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Texas reports record number of new COVID-19 cases; six more local residents die

Texas reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases Thursday while local case counts continued...
Texas reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases Thursday while local case counts continued to increase at sometimes alarming rates, six more Central Texas residents diagnosed with the virus died, and the statewide death toll rose to more than 20,000.(Pixabay)
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 3:11 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2020 at 6:05 PM CST
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(KWTX) – The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 12,500 additional cases of COVID-19 Thursday, 12,293 of them new, eclipsing the previous one-day record of 10,865 new cases on Nov. 10 and increasing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 1,060,883.

Of the total, 147,030 cases were active Thursday, 896,191 patients have recovered and 230 more have died, pushing the statewide death toll to more than 20,000.

In Central Texas, 467 new cases of the virus were reported Thursday, increasing the regional total to 30,838.

New deaths were reported in Bell, Coryell and Hill counties.

The Central Texas death toll may now be as high as 470, but according to state data Wednesday at least 458 area residents diagnosed with the virus have now died including 111 Bell County residents, one fewer than the local count of 112; 15 Bosque County residents; 16 Coryell County residents, three more than the local count of 13; 13 Falls County residents; nine Freestone County residents; seven Hamilton County residents; 17 Hill County residents; 10 Lampasas County residents; 14 Leon County residents; 17 Limestone County residents; 170 McLennan County residents, four fewer than the local count of 174; nine Milam County residents; four Mills County residents; 35 Navarro County residents, seven fewer than the local count of 42; six Robertson County residents, two more than the local count of four, and five San Saba County residents.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, Thursday, ruled out another shutdown in the state as case counts soar, telling reporters there’s an “overestimation” of what shutdowns achieve.

He said local leaders asking for stricter measures weren’t doing enough to enforce rules already in place.

Abbott, during a news conference Thursday in Lubbock, did tout the arrival of the first shipment of Bamlanivimab, the Eli Lilly & Company’s monoclonal antibody COVID-19 therapy that mimics the human immune system’s ability to fight off viruses.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is providing weekly shipments of the doses to the state at no cost. The Texas Department of State Health Services will distribute the doses based on the number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a community, the number of new lab-confirmed COVID-19 hospital admissions and the total number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

“Every day, the Lone Star State is closer to turning the corner of this pandemic thanks to medical advancements like bamlanivimab,” Abbott said.

“This therapy drug will help prevent hospitalizations and reduce the strain on our healthcare system and workers,” he said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the investigational monoclonal antibody therapy for treatment of mild to moderate cases of the virus in adult and children who are 12 or older and weigh at least 88 pounds.

Bamlanivimab isn’t authorized for hospitalized COVID-19 patients or those who require oxygen therapy.

The laboratory-produced proteins mimic the human immune system’s ability to fight off viruses and Eli Lilly’s therapy monoclonal antibody is specifically aimed at the spike protein of COVID-19, blocking the virus’ attachment and entry to human cells.

At least 7,982 patients were hospitalized statewide Thursday, up slightly from Wednesday, and in the two Trauma Service Areas that include most of Central Texas, at least 171 were hospitalized, up from 138 on Wednesday.

Almost 9.7 million tests have been administered statewide.

The Lab Test Report Date clinical positivity rate rose to 12.78% Thursday, up from 12.7% Wednesday.

More than 5,400 additional medical personnel have been sent to overworked hospitals around the state, the most since the pandemic began in March.

BELL COUNTY

The Bell County Public Health District reported three more deaths from the virus Thursday, a Harker Heights man in his 70s, a Bell County man in his 90s and a Killeen woman in her 70s.

The virus has now claimed the lives of 112 Bell County residents, according to local data.

The health district also reported 91 additional cases of COVID-19 Thursday, increasing the county’s total to 7,805.

Of the total, 1,026 cases were active Thursday and 6,779 patients have recovered.

The number of active cases has almost doubled since the first of the month.

“Please take necessary COVID-19 safety precautions and we may once again drive these numbers down,” health district Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said Thursday.

State data, which includes Fort Hood personnel who live on post showed 7,820 confirmed cases and 111 deaths.

The Bell County Elections Department will be closed until the end of the month after two of the office’s five employees tested positive for COVID-19. The staff will work remotely.

