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COVID-19 claims 400 more lives in Texas, 14 more in Central Texas

The state reported another 400 deaths from COVID-19 Friday while the virus claimed another 14...
The state reported another 400 deaths from COVID-19 Friday while the virus claimed another 14 lives in Central Texas. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 6:16 PM CST
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(KWTX) – The Texas Department of State Health Services reported another 400 deaths from COVID-19 Friday, increasing the statewide toll to 31,450, while the virus claimed 14 more lives in Central Texas.

DSHS didn’t indicate how many of the 400 deaths were new.

The agency says the highest number of new deaths reported on a single day is 278 on July 23, 2020.

The virus may have claimed as many as 921 lives in Central Texas, but according to state data Friday, at least 919 have died including 196 Bell County residents, eight more than the local count of 188; 20 Bosque County residents; 39 Coryell County residents, 17 more than the local count of 22; 22 Falls County residents; 28 Freestone County residents; 20 Hamilton County residents; 43 Hill County residents; 17 Lampasas County residents; 28 Leon County residents; 32 Limestone County residents; 335 McLennan County residents, 14 more than the local count of 318; 18 Milam County residents, four more that the local count of 14; 14 Mills County residents; 69 Navarro County residents, two fewer than the local count of 71; 23 Robertson County residents, and 15 San Saba County residents.

Another 526 confirmed cases of the virus were reported Friday in Central Texas, boosting the regional total to 55,495.

DSHS reported 21,990 additional confirmed cases statewide Friday, 21,343 of them new, raising the statewide total to 1,816,535.

Of the total, 372,557 cases were active Friday and 1,649,735 patients have recovered.

At least 13,953 patients were in Texas hospitals Friday, about 100 fewer than the 14,052 hospitalized Thursday.

In Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam and Mills counties, at least 249 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Friday accounting for about 27% all hospitalizations and filling about 22% of available beds.

At least 184 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Friday in Trauma Service Area M, which includes McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Hill and Limestone counties, accounting for about 38% of all hospitalizations and occupying about 30% of available beds, well above the 15% ceiling that triggers capacity reductions under orders Gov. Greg Abbott issued on Sept. 17 and Oct. 7.

Freestone, Leon, Navarro and Robertson counties are also in Trauma Service Areas in which hospitalization rates exceed 15%.

About 15.4 million molecular tests have been administered statewide.

The Lab Test Date positivity rate Friday was 17.43%, down slightly from 17.73%, on Thursday.

Experts say a positivity rate of 5% or less indicates the virus is under control.

VACCINATIONS

In Texas, to which about 2 million doses of the vaccine have been allocated and to which about 1.7 million doses have been shipped, 959,419 residents have received their first dose and 152,547 have received both doses for a total of about 1.1 million, the Department of State Health Services reported Friday.

McLennan and Bell counties are among more than two dozen mass vaccination hubs established in Texas in an effort to accelerate delivery of the vaccine.

The Waco-McLennan County Health District this week administered the 1,500 doses with which it was provided and is awaiting another shipment.

Residents may text the word “vaccine” to 22828 and provide email addresses to receive notification of the next shipment of vaccine.

The City of Waco has activated its Public Information Hotline to allow residents who don’t have access to email or the internet to get the latest updates on testing sites, vaccine availability and other information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number is (254) 750-5606.

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District has created an online survey available from Wednesday through Jan. 20 to better understand our community’s interest in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and common concerns that might impact local vaccination rates.

Copperas Cove has also posted an online survey in order to accurately judge the amount of vaccine needed in the community.

The Bell County Public Health District has been administering the 3,900 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine it received by appointment only at the Killeen Community Center at 2201 East Veterans Memorial Blvd. and at a second site at 220 West Avenue D in Temple. The sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. No walk-in patients will be accepted. More information is available on the Bell County Public Health District’s website.

Anyone unable to make an appointment online may call the Bell County COVID-19 vaccination hotline starting Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at (254)-933-5203.

The Central Texas VA has scheduled a vaccination clinic this weekend at the Olin E. Teague Veterans Medical Center for enrolled veterans who are 75 or older, but appointments are required. The clinic runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or as long as the vaccine supply lasts at Gold Team, Primary Care at 1901 Veterans Memorial Dr. in Temple. Eligible veterans may make reservations by calling 1-800-423-2111 and pressing #2. Walk-ins will be accepted until 2 p.m. and vaccinated based on availability.

