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COVID-19 surge continues; community spread ‘significant,’ local health official says

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of two more Central Texas residents. (File)
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of two more Central Texas residents. (File)(CDC)
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 4:08 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2020 at 6:15 PM CST
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(KWTX) – Another 468 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Friday in Central Texas, the statewide count rose by more than 11,800 and community spread is “significant,” Bell County Public Health District Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said.

The new Central Texas cases increased the regional total to 31,306, almost 6,000 more than at the start of the month.

Additional deaths were reported Friday in McLennan, Navarro, Falls, Freestone and San Saba counties.

The Central Texas death toll may now be as high as 476, but according to state data Wednesday at least 465 area residents diagnosed with the virus have now died including 112 Bell County residents; 15 Bosque County residents; 16 Coryell County residents, one more than the local count of 15; 14 Falls County residents; 10 Freestone County residents; seven Hamilton County residents; 17 Hill County residents; 10 Lampasas County residents; 14 Leon County residents; 17 Limestone County residents; 173 McLennan County residents, three fewer than the local count of 176; nine Milam County residents; four Mills County residents; 35 Navarro County residents, eight fewer than the local count of 43; six Robertson County residents, and six San Saba County residents.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 11,815 additional confirmed cases of the virus Friday, 11,738 of them new, increasing the statewide total to 1,072,698.

At least 901,943 patients have recovered, but 152,912 cases were active Friday, almost 6,000 more than on Thursday, and at least 8,164 patients were hospitalized, the most since a deadly surge this summer.

In the two Trauma Service Areas that include most of Central Texas, about 170 patients were hospitalized Friday.

The statewide death toll rose by 183 Friday to 20,296.

Hard-hit El Paso is offering $27 an hour for morgue workers as the death toll there climbs.

The Texas Hospital Association appealed on families not to gather in large groups over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Almost 9.8 million tests have been administered in the state.

The Lab Test Report Date clinical positivity rate rose to 12.8% Friday from 12.78% Thursday.

BELL COUNTY

The Bell County Public Health District reported 107 additional confirmed cases of the virus Friday, increasing the total to 7,912.

Of that number, 1,098 cases were active Friday and 6,814 patients have recovered.

The virus has claimed 112 lives in the county according to local data.

“Our current incidence rate has now exceeded 300 per 100,000 people,” health district Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said Friday.

“This is obviously not what we wanted to see heading into the holiday season, but this is unfortunately where we are. Spread of COVID-19 in our community is significant and it will take cooperation from all of us to quell it,” she said.

State data, which includes Fort Hood personnel who live on post showed 7,911 confirmed cases.

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.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard Friday showed nine active cases of the virus and a total of 178 since Aug. 1.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas Friday showed two active student cases and a total of 12 involving students and four involving staff since March.

The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed a total of 190 cases involving students and 213 involving staff since March 16 and 29 involving students and 37 involving staff in the past seven days. The district Friday 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; one involving an employee at Fowler Elementary; one involving an employee at Hay Branch 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; one involving an employee at Reeces Creek Elementary; two involving students at Richard E. Cavazos Elementary; 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; three involving employees at Willow Springs Elementary; one involving an employee at Charles Patterson 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; two involving students at Smith Middle School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Union Grove Middle School; five cases involving students at Ellison High School; one case involving a student two involving employees at Gateway High School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Harker Heights High School; seven 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 four 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 Friday showed nine cases at Temple High School; three at Bonham Middle School; two at Travis Middle School; one at Cater Elementary; one at Kennedy-Powell Elementary; one at Raye-Allen Elementary, and one at an auxiliary facility.

The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed one case at the Early Childhood School; two at Lakewood Elementary; two at Miller Heights Elementary; one at Pirtrle Elementary; two at Sparta 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; five cases at Belton High School; two at Belton New Tech High School; two at Lake Belton High School, and two 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 two more deaths from the virus Friday, an 84-year-old woman and a 77-year-old woman, increasing the virus’ toll in the county to 176, according to local data.

State data based on death certificates and county of residence showed 173 deaths.

The health district also reported 209 new confirmed cases of the virus Friday, increasing the county’s total to 13,156.

Of the total, 1,369 cases were active Friday and 11,611 patients have recovered.

Eighty seven patients were hospitalized Friday, 13 of them on ventilators.

Sixty four of the 87 are McLennan County residents.

The new cases include one resident younger than a year old; seven who range in age from 1 to 10; 18 who range in age from 11 to 17; 44 who range in age from 18 to 25; 16 who range in age from 26 to 29; 23 residents in their 30s; 29 in their 40s; 28 in their 50s; 22 in their 60s; 14 in their 70s, and seven who are 80 or older.

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.

Ascension Providence in Waco announced Friday it has received an allotment of Bamlanivimab, Eli Lilly & Company’s monoclonal antibody COVID-19 therapy that mimics the human immune system’s ability to fight off viruses. 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. Ascension Providence said it is working to set up an outpatient infusion clinic site and could provide the antibody, which is administered by IV and requires a physician order, as early next week.