The city of Temple is closing some facilities to walk-in traffic beginning Friday through Jan. 18 including the Municipal Building/City Hall; Human Resources; Temple Public Library; Historic Post Office; Parks and Recreation Administration Building; Public Works Service Center; Hillcrest Cemetery, and the Utility Business Office/Municipal Court. Services at the facilities will be available online, by phone, by appointment at curbside or via drive-thru.

Academy Middle School is suspending on-campus instruction on Thursday and Friday because of student and faculty absences related to COVID-19. Only two on campus have tested positive for the virus, but 16% of the school’s students and 28% of its staff were out Wednesday because of close contact. Extracurricular activities, practices and competitions have been canceled until students return to campus on Nov. 30.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard Thursday showed 13 active cases of the virus and a total of 165 since Aug. 1.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas Thursday showed one active student case and a total of 10 involving students and four involving staff since March.

The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Thursday showed a total of 186 cases involving students and 211 involving staff since March 16 and 32 involving students and 42 involving staff in the past seven days. The district Thursday reported one case involving a student at Alice Douse Elementary; one involving an employee at Cedar Valley Elementary; one involving a student at Clarke Elementary; two involving employees at Fowler Elementary; two involving students at Haynes Elementary; one case involving an employee at Ira Cross Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Meadows Elementary; one involving a student at Mountain View Elementary, five involving employees at Oveta Culp Hobby Elementary; one involving an employee at Peebles Elementary; one involving an employee at Pershing Park Elementary; two involving employees at Reeces Creek Elementary; one case involving a student at Richard E. Cavazos Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Skipcha Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Sugar Loaf Elementary; one involving an employee at Timber Ridge Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Venable Village Elementary; two involving students at West Ward Elementary; three involving employees at Willow Springs Elementary; two involving employees at Charles Patterson Middle School; one case involving a student at Live Oak Ridge Middle School; one involving a student at Nolan Middle School; one involving an employee at Palo Alto Middle School; one involving an employee at Rancier Middle School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Union Grove Middle School; seven cases involving students and two involving employees at Ellison High School; two involving employees at Gateway High School; three involving students and one involving an employee at Harker Heights High School; six involving students and one involving an employee at Killeen High School; one involving a student and two involving employees at the KISD Career Center; one involving a student and four involving employees at Shoemaker High School, and five involving employees at non-campus facilities.

The Killeen ISD will offer free COVID-19 screening to students and employees starting from 7 a.m. to 11 .m. and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on regular school days starting on Dec. 3 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 will be available online.

The Temple ISD’s online dashboard Thursday showed 10 cases at Temple High School; three at Bonham Middle School; two at Travis Middle School; one at Cater Elementary; two at Kennedy-Powell Elementary; one at Raye-Allen Elementary, and two at an auxiliary facility.

The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Thursday showed one case at the Early Childhood School; two at Lakewood Elementary; two at Miller Heights Elementary; one at Pirtrle Elementary; one case at Tarver Elementary; one at Belton Middle School; one at Lake Belton Middle School; one at North Belton Middle School; two at South Belton Middle School; six cases at Belton High School; two at Belton New Tech High School; one at Lake Belton High School, and three at non-campus facilities.

The health district has created a guide for safe holiday practices that’s available online.

BELL COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

MCLENNAN COUNTY

The Waco-McLennan County Health District reported 186 additional cases of the virus Thursday, 92 of them from ongoing surge testing, increasing the county’s total to 12,947.

Of the total, 1,352 cases were active Thursday and 11,421 patients have recovered.

Eighty eight patients were hospitalized Thursday, eight more than on Wednesday, and 11 of them were on ventilators.

Sixty five of the 88 are McLennan County residents.

The new cases involve one resident younger than 1; 20 who range in age from 11 to 17; 29 who range in age from 18 to 25; 14 who range in age from 26 to 29; 34 in their 30s; 31 in their 40s; 20 in their 50s; 16 in their 60s; eight in their 70s, and two who are 80 or older.

According to local data, 174 residents diagnosed with the virus have died.

State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 170 deaths.

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. Additional details are available online.

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.

Connally Elementary School temporarily suspended on-campus instruction for the rest of the week after a person on campus tested positive for COVID-19. On-campus instruction will resume on Nov. 30 after Thanksgiving break.

