Number of new Central Texas COVID-19 cases has dropped, so has number of residents tested
WACO, Texas (KWTX) – Eighty-eight new confirmed case of COVID-19 were reported Wednesday in Central Texas, increasing the regional total to 75,247, but officials in one area county say fewer residents are getting tested for the virus, too.
“There are currently 233 tests conducted daily on average which is 85% lower than at the peak of the 1,600 that we saw in November,” Waco Mayor Dillon Meek said during a virtual news conference Wednesday.
Testing peaked on Nov. 20, 2020 in McLennan County when 2,700 tests were administered
On Monday 445 tests were administered in the county.
And that’s not the only unknown about which medical authorities are concerned.
“We don’t know the impact of Governor (Greg) Abbott’s withdrawal of universal masking mandates,” Waco Family Medicine CEO Dr. Jackson Griggs said Wednesday.
“We haven’t yet seen the impact of spring break and there are some new variants that we are monitoring,” he said.
COVID-19 has now claimed as many as 1,606 lives in Central Texas, but according Texas Department of State Health Services data Wednesday, the regional death toll was 1,583 including 393 Bell County residents, 15 fewer than the local count of 408; 33 Bosque County residents; 83 Coryell County residents; 29 Falls County residents; 48 Freestone County residents; 26 Hamilton County residents; 104 Hill County residents; 32 Lampasas County residents; 41 Leon County residents; 71 Limestone County residents; 459 McLennan County residents, 12 more than the local count of 447; 45 Milam County residents; 21 Mills County residents; 136 Navarro County residents, six fewer than the local count of 142; 39 Robertson County residents, and 23 San Saba County residents.
The statewide death toll rose by 178 Wednesday to 46,736.
DSHS reported 3,285 additional confirmed cases of the virus Wednesday, 2,758 of them new, raising the statewide total to 2,374,938.
Of the total, 102,765 cases were active Wednesday, 2,602,971 residents have recovered, and 3,461 were hospitalized, about 35 fewer than on Tuesday.
In Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam and Mills counties, at least 42 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 were hospitalized Wednesday, accounting for about 5% all hospitalizations and filling about 4% of available beds.
At least 30 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Wednesday in Trauma Service Area M, which includes McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Hill and Limestone counties, accounting for about 7% of all hospitalizations and filling about 5% of available beds.
The statewide Lab Test Date positivity rate Wednesday was 6.04% up from 5.86% Tuesday.
A positivity rate of 5% or less generally indicates the virus is contained, experts say.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has updated its long-term care facility visitation rules expanding visitation statewide. Fully vaccinated residents of nursing facilities are now allowed to visit in-person with family members and friends provided proper safeguards are in place including the use of face masks.
The new rules not only allow close personal contact for fully vaccinated residents, but also outdoor visitation at all facilities, even those with COVID-19 outbreaks.
As many as two essential caregivers may visit any resident, including those at or near the end of life, regardless of COVID-19 status, and all visitation is without time limits.
Nursing facilities no longer need to monitor visits or escort visitors or limit indoor visitation to areas with barriers or booths.
All adults in Texas will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines effective on March 29, the Department of State Health Services, but the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System is now offering the COVID19 vaccine to veterans of all ages.
Appointments aren’t necessary, but veterans must bring their VA IDs to prove they’re enrolled in the VA health care system.
Delays are possible depending on demand, but the vaccine is being offered from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Olin E. Teague Veterans Medical Center in Temple, Doris Miller Veterans Medical Center in Waco, and at the Austin Outpatient Clinic in Austin.
DSHS plans to launch a website next week to allow residents to register for shots through some public health providers.
“With this announcement coming up, making Texas adults eligible, we do expect the wait list to grow larger and create a longer wait time,” McLennan County Judge Scott Felton said during a virtual news conference Wednesday.
At least 155,681 or 21% of the residents 16 or older in the 16 counties KWTX is tracking have received a first dose while 84,647 or 11.3% are fully vaccinated.
