COVID cases are rising, vaccination rates are low, so Texas decides to put on a show
(KWTX) - As Texas reported more than 6,400 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Thursday, the largest one-day increase since late February, the Department of State Health Services announced it is “again hitting the road” with 18 pop-up events at Walmart stores across the state intended to promote the vaccination of younger Texans before the start of the school year.
The first of the four-hour pop-up events was from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Walmart store at 1400 Lowes Blvd. in Killeen.
The next, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday in the parking lot of the Walmart store at 1521 Interstate 35 North in Bellmead, will include “a festive outdoor display,” free treats and games while statewide public service announcements are played on a 16-foot video wall.
Those who attend any of the events may receive free COVID-19 vaccinations at the store’s pharmacy.
More information about where to get the vaccine is available online.
The state reported 49,340 active cases of the virus Thursday, an increase of more than 5,200 from the day before, while in Central Texas, the active case count rose by more than 180 to 1,834.
At least 2,590,934 cases of the virus have been confirmed statewide since the start of the pandemic and at least 81,571 cases have been confirmed in Central Texas.
The virus has claimed 51,749 lives statewide and at least 1,741 in Central Texas.
The more virulent Delta variant of the virus is driving spikes in new cases in Texas and around the country.
“Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are now rising across all age groups,” DSHS Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said.
“While fewer young people get very sick, they can get and spread the virus, and we are still learning about the long-term effects,” he said.
Statewide, hospitalizations rose by more than 120 Thursday to 3,692.
In Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam, and Mills County, 99 patients diagnosed with the virus were hospitalized Thursday, filling about 9% of available beds and accounting for about 11% of all patients hospitalized.
In Trauma Service Area M, which includes Bosque, Falls, Hill, Limestone and McLennan counties 39 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized, filling more than 6% of available beds and accounting for about 8% of all hospitalizations.
In the 16 Central Texas counties KWTX is monitoring, about 14.5% of children 12 to 15 have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and about 10% are fully vaccinated.
Health officials are hoping to overcome the vaccination hesitation.
“Tens of millions of people have been vaccinated with no ill effects. We know these vaccines are not only safe but also very effective. Achieving higher vaccination rates is essential to eliminating the threat of COVID from our communities,” Hellerstedt said.
Statewide, 60% of residents 12 and older have received one dose of vaccine and almost 52% are fully vaccinated, DSHS data showed Thursday.
In Central Texas, though, just more than 41% of residents 12 and older have received one dose and not quite 36% are fully vaccinated.
Other vaccination clinics have been scheduled in the area, too.
McLane Children’s Medical Center hosts a walk-in vaccination clinic from noon to 6 p.m. on July 27 for anyone 12 or older at Pirtle Elementary at 714 South Pea Ridge Rd. in Temple. Parents or guardians must be present for anyone younger than 18. Appointments will be scheduled for second doses.
COVID-19 vaccinations will be available from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday for the next four weeks starting this Thursday at the 7th Street Pedestrian Plaza in downtown Waco as part of the Civic on the 7th performing arts series.
Advance registration is not required.
In Lampasas County, with more than 60 active case of the virus, AdventHealth Rural Health Clinic is offering free vaccines to residents 18 and older.
Call (512) 556-3621 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to make an appointment.
An ID and proof of insurance are required and those seeking second doses should also bring vaccination cards.
The weekly vaccination clinic will continue as long as vaccine is available.
The Bell County Health District reported 130 additional cases of the virus Thursday, raising the county’s total to 23,714.
Of the total, 22,601 residents have recovered and 470 have died, local data showed.
Health district data showed 643 active cases Thursday.
DSHS data, which includes Fort Hood personnel who live on post, showed 1,120 active cases.
State data showed 23,584 confirmed cases and 2,557 probable cases Thursday.
At least 24,564 residents diagnosed with the virus have recovered, state data showed, and 457 have died.
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 Waco-McLennan County Health District discontinued daily case reporting and is instead reporting COVID-19 cases on a weekly basis.
The health district’s latest update showed 28,132 total cases, at least 158 of which were active.
AT least 27,507 residents diagnosed with the virus have recovered.
Local data showed 467 deaths.
DSHS data Thursday showed 489 residents diagnosed with the virus have died.
