident has died. One inmate and four employees had active cases of the virus Monday at the San Saba Transfer Unit where 44 were on medical restriction and five were medically isolated.
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