Long wait times are expected, the VA said. Veterans must bring proper ID to verify VA enrollment and schedule the second dose, which will be administered about 21 days after the first.

Baylor University, which received 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine during Christmas break, that were administered to Health Center staff, emergency responders, medical personnel and School of nursing faculty and students who work in hospital settings, is developing plans for Phase 1B of administration to members of the university community who are older than 65 or who have certain chronic medical conditions once additional doses are received.

Now eligible for vaccination are those covered by Phase 1A of the state’s vaccination distribution plan, including frontline healthcare workers and residents and employees of long-term care facilities and those covered by Phase 1B of the plan including residents 65 and older and residents 16 and older with medical conditions that put them at risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

The Texas Department of State Health Services vaccination dashboard Friday showed that in Bell County, with 265,191 residents who are 16 and older, 8,171 residents have received a first dose and 1,731 have received both, while in McLennan County, with 198,642 residents 16 and older, 7,330 residents have received a first dose and 844 have received both.

The dashboard Friday showed the administration of 558 initial and 15 secondary vaccinations in Bosque County; 1,095 initial and 76 secondary vaccinations in Coryell County; 244 initial and 20 secondary vaccinations in Falls County; 378 initial vaccinations and one secondary vaccination in Freestone County; 1,531 initial and two secondary vaccinations in Hamilton County; 930 initial vaccinations and 41 secondary vaccinations in Hill County; 297 initial and 38 secondary vaccinations in Lampasas County; 335 initial and six secondary vaccinations in Leon County; 539 initial and 11 secondary vaccinations in Limestone County; 869 initial and 20 secondary vaccinations in Milam County; 249 initial and four secondary vaccinations in Mills County; 998 initial and 31 secondary vaccinations in Navarro County; 361 initial and 14 secondary vaccinations in Robertson County, and 70 initial and two secondary vaccinations in San Saba County.

The Central Texas VA will hold a COVID-19 vaccine clinic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Olin E. Teague Veterans Medical Center at 1901 Veterans Memorial Dr. in Temple for enrolled veterans who are 75 and older. To make an appointment, veterans must call 1-800-423-2111 and press #2. Walk-ins will be accepted until 2 p.m. and vaccinated based on vaccine availability. Long wait times are expected.

Veterans must bring proper identification with them to verify VA enrollment and schedule their second dose; administered approximately 21 days after the first.

Veterans can get up-to-date information on VA’s VA COVID-19 vaccine webpage, which launched on Dec. 11, may sign up for regular updates on the vaccine on the vaccine on the VA’s Stay Informed page, and may contact their primary care providers through www.myhealth.va.gov or by calling 1-800-423-2111.

Coryell Health received 600 doses on Dec. 23, but won’t receive additional vaccine this week and officials aren’t sure when the next shipment will arrive or how many doses it will include.

The first doses were administered to frontline healthcare workers, first responders, essential workers and residents of Coryell Health RehabLiving and Assisted & Independent Living at The Oaks, as well as Hillview Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Residents who want to be added to the list for the vaccine should call (254) 248-6381.

VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

BELL COUNTY

The Bell County Public Health District Friday reported 159 additional cases of the virus, 105 of them new, raising the county’s total to 16,406.

Of the total, 2,903 cases were active Friday and 13,563 patients have recovered.

Local data showed 188 deaths, but state data showed 196, an increase of three.

In state Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell County, at least 249 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Friday accounting for about 27% all hospitalizations and filling about 22% of available beds, sufficiently high to trigger capacity reductions under orders Gov. Greg Abbott issued on Sept. 17 and Oct. 7.

Temple’s city hall, public library, historic post office, Parks and Recreation administration building, Public Works Service Center, Human Resources Department, and Utility Business Office and Municipal Court will remain closed to walk-in traffic through Feb. 28 because of COVID-19 infection rates, City Manage Brynn Myers said Friday. Services at the facilities remain available online, by phone, by appointment, at curbside or by drive-thru, she said. City employees who are able to work remotely will continue to do so, the city said. Essential employees will adhere to safety guidelines including social distancing, regular hand washing and the use of face coverings.

