State reports near-record number of new COVID-19 cases; 8 more die in Central Texas
(KWTX) - The state reported a near-record number of new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, the regional count rose by 364 to 36,867 and the virus has claimed eight more lives in Central Texas.
McLennan County health officials reported two additional deaths Tuesday and state data showed three more deaths in Bell County and new deaths in Coryell, Mills and San Saba counties as well.
The virus may have claimed as many as 566 lives in Central Texas, but according to state data Monday at least 559 have died including 129 Bell County residents, four more than the local count of 125; 16 Bosque County residents; 18 Coryell County residents, two more than the local count of 16; 15 Falls County residents; 14 Freestone County residents; eight Hamilton County residents; 22 Hill County residents; 11 Lampasas County residents; 17 Leon County residents; 20 Limestone County residents; 212 McLennan County residents, 10 fewer than the local count of 222; nine Milam County residents; eight Mills County residents; 41 Navarro County residents, five fewer than the local count of 46; nine Robertson County residents, and 10 San Saba County residents.
The Texas Department of State Health Services reported a total of 1,272,504 confirmed cases of the virus Tuesday including 15,103 new cases, just less than the one-day record increase of 15,182 on Dec. 1.
Of the total, 203,203 cases were active Tuesday, 1,050,416 patients have recovered, and 22,808 have died, an increase of 181 since Monday.
More than 11.5 million tests have been administered statewide.
The Lab Test Result Date positivity rate fell slightly to 13.39% Tuesday from 13.67% Monday, but hospitalizations rose by almost 240 to at least 9,028.
COVID-19 patients accounted for 28% of all hospitalizations and occupied 19% of available beds Monday in Trauma Service Area M, which includes Bosque, Falls, Hill, Limestone, well above the 15% ceiling, which triggers capacity reductions under orders Gov. Greg Abbott issued on Sept. 17 and Oct. 7.
Almost 6,000 doses of COVID-19 will be provided to three hospitals in Bell and McLennan counties during the first week of distribution, according to a schedule DSHS released Friday.
Under the state’s current plan, the first of the 224,250 doses Texas could receive as early next week will go to healthcare personnel likely to be exposed to or to treat people with the virus and to vulnerable residents of long-term care facilities.
The Bell County Public Health District reported 155 additional cases of the virus Tuesday, 57 of them new, to increase the county’s total to 9,674.
Of the total, 1,431 cases were active Tuesday, 8,243 patients have recovered and 125 have died.
On Monday the health district reported a record 369 new cases.
The county’s previous one-day high was 210 cases reported on Nov. 23.
“As we come closer to Christmas we want to implore all of our residents to exercise extreme caution by avoiding gatherings, masking, social distancing and staying home if you get sick,” health district Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said Tuesday.
“We want to encourage everyone to do everything that they can to reduce the burden on an already taxed healthcare system.”
Texas Department of State Health Services data, which includes Fort Hood personnel who live on post, showed 9,625 total cases and 129 deaths.
The Central Texas Food Bank will distribute food from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Dec. 19 at Temple College at 2600 South 1st St. in Temple.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard Tuesday showed four active cases of the virus and a total of 186 since Aug. 1.
Texas A&M University-Central Texas Tuesday showed three active cases involving students, and a total of 16 student cases and five employee cases since March. All students must complete online training on safe practices before returning for the spring semester.
The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed 294 cases involving students and 323 involving employees since March 16, and 56 student cases and 49 staff cases in the past seven days. The district Tuesday reported one active case involving a student and one involving an employee at Alice Douse Elementary; one involving an employee at Cedar Valley Elementary and cases involving two employees at Clarke Elementary; three students and an employee at Fowler Elementary; three students and two employees at Harker Heights Elementary; four students and two employees at Haynes Elementary; two employees at Iduma Elementary; a student at Ira Cross Elementary; a student at Maude Wood Elementary; a student and two employees at Maxdale Elementary; two students at Meadows Elementary; eight students at Montague Village Elementary; one student at Mountain View Elementary; three students and an employee at Oveta Culp Hobby Elementary; two employees at Peebles Elementary; three students and an employee at Reeces Creek Elementary; a student and an employee at Richard E. Cavazos Elementary; a student and an employee at Saegert Elementary; a student at Timber Ridge Elementary; eight employees at Trimmier Elementary; an employee at Veneable Village Elementary; a student and an employee at West Ward Elementary; an employee at Willow Springs Elementary; two students at Charles Patterson Middle School; a student and two employees at Liberty Hill Middle School; a student and an employee at Live Oak Ridge Middle School; a student at Manor Middle School; a student and an employee at Palo Alto Middle School; four students at Smith Middle School; a student at Union Grove Middle School; three students and four employees at Ellison High School; two employees at Gateway High School; two students and an employee at Harker Heights High School; a student at the KISD Career Center; five students and an employee at Shoemaker High School, and eight employees at non-campus facilities.