Statewide 6,406,693 or almost 26.1% of residents 16 and older have received a first dose and 3,237,521 or 13.2% of residents 16 and older were fully vaccinated.
Data Wednesday from the state vaccination dashboard showed in Bell County 47,578 residents, or 17.3% of those 16 and older had received the first dose, and 26,691 or 9.8% of those 16 and older were fully vaccinated.
In McLennan County, 48,462 residents, or 24.1% of those 16 and older have received one dose and 27,046 or 13.5% of those 16 and older were fully vaccinated.
In Bosque County, 29.6% of those 16 and older have received one dose and 17.7% are fully vaccinated; in Coryell County 13.5% have received one and 8% are fully vaccinated; in Falls County, 21.1% have received one and 13% are fully vaccinated; in Freestone County, 17.7% have received one dose and 7.3% are fully vaccinated; in Hamilton County, 34.6% have received one dose and 18.6% are fully vaccinated; in Hill County, 25.5% have received one dose and 12.8% are fully vaccinated; in Lampasas County, 17.9% have received one dose and 9.4% are fully vaccinated; in Leon County, 18.7% have received one dose and 7.3% are fully vaccinated; in Limestone County, 18.9% have received one dose and 8% are fully vaccinated; in Milam County 25.8% have received one dose and 11.8% are fully vaccinated; in Mills County, 32.3% have received one dose and 16% are fully vaccinated; in Navarro County 30.6% have received one dose and 16.9% are fully vaccinated; in Robertson County, 23.9% have received one and 11.5% are fully vaccinated, and in San Saba County, 15.5 % have received one dose and 4.9% are fully vaccinated.
About 900,000 first doses of vaccine are due to be shipped to providers in the state next week and the Department of State Health Services is allocating 685,470 of the doses to hub providers including the Bell County Public Health District, which is due to receive 7,020 doses of Pfizer vaccine; Coryell Health Medical Clinic in Gatesville, which is due to receive 1,170 doses of Pfizer vaccine; Falls Community Hospital and Clinic in Marlin, which is due to receive 1,170 doses of Pfizer vaccine; Ascension Providence Health Center in Waco, which is due to receive 2,340 doses of Pfizer vaccine; the Waco-McLennan County Health District, which is due to receive 1,500 doses of Moderna vaccine, and the Corsicana-Navarro County Public Health District, which is due to receive 1,500 doses of Moderna vaccine.
Another 230,000 initial doses are scheduled to be delivered to pharmacies and federally qualified health providers in the state.
The state is also ordering 674,580 doses intended as the second dose for residents first vaccinated a few weeks ago,
The Bell County Public Health District reported 31 additional cases of the virus Wednesday, raising the county’s total to 21,260.
At least 273 cases were active Wednesday, 20,579 residents have recovered, and 408 have died, according to local data.
State data, which includes Fort Hood personnel who live on post, showed 21,335 total cases and 393 deaths, an increase of one.
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.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard Wednesday showed five active cases and a total of 339 since Aug. 1, 2020.
Texas A&M University-Central Texas Wednesday showed no active cases and a total of 40 since March 2020, 29 of them involving students.
The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed three cases involving students and six cases involving staff members in the past seven days and 1,613 confirmed cases since March 16, 2020, 783 involving students and 830 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 active case Wednesday at Thornton Elementary.
The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed seven active cases, four of them at Belton High School.
The Waco-McLennan County Health District reported another 35 cases of the virus Wednesday, raising the county’s total to 25,920.
At least 196 cases were active Wednesday, 25,277 residents have recovered and 30 were hospitalized, six of them on ventilators.
The health district is reporting 447 deaths, but state data Wednesday showed 459, an increase of one.
The Central Texas Food Bank will distribute free food from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday 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 87 active cases Wednesday, 71 involving students, five involving faculty members and 11 involving staff members. Since Aug. 1, 2020, a total of 3,554 cases have been confirmed. In the past seven days, 43 tests have come back positive. Baylor is requiring weekly COVID-19 testing of students, faculty, and staff.