Bruceville-Eddy High School closed and transitioned to remote learning from Monday through Wednesday and for a half day on Thursday because of an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Fifth through 12th grade students at Waco’s Rapoport Academy also shifted temporarily to remote instruction. Students will return to campus on Nov. 30 after the Thanksgiving holiday. Both of Rapoport’s elementary campuses are continuing normal operations.

Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 182 active cases Thursday, 157 involving students, 13 involving staff, four involving faculty and eight involving contractors. Over the past seven days, 87 cases have been confirmed for a clinical positivity rate of 4%. Since Aug. 1, 1,456 cases have been confirmed. Baylor is offering free voluntary rapid testing for the virus next Monday through Wednesday for students, faculty and staff ahead of the Thanksgiving holidays.

The McLennan Community College dashboard showed 28 active cases Thursday, 20 involving students, and a total of 181 in the past three weeks, 156 involving students and 25 involving employees.

The Waco ISD dashboard Thursday showed a cumulative total of 99 students, 108 staff members and eight classified as “other” have tested positive for the virus since Sept. 28. The district Thursday reported one active case at Cedar Ridge Elementary; one active case at Dean Highland Elementary; one at Hillcrest PDS; one active case at Kendrick Elementary; four at Lake Air Montessori; one at Mountainview Elementary; one at Provident Heights Elementary; three at South Waco Elementary; two at West Avenue Elementary; one at Brazos High; one at Cesar Chavez Middle School; three at Tennyson Middle School; three at University High School and eight at Waco High School.

Families of Lake Air Montessori School students were notified Tuesday the school is shifting to remote instruction through the rest of the week after officials learned that two more people who were on campus tested positive for COVID-19. More than 20 employees and 100 in-person students are quarantined. Families of Brazos High School and Tennyson Middle School were notified Monday that the schools were shifting to remote instruction for the remainder of the week. Families were notified on Sunday that Waco’s J.H. Hines Elementary School and Cesar Chavez Middle School in Waco were shifting to remote instruction Monday after an increase in COVID-19 cases. Waco High School, meanwhile, has extended remote instruction through this week. On-campus instruction has also been temporarily suspended at G.W. Carver Middle School until Nov. 30.

The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Thursday showed 27 active cases at Midway High School, 20 of them involving students and seven involving staff. The district also reported two cases involving students and one involving an employee at Castleman Creek Elementary; one involving a student and two involving employees at Hewitt Elementary; three cases involving students and three involving employees at South Bosque Elementary; one involving a student at Spring Valley Elementary; two involving students and one involving an employee at Woodway Elementary; one involving a student at River Valley Elementary; two involving students at Woodgate Elementary; nine involving students and two involving employees at Woodway Middle School, and one involving an employee at a non-campus facility.

The Lorena ISD dashboard Thursday showed three cases involving students at Lorena Elementary and two involving students at Lorena High School. Lorena High School won’t face Crockett in an area-round playoff game after Crockett forfeited because COVID-19 issues. The Leopards advance to play the winner of the Halletsville-Diboll game.

The Mart ISD’s online dashboard Thursday showed four active cases at Mart Elementary and one at Mart High School. Sixty three elementary school students and staff and two high school students and staff are quarantined. Sixteen cases have been confirmed since Aug. 19.

The McGregor ISD’s online dashboard Thursday showed one active case at McGregor Primary; four at McGregor Elementary; two at Isbill Junior High and four at McGregor High School. H.G. Isbill Junior High School and McGregor High School are closed through the remainder of the week.

MCLENNAN COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

CORYELL COUNTY

Coryell County reported 1,106 total cases Thursday, an increase of 89.

Of the total, 279 cases were active and 814 patients have recovered.

State data, which include Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates in the county, showed 2,248 cases Thursday, an increase of 40, and two additional deaths for a total of 16.

The Gatesville ISD’s online dashboard Thursday showed 19 cases involving students and six involving employees at Gatesville High School; eight involving junior high students and one involving a junior high employee; three involving intermediate students and three involving employees; three involving primary students and four involving employees, and one involving an administration building employee.

