Statewide COVID-19 death toll rises by 271; 13 more deaths reported in Central Texas
(KWTX) - The statewide COVID-19 death toll rose by 271 TO 43,266 Tuesday and 13 more deaths were reported in Central Texas.
As many as 1,492 area residents diagnosed with the COVID-19 have died, but according to Texas Department of State Health Services data, the regional death toll Tuesday was 1,466 including 359 Bell County residents, 18 fewer than the local count of 377; 31 Bosque County residents; 76 Coryell County residents; 29 Falls County residents; 44 Freestone County residents; 25 Hamilton County residents; 94 Hill County residents; 30 Lampasas County residents; 38 Leon County residents; 63 Limestone County residents; 440 McLennan County residents, 29 more than the local count of 410; 39 Milam County residents; 20 Mills County residents; 121 Navarro County residents, eight fewer than the local count of 129; 38 Robertson County residents, and 19 San Saba County residents.
Another 252 confirmed cases of the virus were reported Tuesday in Central Texas, raising the regional total to 73,415.
DSHS reported 6,613 new cases Tuesday, raising the statewide total to 2,297,878.
Of the total, 154,560 cases were active Tuesday, 2,441,822 patients have recovered, and 5,644 were hospitalized, 33 more than on Monday.
In Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam and Mills counties, at least 88 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 were hospitalized Tuesday, accounting for about 10% all hospitalizations and filling about 8% of available beds.
At least 46 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Tuesday in Trauma Service Area M, which includes McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Hill and Limestone counties, accounting for about 10% of all hospitalizations and filling about 7% 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 Tuesday was 8.71%, down from 9.35% on Monday.
A positivity rate of 5% or less generally indicates the virus is contained, experts say.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a new executive order Tuesday lifting most of the restrictions included in earlier orders including the statewide mask mandate and restrictions on business capacity.
“With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Abbott said.
“We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100%.”
The order applies to counties in Trauma Service Areas where COVID-19 hospitalizations represent 15% or less of hospital capacity, but it does not allow county judges to impose jail time for failure to follow COVID-19 orders or imposing penalties for failure to wear a face mask.
The state is expecting 24,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine this week and another 200,000 doses next week.
The City of Teague is receiving an allocation of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine and plans to begin vaccinations on March 4. Appointments are required and may be made online.
The state is receiving another 626,280 initial doses of Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines this week and 17,730 doses are headed to hub sites and other providers in Central Texas.
The six hub sites in Central Texas will receive a total of 14,760 doses.
DSHS data show the Bell County Public Health District, is due to receive 7,020 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week; the Coryell Health Medical Clinic in Gatesville 1,170 doses of the Pfizer vaccine; Falls Community Hospital and Clinic in Marlin 1,170 doses of Pfizer vaccine; Ascension Providence Health Center in Waco 2,340 doses of Pfizer vaccine; the Waco-McLennan County Health District 1,500 doses of Moderna vaccine, and the Corsicana-Navarro County Public Health District 1,500 doses of Moderna vaccine.
Another 2,570 doses will be shipped to other providers in the region including 1,170 doses of Pfizer vaccine to Baylor Scott & White in Temple; 200 doses of Moderna vaccine to the Clifton Medical Clinic; 200 doses of Moderna to Freestone Medical Center in Fairfield; 100 doses of Moderna to Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 53 in Hillsboro; 100 doses of Moderna to Eubank Drug in Whitney; 100 doses of Moderna to Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 54 in Buffalo; 100 doses of Moderna to Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 26 in Jewett; 100 doses of Moderna to Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 75 in Normangee; 100 doses of Moderna to the Texas Department of Disability and Aging Services in Mexia; 200 doses of Moderna to the Milam County Health Department, and 200 doses of Moderna to the Baylor Scott & White Clinic in San Saba.
The state also ordered 429,600 second doses.
Freestone, Hill and Robertson counties are among 26 selected for the first week of the state’s Save Our Seniors initiative to ensure more seniors are vaccinated throughout the state, Gov Greg Abbott announced Monday.
The state allocated as many as 8,000 vaccine doses for the first week of the program, which targets residents who are 75 years of age or older or homebound.
Texas Division of Emergency Management and Texas Military Department personnel will work with local officials either to set up central drive-thru vaccine clinics or to administer vaccinations directly to homebound seniors.