The Mayborn Museum in Waco announced Friday it’s canceling its annual Christmas Lights in the Village event because of COVID-19 concerns.

The museum’s visitor services staff will contact those who’ve already purchased tickets.

Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 177 active cases Thursday, 155 involving students, 13 involving staff, four involving faculty and eight involving contractors. Over the past seven days, 86 cases have been confirmed for a clinical positivity rate of 4.1%. Since Aug. 1, 1,472 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. Baylor University’s President’s Council Friday declared a moratorium on new campus events until Feb. 7 because of the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on campus. “The Health Management Team will not approve any event proposals before that date. However, events that have already been approved by the team may continue as planned,” the university said in an email to students, faculty and staff. Fall semester on-campus instruction ends next Wednesday. After Thanksgiving, remote instruction is scheduled on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Spring classes begin on Jan. 19.

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

The Waco ISD dashboard Friday showed a cumulative total of 104 students, 113 staff members and eight classified as “other” have tested positive for the virus since Sept. 28. The district Friday reported two active cases at Bell’s Hill Elementary; one active case at Cedar Ridge Elementary; two active cases 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; four at South Waco Elementary; three at West Avenue Elementary; one at Brazos High; one at Cesar Chavez Middle School; one at G.W. Carver Middle School; four at Tennyson Middle School; four at University High School; eight at Waco High School, and two at non-campus facilities.

The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed 28 active cases at Midway High School, 20 of them involving students and eight 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 two involving employees 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 Friday showed two 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 Friday showed five active cases at Mart Elementary and one at Mart High School. Seventy five elementary school students and staff and two high school students and staff are quarantined. Seventeen cases have been confirmed since Aug. 19.

The McGregor ISD’s online dashboard Friday showed one active case at McGregor Primary; four at McGregor Elementary; two at Isbill Junior High and four at McGregor High School.

MCLENNAN COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

CORYELL COUNTY

Coryell County reported 1,137 active cases Friday, an increase of 31.

Of the total, 308 cases were active and 814 patients have recovered.

State data, which include Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates in the county, showed 2,281 cases Friday, an increase of 33.

The Gatesville ISD’s online dashboard Friday 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 Friday showed 19 active cases at Copperas Cove High School, four of them involving employees and 15 involving students; one involving an employee at Crossroads High School; two involving students and one involving an employee at Cove Junior High; two involving students and four 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 at Martin Walker Elementary; 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 227 inmates were on medical restriction; four cases involving employees at the Hilltop Unit in Gatesville where 43 inmates were restricted; four cases involving inmates and seven 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 161 inmates were restricted and two were isolated.

The county reported two more deaths Friday, increasing the virus’ toll to 15. State data showed 16 deaths.

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 748 cases Friday and an additional death.

Of the total, 684 patients have recovered.

Fourteen have died.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Friday reported 32 cases involving employees at the William Hobby Unit in Marlin where 79 inmates were medically restricted, and 13 cases involving inmates and six involving employees at the Marlin Transfer Unit where 95 inmates were medically restricted and 13 were medically isolated.

LIMESTONE COUNTY

Limestone County reported 752 cases Friday.

Of the total, 672 patients have recovered.

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 reported another death and an additional 33 confirmed cases of the virus Friday, raising the county’s total to 1,729.

The county also reported 736 probable cases.

Of the 2,133 confirmed and probable cases, 2,133 patients have recovered and 289 cases were active Friday.

Seven patients were hospitalized.

The county’s death toll rose to 43 Friday.

State data showed 35 deaths.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

OTHER COUNTIES

According to the latest figures Friday Bosque County was reporting 507 cases, an increase of seven, and 404 recoveries. State data based on death certificates and county of residence showed 15 deaths.

Freestone County reported a total of 493 cases Friday. Of the total 460 patients have recovered. A 10th resident has died, according to state data. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Friday reported four cases involving employees at the William Boyd Unit in Teague where 79 inmates were medically restricted.

Hamilton County reported 275 cases Friday, an increase of seven. Of the total 201 patients have recovered. State data showed seven deaths in the county.

Hill County reported a total of 1,101 cases Friday, an increase of 55, and 862 recoveries. Seventeen residents have died, according to state data. The Hill College dashboard showed two active cases involving students and two involving employees 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 356 cases Friday and 314 recoveries. Ten residents have died.

Leon County reported 425 cases Friday and 366 recoveries. State data showed 14 deaths.

Milam County reported 615 confirmed cases, an increase of six. Of the total, 25 cases were active, four patients were hospitalized and 581 have recovered. Nine residents have died.

Mills County reported 128 cases Friday, an increase of 12, and 82 recoveries. State data showed four deaths. The county’s first death from the virus was reported on Oct. 21.

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

San Saba County reported 294 cases Friday and 216 recoveries. A sixth resident has died, state data showed. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported one case involving an inmate and four cases involving employees at the San Saba Transfer Unit where 161 inmates were medically restricted and two were isolated.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

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