Historic freeze disrupts COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, reporting in Central Texas
(KWTX) - The historic February freeze disrupted COVID-19 vaccination efforts, testing and reporting in Central Texas, but the virus clearly didn’t take a snow day, according to available Texas Department of State Health Services data Friday.
More than 450 additional cases of the virus have been confirmed since Feb. 12 in Central Texas, raising the regional total to at least 71,648.
In the past week, at least 42 more Central Texas residents diagnosed with the virus have died, raising the regional death toll to at least 1,357 including 319 Bell County residents, 28 Bosque County residents; 70 Coryell County residents; 28 Falls County residents; 40 Freestone County residents; 24 Hamilton County residents; 88 Hill County residents; 26 Lampasas County residents; 36 Leon County residents; 57 Limestone County residents; 421 McLennan County residents; 37 Milam County residents; 20 Mills County residents; 112 Navarro County residents; 32 Robertson County residents, and 19 San Saba County residents.
The statewide death toll Friday was 40,986, an increase of 819 since Feb. 12, and the total number of confirmed cases of the virus in Texas was at least 2,236,776, an increase of almost 29,800 since Feb. 12.
Hospitalizations statewide Friday totaled 7,757, 850 fewer than on Feb. 12.
In Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam and Mills counties, at least 104 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 were hospitalized Friday, accounting for about 11% all hospitalizations and filling about 9% of available beds.
At least 71 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Friday in Trauma Service Area M, which includes McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Hill and Limestone counties, accounting for about 14% of all hospitalizations and filling about 11% of available beds.
Hospitalization rates in both TSAs have dropped below the level that triggered bar closures, capacity reductions and halted elective surgeries under orders Gov. Greg Abbott issued on Sept. 17 and Oct. 7.
The statewide Lab Test Date positivity rate Friday was 11.32%, down slightly from 11.62% on Feb. 12.
A positivity rate of 5% or less generally indicates the virus is contained, experts say.
The Bell County Public Health District temporarily halted updates of its local COVID-19 dashboard this week because of disruptions caused by the winter storm.
“Based on the data we have it does appear that case numbers continue to decline, but we plan to update that data beginning next week once normal reporting resumes after this cold weather event,” health district Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said Friday.
DSHS data Friday showed a total of 20,148 confirmed cases of the virus in the county.
Of the total, according to state data, 1,072 cases were active Friday, 19,259 patients have recovered, and 319 have died, an increase of 15 since Feb. 12.
The Waco-McLennan County Health District also halted local updates because of the storm.
According to state data Friday, 24,268 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the county.
At least 269 cases were active Friday, according to state data, 23,607 patients have recovered, and 421 have died, an increase of seven since Feb. 12.
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.
Outdoor testing sites in the county were temporarily closed because of the freezing weather this week.
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 Foodbank will distribute free food from 10 a.m. to noon on Feb. 25 at Waco ISD Stadium at 1401 South New Road in Waco.
Note: On Feb. 1, 2021, the Texas Department of State Health Services added a total of 6,552 previously unreported confirmed and probable cases of the virus to the regional count including 237 confirmed and 49 probable cases in Bosque County; 2,087 confirmed and 41 probable cases in Coryell County; 385 confirmed and 57 probable cases in Falls County; 351 confirmed and 171 probable cases in Freestone County; 70 confirmed and five probable cases in Hamilton County; 985 confirmed and 96 probable cases in Hill County; 362 confirmed and 80 probable cases in Lampasas County; 321 confirmed and 45 probable cases in Leon County; 433 confirmed and 88 probable cases in Limestone County; 82 confirmed and 16 probable cases in Mills County; 428 confirmed and 59 probable cases in Robertson County and 83 confirmed and 21 probable cases in San Saba County.
Coryell County had a total of 6,477 confirmed and 235 probable cases of the virus Friday, according to DSHS data.
Of the total, 6,465 patients have recovered, and 70 have died.
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 had 1,840 confirmed and 156 probable cases Friday.
State data showed 1,804 patients have recovered.
The virus has claimed 28 lives in the county, state data showed.
Limestone County had 2,025 total confirmed cases and 536 probable cases Friday.
At least 2,172 patients have recovered and 56 have died, according to state data.
Navarro County had 3,345 confirmed and 2,130 probable cases of the virus Friday according to state data, unchanged from Feb. 12.
Of the total, 5,157 patients have recovered.
State data showed 112 deaths.
Bosque County had 1,287 confirmed and 284 probable cases of the virus Friday. Of the total, 1,380 patients have recovered and 28 have died, according to state data.
Freestone County had 1,058 confirmed and 698 probable cases of the virus Friday. At least 1,607 patients have recovered and 40 have died, according to state data.
Hamilton County had 688 confirmed and 49 probable cases of the virus Friday. At least 660 patients have recovered and 24 have died, according to state data.
Hill County had 3,626 confirmed cases and 649 probable cases Friday. At least 3,705 patients have recovered and 88 have died, according to state data.
Lampasas County had 1,697 confirmed and 319 probable cases Friday. At least 1,656 patients have recovered and 26 residents have died, according to state data.
Leon County had 1,196 confirmed and 321 probable cases Friday. At least 1,320 patients have recovered and 36 residents have died, according to state data.
Milam County reported 1,305 confirmed and 990 probable cases Friday. Thirty nine cases were active, 2,192 patients have recovered, and 37 have died, local data showed.
Six patients were hospitalized.
Mills County had 558 confirmed and 52 probable cases of the virus Friday. At least 507 patients have recovered and 20 have died, according to state data.
Robertson County had 1,590 confirmed cases Friday and 399 probable cases. At least 1,716 patients have recovered and 32 have died, according to state data.
San Saba County had 570 confirmed cases Friday and 241 probable cases. At least 684 patients have recovered and 19 have died, according to state data.
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