Temple Fire & Rescue will host drive-thru COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at Fire Station No. 4 at 411 Waters Dairy Rd.; from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 19 and Jan. 20 at Fire Station No. 2 at 1710 East Avenue H.; from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 21 and Jan. 22 at Fire Station No. 7 at 8420 West Adams Ave.; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 28 and Jan. 29 at Fire Station No. 1 at 210 North 3rd St. Tests are free. Residents may register online or on site. More information is available online.

A temporary drive-thru COVID-19 testing site will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 19 and Jan. 23 at the Killeen Special Events Center at 3301 South WS Young Dr. Online registration is required.

Testing is available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays in January at Nolanville’s Central Fire Station at 84 North Main St. Registration is not required.

The Central Texas Food Bank will distribute food from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday at Temple College at 2600 South 1st St.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard Friday showed a cumulative total of 208 cases since Aug. 1 and 18 current active cases. The school’s spring semester started Monday.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas Friday reported two active cases involving students and 26 positive tests for the virus since March, 20 involving students. All students must complete online training on safe practices before returning for the spring semester, which starts on Monday.

The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed more than 1,100 cases since March 16, 517 involving students and 625 involving staff, and 36 involving students and 31 involving staff in the past seven days. The dashboard showed one active case Friday involving a student at Alice Douse Elementary; two involving employees at Bellaire Elementary; one involving a student and two involving employees at Cedar Valley Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Clear Creek Elementary; three involving students and one involving an employee at Clifton Park Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Haynes Elementary; one involving an employee at Iduma Elementary; three involving students and one involving an employee at Ira Cross Elementary; one involving a student at Mountain View Elementary; one involving a student at Peebles Elementary; one involving a student at Reeces Creek Elementary; two involving students and one involving an employee at Richard E. Cavazos Elementary; one involving a student and two involving employees at Saegert Elementary; four involving students and two involving employees at Trimmier Elementary; one involving an employee at Willow Springs Elementary; two involving students at Eastern Hills Middle School; one involving a student at Live Oak Ridge Middle School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Nolan Middle School; one involving a student at Palo Alto Middle School; two involving students and two involving employees at Smith Middle School; two involving students at Union Grove Middle School; four involving students and two involving employees at Ellison High School; one involving an employee at Gateway High School; four involving students and two involving employees at Harker Heights High School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Killeen High School; one involving a student at Pathways; one involving a student at Shoemaker High School, and eight involving Transportation Department employees.

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 Friday showed two cases at Bonham Middle School, one at Travis Middle School; one at Jefferson Elementary; one at Raye-Allen Elementary, and one at Edwards Elementary School.

The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed one case at Belton Early Childhood School; one at Charter Oak Elementary; three at Chisholm Trail Elementary; one at High Point Elementary; 11 at Lakewood Elementary; one at Leon Heights Elementary; three at Miller Heights Elementary; two at Pirtle Elementary; two at Southwest Elementary; three at Sparta Elementary; two at Tarver Elementary; five at Belton Middle School; six at Lake Belton Middle School; five at North Belton Middle School; nine at South Belton Middle School; nine at Belton High School; one at Belton New Tech High School; nine at Lake Belton High School, and eight at non-campus facilities.

BELL COUNTY VACCINE REGISTRATION

BELL COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

MCLENNAN COUNTY

The Waco-McLennan County Health District reported three more deaths of residents diagnosed with the virus Friday, a 67-year-old man, an 81-year-old man, and an 87-year-old man, increasing the virus’ toll to 321.

State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 335 deaths, an increase of six.

The health district also reported 211 additional confirmed cases of the virus Friday, increasing the county’s total to 21,809.

Of the total, 1,272 cases were active Friday, 20,216 patients have recovered, and 155 were hospitalized, 25 of them on ventilators.

Of the 155, 100 were McLennan County residents.

At least 184 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Friday in the Trauma Service Area that includes McLennan County, accounting for about 39% of all hospitalizations and occupying about 29% of available beds, which is well above the 15% ceiling that triggers capacity reductions under orders Gov. Greg Abbott issued on Sept. 17 and Oct. 7.