As of Tuesday, 90,354 or about 12.5% of the residents 16 or older in the 16 counties KWTX is tracking have received a first dose and 50,558, or about 6.8% have received both.
Statewide, 3,694,674 or about 15% or residents 16 and older have received a first dose and 1,984,199, or about 8% of residents 16 and older have received both.
Data Tuesday from the state vaccination dashboard showed in Bell County, 26,795 residents, or just more than 9.8% of those 16 and older, have received the first dose and 17,077 or just more than 6% of those 16 and older, have received both doses.
In McLennan County, 30,563 residents, or just more than 15% of those 16 and older, have received one dose and 15,849 or about 7.8% of those 16 and older have received both.
In Bosque County, 14% of those 16 and older have received one dose and just more than 9% have received both; in Coryell County 9% have received one and 5.8% have received both; in Falls County, just more than 14% have received one and just more than 6% have received both; in Freestone County 8% have received one and 4% have received both; in Hamilton County, 17.6% have received one and about 9.6% have received both; in Hill County, about 12.6% have received one and about 7% have received both; in Lampasas County, about 10% have received one, and just more than 5% have received both; in Milam County about 14% have received one and 8% have received both; in Mills County, almost 18% have received one and about almost 10% have received both; in Navarro County 20.7% have received one and just more than 8% have received both; in Robertson County, 14.6% have received one and almost 5.5% have received both, and in San Saba County, just more than 6% have received one and 2% have received both.
The Bell County Public Health District Tuesday reported three more deaths from the virus, a Bell County man in his 60s, a Belton woman in her 60s and a Temple woman in her 60s, increasing the county’s death toll to 377, according to local data.
State data showed 359 deaths.
The health district reported another 41 cases of the virus Tuesday, raising the county’s total to 20,562.
Of the total, 483 cases were active Tuesday and 19,702 patients have recovered.
“Our incidence rate did bump up a little bit more and we hope to see that level off and resume a decline,” health district Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said Tuesday.
State data, which includes Fort Hood personnel who live on post, showed 80 additional cases for a total of 20,627.
The Central Texas Food Bank will distribute free food from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at Temple College at 2600 South 1st St. in Temple.
COVID-19 testing continues from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays throughout March at Bell County Fire & Rescue at 84 North Main St. in Nolanville.
Temple’s city hall, human resources office, historic post office, Parks and Recreation office, service center, and the Hillcrest Cemetery office, all of which were closed in November as COVID-19 cases surged, began to reopen Monday. Temple’s public library will remain closed to walk-in traffic through March 15. Municipal Court and the Utility Business Office remain closed to walk-in traffic, as well.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard Tuesday showed 14 active cases and a total of 328 since Aug. 1, 2020.
Texas A&M University-Central Texas Tuesday showed three active cases, one involving a student, and a total of 39 since March 2020, 28 of them involving students.
The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed eight cases involving students and 10 cases involving staff members in the past seven days and 1,565 confirmed cases since March 16, 2020, 756 involving students and 809 involving staff.
The Killeen ISD is offering free COVID-19 screening to students and employees from 7 a.m. to 11 p.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 showed one case at Raye-Allen Elementary Tuesday.
The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed 13 cases across 10 campuses.
The Waco-McLennan County Health District reported another death from the virus Tuesday, a 46-year-old man, increasing the county’s death toll to 411, according to local data.
State data showed 440 deaths, an increase of three.
The health district reported 59 additional cases of the virus Tuesday, increasing the county’s total to 25,191.
Of the total, 402 cases were active Tuesday, 24,378 patients have recovered, and 47 were hospitalized, 15 of them on ventilators.
Thirty nine of the 47 are McLennan County residents.
The Central Texas Food Bank will distribute free food from 10 a.m. to noon on March 25 at Waco ISD Stadium at 1401 South New Road.
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.
Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 382 active cases Tuesday, 379 involving students and three involving staff. Since Aug. 1, 2020, a total of 3,298 cases have been confirmed. In the past seven days, 173 tests have come back positive. Baylor is requiring weekly COVID-19 testing of students, faculty and staff. The university has decided to restrict school-sponsored international travel through the end of June. A decision on travel in July in August will be made by April 1.