The McLennan Community College dashboard Wednesday showed one active case involving an employee and a cumulative total of 347 cases, 266 involving students.
The Waco ISD dashboard Wednesday showed no active cases and 270 cases involving students, 283 involving staff and 17 involving those described as “other” since Sept. 8, 2020.
The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed four cases across two campuses.
The Lorena ISD dashboard Wednesday showed one case involving a student at Lorena High School.
The Mart ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed one case at Mart High School and eight cases at Mart Elementary.
The McGregor ISD’s online dashboard showed one case at Isbill Junior High Wednesday.
Coryell County had 6,709 confirmed and 252 probable cases Wednesday.
State data showed 6,811 patients have recovered.
The virus has claimed 83 lives in the county, state data showed.
The Copperas Cove Municipal Court lobby is now open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Staff members remain accessible by phone and email. Questions or concerns may be directed to Nicola James, Court Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 547-5030.
The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed one active case involving an employee at Cove High School.
The Gatesville ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed no active cases.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported five cases involving employees Wednesday at the Christina Melton Crain Unit where 10 inmates were restricted; five cases involving employees at the Hilltop Unit where 21 inmates were isolated; 14 cases involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit; five cases involving employees at the Mountain View Unit where two inmates were medically restricted; two cases involving inmates and three involving employees at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit where 39 inmates were restricted and three were isolated, and three cases involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail.
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 1,857 confirmed and 182 probable cases Wednesday.
State data showed 1,985 patients have recovered.
The virus has claimed the lives of 29 residents, state data showed.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Wednesday reported one case involving an employee at the William Hobby Unit in Marlin and one case involving an employee at the Marlin Transfer Unit.
Limestone County had 2,086 confirmed and 585 probable cases Wednesday.
At least 2,577 patients have recovered and a 71st has died, state data showed.
Navarro County had 3,401 confirmed and 2,222 probable cases Wednesday.
Of the total, 5,437 patients have recovered.
State data showed 136 deaths, an increase of one.
Local data showed 142 deaths.
Bosque County had 1,331confirmed and 296 probable cases of the virus Wednesday. Of the total, 1,569 patients have recovered and 33 have died, according to state data.
Freestone County had 1,054 confirmed and 736 probable cases of the virus Wednesday. At least 1,723 patients have recovered and 48 have died according to state data. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Wednesday reported four cases involving employees at the William Boyd Unit in Teague.
Hamilton County had 703 confirmed and 51 probable cases of the virus Wednesday. At least 721 patients have recovered and 26 have died, according to state data.
Hill County Wednesday had 3,702 confirmed cases and 672 probable cases. At least 4,217 patients have recovered and 104 have died, according to state data. The Hill College dashboard showed no active cases Wednesday on the Hill County campus. The Hillsboro ISD dashboard Wednesday showed one case involving an employee at Hillsboro Elementary and one involving an employee and one involving a student at Hillsboro Intermediate.
Lampasas County had 1,763 confirmed and 328 probable cases Wednesday. At least 2,029 patients have recovered, and 32 residents have died.
Leon County had 1,242 confirmed and 337 probable cases Wednesday. At least 1,512 patients have recovered, and 41 residents have died, according to state data.
Milam County had 1,376 confirmed and 1,049 probable cases Wednesday. At least 2,411 patients have recovered and 45 have died, according to state data. Milam County is among 25 counties chosen for the fourth week of the state’s Save Our Seniors Initiative through which state agencies will work with local officials to set up either central drive-thru vaccination sites or to administer vaccines directly to homebound seniors.
Mills County had 588 confirmed and 59 probable cases of the virus Wednesday. At least 616 patients have recovered and 21 have died, according to state data.
Robertson County had 1,637 confirmed cases Wednesday and 409 probable cases. At least 1,982 patients have recovered and 39 have died, according to state data.
San Saba County had 543 confirmed cases Wednesday and 254 probable cases. At least 780 patients have recovered and 23 have died, according to state data. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Wednesday reported three cases involving employees at the San Saba Transfer Unit.
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