The new cases involve 10 residents ranging in age from 1 to 10; 15 ranging in age from 11 to 17; 24 ranging in age from 18 to 25; 18 ranging in age from 26 to 29; 30 residents in their 30s; 31 in their 40s; 58 in their 50s; 22 in their 60s; 13 in their 70s, and 10 who are 80 or older.

The City of Waco has activated its Public Information Hotline to allow residents who don’t have access to email or the internet to get the latest updates on testing sites, vaccine availability and other information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number is (254) 750-5606.

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. 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.

The Central Texas Food Bank will distribute food from 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 28 at Waco ISD Stadium at 1401 South New Road.

Harmony Science Academy in Waco shifted to online instruction Wednesday after a staff member tested positive for the virus. In-person instruction resumes next week.

Baylor University’s online dashboard Friday showed 235 active cases including 180 involving students, 25 involving staff, 13 involving faculty and 15 involving contractors. One hundred five positive tests have been administered in the past seven days. A total of 2,159 cases have been confirmed since Aug. 1. Spring classes begin next week. Students, faculty and staff will be required to test negative for the virus before returning to campus for the spring semester and must undergo weekly COVID-19 testing during the spring term.

The McLennan Community College dashboard Friday showed 21 active cases, 15 involving students. In the past three weeks, 273 cases have been confirmed, 213 of which involve students. The school’s spring semester started on Monday. The college says it will continue to offer classes in blended-hybrid and online formats.

The Waco ISD dashboard Friday showed cumulative totals of 212 students, 233 employees, and 10 classified as “other” have been diagnosed with the virus since Sept. 8. The dashboard showed two active cases at Brook Avenue Elementary; one active case at Crestview Elementary; one at J.H. Hines Elementary; one at Kendrick Elementary; four at Cesar Chavez Middle School; one at the Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy; one at Tennyson Middle School; six at Waco High School; two at the Wiley Opportunity Center; and four involving employees, both at non-campus facilities.

The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed one case involving a student and three involving employees at Castleman Creek Elementary; one involving an employee at Hewitt Elementary; three involving students and three involving employees at South Bosque Elementary; five involving students at Woodway Elementary; nine involving students at River Valley Intermediate; two involving students and one involving an employee at Woodgate Intermediate; two involving students and one involving an employee at Midway Middle School; eight involving students and one involving an employee at Midway High School, and one involving an employee at a non-campus facility.

The Lorena ISD dashboard Friday showed one case involving a student at Lorena Primary; two cases at Lorena Elementary, one involving a student; two cases at Lorena Middle School, both involving students, and two cases involving employees at Lorena High School.

The Mart ISD’s online dashboard showed no active cases Friday.

The McGregor ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed one case at McGregor Primary School; six at McGregor Elementary; three at Isbill Junior High, and two at McGregor High School.

MCLENNAN COUNTY VACCINE INFORMATION

MCLENNAN COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

CORYELL COUNTY

Coryell County reported a total of 2,401 confirmed cases Friday.

Of the total, 417 cases were active, 1,962 patients have recovered, and 22 have died.

State data, which includes Texas prison inmates, showed 4,123 confirmed and 116 probable cases.

Of the total, 3,423 patients have recovered and 39 have died, according to state data.

In state Trauma Service Area L, which includes Coryell County, at least 249 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Friday, accounting for about 27% all hospitalizations and filling almost 22% of available beds.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has advised the county that the TSA’s hospitalization rate is sufficiently high to trigger capacity reductions, bar closings and suspension of elective surgery under orders Gov. Greg Abbott issued on Sept. 17 and Oct. 7.

Coryell Health continues to offer elective surgeries despite the restrictions because the hospital has “available beds and adequate supplies,” which allows for an exemption under the governor’s orders.

The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed 17 cases involving students and four involving employees at Cove High School; one involving an employee at Crossroads High; seven involving students and four involving employees at Cove Junior High; two involving students and two involving employees at S. C. Lee Junior High; three involving students and three involving employees at Clements Parsons Elementary; two involving students and one involving an employee at Fairview Jewell Elementary; one involving a student and one involving a student at Hettie Halstead Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at House Creek Elementary; two involving students and one involving an employee at Williams/Ledger Elementary; two involving students and two involving employees at Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy, and two involving employees at non-campus facilities.