The Killeen ISD is offering free COVID-19 screening to students and employees from 7 a.m. to 11 .m. and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on regular school days at the former Nolan Middle School building at 505 Jasper Dr. in Killeen, using the 2nd Street entrance. Screening is by appointment and students younger than 18 require signed waivers from parents or guardians. The state-funded testing uses BinaxNOW nasal swab tests, which provide results in 15 minutes. Information is available online.
The Temple ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed nine cases at Temple High School; three at Lamar Elementary; one at Travis Elementary; two at Cater Elementary; one at Garcia Elementary, and two cases at Kennedy-Powell Elementary.
The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed four cases at the Belton Early Childhood School; three cases as Chisholm Trail Elementary; one at High Point Elementary; three at Miller Heights Elementary; one at Sparta Elementary; one at Tarver Elementary; three at North Belton Middle School; three at South Belton Middle School; 14 at Belton High School; two at Belton New Tech High School; two at Lake Belton High School, and three at non-campus facilities.
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 Tuesday, a 91-year-old woman and a 72-year-old woman, raising the virus’ toll in the county to 222.
State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 212 deaths.
The health district reported 109 additional cases of the virus, increasing the county’s total to 15,440.
Of that number, 893 cases were active Tuesday, 14,325 patients have recovered, and 107 were hospitalized, 23 of them on ventilators.
Seventy of the 107 are McLennan County residents.
The new cases include two involving residents younger that 1; six involving residents who range in age from 1 to 10; 11 who range in age from 11 to 17; 18 who range in age from j18 to 25, six who range in age from 26 to 29; 22 residents in their 30s; nine residents in their 40s; 13 in their 50s; five in their 60s; eight in their 70s, and nine who are 80 or older.
COVID-19 patients occupied 19% of available hospital beds and represented 28% of all hospitalizations Tuesday in the state Trauma Service Area that includes McLennan County.
The Fuzzy Friends New Year’s Eve fundraiser, the Barkin’ Ball, which was postponed because of the pandemic has been rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. on April 17, 2021 at the Extraco Events Center in Waco.
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.
For those experiencing disabling feelings of loss, change and sadness, short-term counseling is available through the Texans Recovering Together Crisis Counseling Program. A counselor can be requested using an online form or by calling 1-866-576-1101.
Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 69 active cases Tuesday, 50 involving students, 17 involving staff, one involving faculty and one involving a contractor. Over the past seven days, 44 cases have been confirmed for a clinical positivity rate of 2.9%. Since Aug 1, 1,628 cases have been confirmed. Fall semester on-campus instruction has mostly ended. Most on-campus instruction has ended. Spring classes begin on Jan. 19. Students, faculty and staff will be required to test negative for the virus before returning to campus for the spring semester.
The McLennan Community College dashboard showed 12 active cases Tuesday, four involving students. Over the past three weeks, 216 cases have been confirmed, 178 involving students and 38 staff.
The Waco ISD dashboard Tuesday showed 129 cumulative cases involving students, 147 involving staff and eight involving personnel designated as “other.” The district Tuesday reported one case at Hillcrest PDS; one at Lake Air Montessori; one at Parkdale Elementary; one at Provident Heights Elementary; one at South Waco Elementary; one at G.W. Carver Middle School; one at the Greater Waco Area Health Careers Academy; one at Indian Spring Middle School; four at Tennyson Middle School; two at University High School; three at Waco High School, and three at non-campus facilities. Students at Waco Tennyson Middle School will be learning remotely this week after four people who were on campus tested positive for COVID-19, the school’s principal, Matt Rambo, said in a letter to parents Monday evening. More than 20 employees will be out Tuesday after either testing positive or having close exposure with someone who tested positive, he said in the letter. On-campus instruction should resume next Monday. Students at Waco’s Lake Air Montessori School, however, are learning remotely this week because of the high number of staff members who are quarantining. On-campus instruction is scheduled to resume on Dec. 14. On-campus instruction at the school was suspended for a week on Nov. 5 and again on Nov. 18 through the Thanksgiving holiday last week.
The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed one active case involving a student and one involving an employee at Castleman Creek Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Hewitt Elementary; one involving a staff member at Speegleville Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Spring Valley Elementary; one involving an employee at River Valley Intermediate; three involving students and three involving employees at Woodgate Intermediate; five involving students and two involving staff at Midway Middle School, and nine involving students and five involving staff at Midway High School.
The Lorena ISD dashboard Tuesday showed four cases involving students at Lorena Primary; two involving students and two involving employees at Lorena Middle School, and seven involving students and two involving employees at Lorena High School.
The Mart ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed seven active cases at Mart High School, 41 of whose students were quarantined, and one at Mart Elementary, 15 of whose students were quarantined.
The McGregor ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed one active case at McGregor Primary; five active cases at McGregor Elementary; four at Isbill Junior High; and three at McGregor High School.