COVID-19 testing provided by the Waco-McLennan County Health District and the Waco-McLennan County Office of Emergency Management has ended. Providers throughout the county including clinics and pharmacies still offer COVID-19 testing. The DSHS test location finder is a resource.
Baylor University’s online dashboard showed six active cases involving students, two involving staff members and one involving a contractor Thursday and a total of 4,024 cases since Aug. 1, 2020. Baylor is requiring weekly COVID-19 testing of students, faculty, and staff through the summer. The university will not require students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated against the virus this fall but is strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. As of Tuesday, more than 41% of students and more than 61% of employees had been vaccinated. The university plans to operate at 100% capacity indoors and outdoors and to return to in-person instruction without social distancing this fall. Face masks are no longer required on campus, but the school recommends those who aren’t vaccinated wear face coverings indoors.
The McLennan Community College dashboard showed no active cases Thursday and a cumulative total of 369 cases, 286 involving students.
Coryell County had 7,168 total confirmed cases Thursday and 307 total probable cases.
The number of active cases in the county increased to 96 Thursday.
At least 7,290 residents diagnosed with the virus have recovered and 89 have died.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Thursday reported one case involving an inmate and three cases involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit where one inmate was isolated; four cases involving employees at the Hilltop Unit; two cases involving inmates and five cases involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit, where two inmates were isolated; one active case involving an employee at the Mountain View Unit; one case involving an employee at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit, two cases involving inmates and three involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail where 79 inmates were restricted and three were isolated.
Falls County had 1,897 total confirmed and 202 total probable cases of the virus Thursday
State data showed one active case in the county.
At least 2,065 residents diagnosed with the virus have recovered and 33 have died.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Thursday reported no active cases at either the William Hobby Unit or the Marlin Transfer Unit.
Limestone County had 2,219 total confirmed and 680 total probable cases of the virus Thursday.
The number of active cases in the county rose by nine to 67.
At least 2,751 residents diagnosed the virus have recovered and 81 have died.
Navarro County had 3,520 total confirmed and 2,505 total probable cases Thursday.
At least 5,802 residents diagnosed with the virus have recovered.
Local data showed 150 deaths.
The state reported 146.
At least 77 cases were active Thursday, an increase of 13.
Bosque County had 1,408 total confirmed and 319 probable cases of the virus Thursday. Of the total, 1,661 residents have recovered and 37 have died, according to state data. Twenty-nine cases were active Thursday.
Freestone County had 1,130 total confirmed and 883 total probable cases Thursday. At least 1,933 residents have recovered and 50 have died according to state data. At least 30 cases were active Thursday. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Thursday was reporting one case involving an employee at the William Boyd Unit in Teague.
Hamilton County had 766 total confirmed and 62 probable cases of the virus Thursday. At least 777 residents have recovered and 29 have died, according to state data. Twenty-two cases were active Thursday.
Hill County Thursday had 3,860 total confirmed cases and 750 probable cases. At least 4,458 residents diagnosed with the virus have recovered, and 111 residents have died, according to state data. At least 41 cases were active Thursday.
Lampasas County had 1,938 total confirmed and 361 probable cases Thursday. At least 2,196 residents diagnosed with the virus have recovered, and 33 residents have died, according to state data. At least 70 cases were active Thursday.
Leon County had 1,305 total confirmed and 377 total probable cases Thursday. At least 1,612 residents diagnosed with the virus have recovered, and 43 have died, according to state data. At least 27 cases were active Thursday.
Milam County had 1,527 total confirmed and 1,105 total probable cases Thursday. At least 2,602 residents have recovered and 52 have died. Thirty cases were active Thursday.
Mills County had 598 confirmed and 64 probable cases of the virus Thursday. At least 639 patients have recovered and 21 have died, according to state data. Two cases were active Thursday.
Robertson County had 1,865 total confirmed cases Thursday and 441 total probable cases. At least 2,202 residents diagnosed with the virus have recovered, and 47 have died, according to state data. At least 57 cases were active Thursday.
San Saba County had 524 total confirmed cases Thursday and 262 total probable cases. At least 756 residents have recovered and 23 have died, according to state data, which showed seven active cases Thursday. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Thursday was reporting three cases involving employees at the San Saba Transfer Facility.
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