The Gatesville ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed 10 cases Gatesville High School, eight involving students; two at Gatesville Junior High, both involving students; five cases at Gatesville Intermediate, four involving students; eight at Gatesville Elementary, four involving students; two cases at Gatesville Primary, both involving students; one involving an administration employee; one involving a transportation employee, and one involving a maintenance employee.

The Linda Woodman State Jail in Gatesville remained on lockdown Friday with 98 active cases involving inmates, 14 involving employees, 496 inmates on restriction and 98 inmates in medical isolation.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Friday reported three cases involving inmates and 21 involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville where 178 inmates were on medical restriction and three were isolated; 22 cases involving inmates and 16 involving employees at the Hilltop Unit in Gatesville where 285 inmates were restricted and 22 were isolated; 220 cases involving inmates and 69 involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 1,336 inmates were medically restricted and 223 were medically isolated; 49 cases involving inmates and 20 involving employees at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville where 67 inmates were isolated and 49 were isolated, and two cases involving inmates and 16 involving employees at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville where 84 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.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

FALLS COUNTY

Falls County had 1,246 confirmed cases Friday, an increase of 20, and 63 probable cases.

Of the total, 1,127 patients have recovered and a 22nd has died, according to state data.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Friday was reporting 20 cases involving inmates and 18 cases involving employees at the William Hobby Unit in Marlin where 781 inmates were restricted and 20 were isolated, and eight cases involving employees at the Marlin Transfer Unit where 33 inmates were restricted.

LIMESTONE COUNTY

Limestone County had 1,165 confirmed cases Friday, an increase of 16, and 244 probable cases.

Of the total, 1,221 patients have recovered.

State data showed 32 deaths.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

NAVARRO COUNTY

Navarro County Friday had 3,005 confirmed and 1,793 probable cases, according to state data.

Of the total, 3,763 patients have recovered.

Local data showed 71 deaths.

State data showed 69 deaths.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

OTHER COUNTIES

Bosque County had 799 confirmed and 180 probable cases of the virus Friday, according to state data. At least 758 patients have recovered and a 20th resident has died.

Freestone County had 664 confirmed and 314 probable cases of the virus Friday, according to state data. Of the total, 890 patients have recovered and 28 residents have died. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Friday was reporting one case involving an inmate and five involving employees at the William Boyd Unit in Teague where 74 inmates were medically restricted and one was isolated.

Hamilton County had 503 confirmed cases Friday, an increase of 21, and 39 probable cases, according to state data. At least 451 patients have recovered and a 20th resident of the county has died.

Hill County had 1,958 confirmed and 411 probable cases of the virus Friday, according to state data. At least 2,115 patients have recovered and two more residents have died, increasing the virus’ toll in the county to 43. The Hill College dashboard showed three active cases involving students and one involving an employee on the Hill County campus. Spring classes begin on Monday. The Hillsboro ISD dashboard Friday showed one case involving an employee at Hillsboro Intermediate and one involving an employee at Hillsboro High School.

Lampasas County had 794 confirmed and 99 probable cases of the virus Friday, according to state data. At least 706 patients have recovered and 17 residents have died.

Leon County had 645 confirmed and 224 probable cases of the virus Friday, according to state data. At least 728 patients have recovered and 28 residents have died.

Milam County, whose data hasn’t been updated since Jan. 7, was still reporting 936 confirmed and 641 probable cases of the virus Friday. At least 1,424 patients have recovered and 18 have died, according to state data.

Mills County had 282 confirmed and 24 probable cases of the virus Friday according to state data, which showed 251 patients have recovered and 14 residents have died.

Robertson County had 789 confirmed and 251 probable cases of the virus Friday according to state data, which showed 865 patients have recovered and 23 have died. Local data showed 10 deaths.

San Saba County had 371 confirmed and 108 probable cases Friday, according to state data, which showed at least 400 patients have recovered and 15 have died. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Friday was reporting five cases involving inmates and two involving employees at the San Saba Transfer Unit where 47 inmates were restricted and seven were medically isolated.

VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

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