Coryell County was still reporting 1,427 active cases Tuesday.
Of the total, 480 cases were active, 921 patients have recovered, and 16 have died.
State data, which include Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates, showed 2,667 total confirmed cases, 2,238 recoveries, and an 18th death.
The latest confirmed cases include a Copperas Cove girl younger than 10; five female Copperas Cove residents ranging in age from 10 to 19; four Copperas Cove women in their 20s; two Copperas Cove men in their 20s; five Copperas Cove women in their 30s; three Copperas Cove men in their 30s; three Copperas Cove women in their 40s; three Copperas Cove women in their 40s; three Copperas Cove women in their 50s, a Copperas Cove man in his 50s; two Copperas Cove women in their 60s; two Copperas Cove men in their 60s; a Copperas Cove man in his 70s; a Copperas Cove woman who is 80 or older, and a Copperas Cove man who is 80 or older.
The Gatesville ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed 30 active cases at Gatesville High School, 26 involving students; seven cases at the junior high, five involving students; five cases involving students at the intermediate school; five cases at the elementary school, one involving a student; seven cases at the primary school, four involving students; four cases involving administration staff, and one involving a transportation staff member.
The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed nine cases involving students and four involving staff at Copperas Cove High School; six involving students and one involving an employee at Copperas Cove Junior High; five involving students and one involving an employee at S.C., Lee Junior High; one involving a student and two involving employees at Clements Parsons Elementary; two involving employees at Fairview Jewell Elementary; one involving an employee at House Creek Elementary; one involving a student and two involving employees at Williams/Ledger Elementary; one involving a student and six involving employees at Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy, and one involving an employee at a non-campus facility.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday showed 49 cases involving inmates and 21 cases involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville where 499 inmates were on medical restriction and 49 were isolated; one case involving an employee at the Hilltop Unit in Gatesville; two cases involving inmates and 16 involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 95 inmates were medically restricted and two were medically isolated; three cases involving employees at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville where 59 inmates were restricted; one case involving an inmate and two involving employees at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville where 100 inmates were restricted and one was isolated, and two cases involving inmates and eight involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail in Gatesville where 21 inmates were restricted and two were isolated.
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 841 cases Tuesday.
Of the total, 745 patients have recovered.
Fifteen residents diagnosed with the virus have died, according to state data.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported 37 cases involving employees at the William Hobby Unit in Marlin where 83 inmates were medically restricted, and 16 cases involving inmates and five involving employees at the Marlin Transfer Unit where 320 inmates were medically restricted and 17 were medically isolated.
Limestone County reported 850 cases Tuesday.
Of the total, 734 patients have recovered.
The virus has claimed the lives of 20 county residents, according to state data.
Navarro County reported 2,003 confirmed cases Tuesday, an increase of six, and 948 probable cases for a total of 2,951.
Of that number, 290 cases were active and 2,615 patients have recovered.
The virus has claimed 46 lives in the county, according to local data.
State data showed 41 deaths.
According to the latest figures Tuesday Bosque County reported 566 cases, an increase of 14, with 488 recoveries. State data based on death certificates and county of residence showed 16 deaths.
Freestone County reported a total of 547 cases Tuesday. Of the total 493 patients have recovered. Fourteen residents have died, according to state data. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported three cases involving employees at the William Boyd Unit in Teague.
Hamilton County reported 325 cases Tuesday, an increase of three. Of the total 262 patients have recovered. State data showed eight deaths.
Hill County reported a total of 1,268 cases Tuesday, an increase of nine, and 1,082 recoveries. Twenty two residents have died, according to state data. The Hill College dashboard Tuesday showed one active student case on the Hillsboro campus. The Hillsboro ISD Tuesday showed one student case at Franklin Elementary School; seven student and two employee cases at Hillsboro Elementary; four student and two employee cases at Hillsboro Intermediate; six student and two employee cases at Hillsboro Middle School, and 14 student and four employee cases at Hillsboro High School.
Lampasas County reported 451 cases Tuesday and 363 recoveries. Eleven residents have died.
Leon County reported 474 cases Tuesday and 404 recoveries. State data showed 17 deaths.
Milam County reported 715 confirmed cases Tuesday, 16 more than on Tuesday. Of the total, 46 cases were active, eight patients were hospitalized and 660 have recovered. Nine residents have died.
Mills County reported 176 cases Tuesday and 117 recoveries. State data showed an eighth death from the virus. The county’s first COVID-19 death was reported on Oct. 21.
Robertson County was reporting 557 confirmed cases Tuesday and 472 recoveries. State data showed nine deaths.
San Saba County reported 313 cases Tuesday and 290 recoveries. A 10th resident has died, state data showed. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported two cases involving inmates and eight involving employees Tuesday at the San Saba Transfer Unit where 21 inmates were medically restricted and two were isolated.
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