The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Thursday showed 21 active cases at Copperas Cove High School, three of them involving employees and 18 involving students; one involving an employee at Crossroads High School; two involving students and one involving an employee at Cove Junior High; one involving a student and three involving employees at S.C. Lee Junior High; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Clements-Parsons Elementary; two involving employees at Fairview Jewell Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Hettie Halstead Elementary; one involving a student at House Creek Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Martin Walker Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy, and one involving an employee at the District Service and Training Center.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Thursday showed 14 cases involving inmates and 29 cases involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville where 270 inmates were on medical restriction and 14 were isolated; four cases involving employees at the Hilltop Unit in Gatesville where 43 inmates were restricted; four cases involving inmates and six involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 186 inmates were medically restricted and four were medically isolated; seven cases involving employees at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville where nine inmates were medically restricted; one case involving an employee at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville where seven inmates were on restriction, and one case involving an inmate and four involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail in Gatesville where 43 inmates were restricted and one was isolated.

State data Thursday showed two more deaths in the county for a total of 16, but according to local data the virus has claimed 13 lives including a Copperas Cove man in his 70s who died on April 9 at Advent Hospital in Killeen, to which he was admitted on April 2; a Copperas Cove man in his 60s who was diagnosed with the virus on April 5; a Copperas Cove man whose death was reported on July 8, and a Gatesville man in his 60s whose death was reported on July 12.

The Refuge Mobile Food Pantry will distribute free food from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at 916 West Highway 190 in Copperas Cove.

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 reported 745 cases Thursday, an increase of 18.

Of the total, 682 patients have recovered.

State data showed 13 deaths.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Thursday reported 32 cases involving employees at the William Hobby Unit in Marlin where 79 inmates were medically restricted, and three cases involving inmates and six involving employees at the Marlin Transfer Unit where 95 inmates were medically restricted and three were medically isolated.

LIMESTONE COUNTY

Limestone County reported 748 total cases Thursday, an increase of seven.

Of the total, 670 patients have recovered.

Mexia High School students shifted to remote learning through Friday after three students tested positive for the virus and “numerous staff and student quarantines due to close contact,” Superintendent Dr. Lyle DuBus said in a letter to parents.

On-campus instruction resumes on Nov. 30 after Thanksgiving break.

The virus has claimed 17 lives in the county.

The first resident to die was a Mexia woman in her late 50s to early 60s with underlying health conditions who died on March 31 at Parkview Regional Hospital in Mexia after she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

NAVARRO COUNTY

Navarro County Thursday reported 1,696 confirmed cases, an increase of 27, and 717 probable cases for a total of 2,413.

Of the total, 268 cases were active Thursday, 2,103 patients have recovered, and seven were hospitalized.

Forty two residents have died, according to local data.

State data showed 35 deaths.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

OTHER COUNTIES

According to the latest figures Thursday Bosque County was reporting 500 cases, an increase of five, and 402 recoveries. State data based on death certificates and county of residence showed 15 deaths.

Freestone County reported a total of 491 cases Thursday. Of the total 458 patients have recovered. Nine residents have died, according to state data. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Thursday reported four cases involving employees at the William Boyd Unit in Teague where 79 inmates were medically restricted.

Hamilton County reported 268 cases Thursday, an increase of four. Of the total 199 patients have recovered. State data showed seven deaths in the county.

Hill County reported a total of 1,046 cases Thursday, an increase of 36, and 857 recoveries. A 17th resident has died, according to state dataThe Hill College dashboard showed two active cases involving students and one involving an employee Thursday at the school’s Hillsboro campus. The Hillsboro ISD reported three cases involving students at Hillsboro Elementary; three cases involving students at Hillsboro Intermediate; six cases involving students and one involving an employee at Hillsboro Junior High and 14 involving students and two involving employees at Hillsboro High School.

Lampasas County reported 355 cases Thursday, an increase of nine, and 311 recoveries. Ten residents have died.

Leon County reported 423 cases Thursday and 361 recoveries. State data showed 14 deaths.

Milam County reported 609 confirmed cases Thursday. Of the total, 22 cases were active, 576 patients have recovered and four were hospitalized. Nine residents have died, according to local and state data.

Mills County reported 116 cases and 80 recoveries Thursday. State data showed four deaths. The county’s first death from the virus was reported on Oct. 21.

Robertson County reported 535 confirmed cases Thursday, an increase of 23. Of the total, 62 cases were active Thursday and 467 patients have recovered. Six residents have died, according to state and local data.

San Saba County reported 291 cases Thursday, an increase of 14, and 215 recoveries. Five residents have died. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported one case involving an inmate and four cases involving employees at the San Saba Transfer Unit where 43 inmates were medically restricted and one was isolated.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

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