The McLennan Community College dashboard Tuesday showed no active cases and 343 total cases since Aug. 31, 264 involving students.
The Waco ISD dashboard showed two active cases Tuesday at Lake Air Montessori, and 264 involving students, 280 involving staff and 15 involving those described as “other” since Sept. 8, 2020.
The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed 10 cases across five campuses.
The Lorena ISD dashboard Tuesday showed one case involving an employee at Lorena Middle School.
The Mart ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed six cases at Mart Elementary School.
The McGregor ISD’s online dashboard hasn’t been updated since before the storm.
Coryell County had 6,585 confirmed cases Tuesday, an increase of 27, and 241 probable cases.
State data showed 6,205 patients have recovered and 76 have died.
The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed 12 active cases across five campuses.
The Gatesville ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed two cases at Gatesville Junior High, one involving a student, one involving a student at Gatesville Intermediate, and one involving a student at Gatesville Elementary.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported six cases involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit; one case involving an inmate and four involving employees at the Hilltop Unit where one inmate was isolated; one case involving an inmate and 13 cases involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit where one inmate was isolated; one case involving an inmate and four cases involving employees at the Mountain View Unit where 28 inmates were medically restricted and one was isolated; 20 cases involving inmates and 12 involving employees at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit where 424 inmates were restricted and 20 were isolated, and one case involving an inmate and three involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail where 119 inmates were restricted and two were isolated.
“Planning has already been underway to resume visitation at all TDCJ units soon,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday on its website.
“It will take some time to implement new procedures, but (they) will likely include the use of rapid testing and pre-scheduling of visits. It is likely that in-person visitation days will be expanded, and video visitation instituted during the pandemic will continue.”
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 1,835 confirmed and 158 probable cases Tuesday.
State data showed 1,842 patients have recovered.
The virus has claimed the lives of 29 residents, state data showed.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported one case involving an inmate and three involving employees at the William Hobby Unit in Marlin where 123 inmates were medically restricted and one was isolated, and two cases involving employees at the Marlin Transfer Unit.
Limestone County had 2,077confirmed and 567 probable cases Tuesday.
At least 2,310 patients have recovered and 63 have died.
Navarro County had 3,384 confirmed and 2,194 probable cases Tuesday.
Of the total, 5,310 patients have recovered.
State data showed 121 deaths.
Local data from Feb. 28 showed 129 deaths.
Bosque County had 1,307 confirmed and 289 probable cases of the virus Tuesday. Of the total, 1,432 patients have recovered and 31 have died, according to state data.
Freestone County had 1,038 confirmed and 710 probable cases of the virus Tuesday. At least 1,570 patients have recovered and 44 have died according to state data. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported five cases involving employees at the William Boyd Unit in Teague. The City of Teague is receiving an allocation of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine and plans to begin vaccinations on March 4. Appointments are required and may be made online.
Hamilton County had 690 confirmed and 50 probable cases of the virus Tuesday. At least 684 patients have recovered and 25 have died, according to state data.
Hill County had 3,652 confirmed cases and 656 probable cases Tuesday. At least 3,819 patients have recovered and 94 have died, according to state data. The Hill College dashboard showed no active cases Tuesday on the Hill County campus. The Hillsboro ISD dashboard showed two cases Tuesday involving employees at Hillsboro Intermediate School and one involving an employee at Hillsboro Junior High.
Lampasas County had 1,736 confirmed and 322 probable cases Tuesday. At least 1,797 patients have recovered and 30 residents have died.
Leon County had 1,211 confirmed and 328 probable cases Tuesday. At least 1,354 patients have recovered and a 38th resident has died, according to state data.
Milam County had 1,339 confirmed and 1,018 probable cases Tuesday. At least 2,322 patients have recovered and 39 have died, according to state data.
Mills County had 573 confirmed and 57 probable cases of the virus Tuesday. At least 549 patients have recovered and 20 have died, according to state data.
Robertson County had 1,612 confirmed cases Tuesday and 402 probable cases. At least 1,780 patients have recovered and 38 have died, according to state data.
San Saba County had 558 confirmed cases Tuesday and 250 probable cases. At least 740 patients have recovered and 19 have died, according to state data. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported three cases involving employees at the San Saba Transfer Unit.
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