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New COVID-19 cases continue to fall as vaccination rates slowly rise in Central Texas

A year ago Wednesday COVID-19 barely had a foothold in Central Texas, but after tens of...
A year ago Wednesday COVID-19 barely had a foothold in Central Texas, but after tens of thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths since then, vaccination rates are slowly climbing and new cases are slowly falling. (File)(WBAY)
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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(KWTX) – A year ago Wednesday 221 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Central Texas and five residents diagnosed with the virus had died.

But while number of confirmed cases in the region rose by 70 to 76,249 Wednesday and the death toll increased to at least 1,604, almost 185,000 Central Texas residents 16 and older have received one dose of vaccine and more than 120,000 are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Statewide nearly 38% of residents 16 and older have received a first dose and nearly 22% are fully vaccinated.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported an additional 3,675 confirmed cases of the virus Wednesday, 3,285 of them new, increasing the statewide total to 2,412,115.

At least 68,974 cases were active Wednesday, 2,662,211 residents have recovered, and the virus has claimed 99 more lives in Texas, increasing the statewide death toll to 47,921.

As many as 1,628 Central Texas residents diagnosed with the virus have died, but according to Department of State Health Services data Wednesday the regional death toll was 1,604 including 398 Bell County residents, 13 fewer than the local count of 411; 33 Bosque County residents; 84 Coryell County residents; 32 Falls County residents; 49 Freestone County residents; 26 Hamilton County residents; 105 Hill County residents; 32 Lampasas County residents; 42 Leon County residents; 73 Limestone County residents; 462 McLennan County residents, 12 more than the local count of 450; 46 Milam County residents; 21 Mills County residents; 139 Navarro County residents, 11 fewer than the local count of 150; 39 Robertson County residents, and 23 San Saba County residents.

At least 2,886 patients were hospitalized statewide Wednesday, about the same as on Tuesday.

In Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam, and Mills counties, at least 45 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 were hospitalized Wednesday, accounting for about 5% all hospitalizations and filling about 4% of available beds.

At least 22 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Wednesday in Trauma Service Area M, which includes McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Hill and Limestone counties, accounting for about 5% of all hospitalizations and filling about 3% of available beds.

The statewide Lab Test Date positivity Wednesday was 5.73%, up from 5.35% on Tuesday.

A positivity rate of 5% or less generally indicates the virus is contained, experts say.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Tuesday barring state agencies and political subdivisions from creating a so called “vaccine passport” requirement “or otherwise conditioning receipt of services on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status.”

“Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives,” Abbott said.

The Texas Health and Human Services commission will provide about $254 million in SNAP food benefits in April.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the state approval to ensure SNAP households receive at least $95 in emergency allotments.

Residents may apply for benefits at YourTexasBenefits.com.

VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

VACCINATIONS

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has partially approved a request to extend operations of Federally Supported Community Vaccination Centers  operated by federal personnel in Arlington, Dallas and Houston through May 18, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday.

“Where the federal government falls short, Texas will step in by providing the supplies and vaccine doses needed to keep these successful sites operational. We will continue to work with our federal and local partners to ensure our communities have access to COVID-19 vaccines.”

As of Wednesday, 184,974 or 24.8% of all residents 16 and older in the 16 counties KWTX is tracking had received a first dose and 120,206 or 16.1% were fully vaccinated.

Statewide 8,434,288 or 37.6% of residents 16 and older have received a first dose and 4,906,823 or 21.9% of residents 16 and older were fully vaccinated.

Data Wednesday from the state vaccination dashboard showed in Bell County 56,996 residents, or 20.9% of those 16 and older had received the first dose and 37,011 or 13.6% of those 16 and older were fully vaccinated.

In McLennan County, 57,466 residents, or 28.6% of those 16 and older have received one dose and 37,474 or 18.7% of those 16 and older were fully vaccinated.

In Bosque County Wednesday, 33.5% of those 16 and older have received one dose and 20.3% are fully vaccinated; in Coryell County 16.1% have received one and 10.9% are fully vaccinated; in Falls County, 25.2% have received one and 16.3% are fully vaccinated; in Freestone County, 21.2% have received one dose and 13.3% are fully vaccinated; in Hamilton County, 39.4% have received one dose and 25.5% are fully vaccinated; in Hill County, 29.9% have received one dose and 20.3% are fully vaccinated; in Lampasas County, 23.6% have received one dose and 14.2% are fully vaccinated; in Leon County, 25.2% have received one dose and 16% are fully vaccinated; in Limestone County, 22.6% have received one dose and 15.6% are fully vaccinated; in Milam County 29.7% have received one dose and 17.1% are fully vaccinated; in Mills County, 34.3% have received one dose and 23.2 % are fully vaccinated; in Navarro County 34.7% have received one dose and 23.3% are fully vaccinated; in Robertson County, 29.2% have received one and 19.6% are fully vaccinated, and in San Saba County, 19.6% have received one dose and 10% are fully vaccinated.

More than 2.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine are headed to providers this week in Texas, the Department of State Health Services says, including more than 25,000 doses to vaccination hubs, clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies in Central Texas.

The agency is allocating more than a million doses to 2,011 providers in 200 counties this week, the largest number to date, and is ordering 626,290 second doses for those already vaccinated.

Another 900,000 additional first and second doses should be available to pharmacies, federally qualified health centers and dialysis centers, allocated directly by the federal government.

The state is allocating 14,700 doses next week to hub providers in Central Texas 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.

Leon and Robertson counties are among 46 counties chose to participate in the sixth week of the state’s Save Our Seniors Program under which state and local officials work either to set up drive-thru vaccination sites or administer the vaccine directly to homebound seniors.

Another 10,470 doses are headed to clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies in the region.

In Bell County, shipments of 100 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are headed to H-E-B Pharmacy No. 39 in Belton; Walgreens Pharmacy No. 10392 in Belton; H-E-B Pharmacy No. 381 in Harker Heights; Seton Medical Center Harker Heights; Walgreens Pharmacy No. 10730 in Harker Heights; H-E-B Pharmacy No. 581 in Killeen; H-E-B Pharmacy No. 721 in Killeen; Walgreens Pharmacy No. 10711 in Kilileen; Walgreens Pharmacy No. 11130 in Killeen; Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 69 in Salado; Community Clinic at Santa Fe in Temple; H-E-B Pharmacy No. 182 in Temple; H-E-B Pharmacy No. 71 in Temple; Walgreens Pharmacy No. 06158 in Temple. Also, Metroplex Health System in Killeen is due to receive 400 does of Johnson & Johnson vaccine and 400 doses of Moderna vaccine; Ascension Medical Group Texas in Temple is due to receive 200 doses of Moderna vaccine; Baylor Scott & White Pharmacy No. 227 937 in Temple is due to receive 500 does of Moderna vaccine; Baylor Scott & White is due to receive 1,170 does Pfizer vaccine, and the Region 7 Office of the Department of State Health Services in Temple is due to receive 1,000 doses of Moderna vaccine and 1,500 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In Bosque County, Albrecht’s Pharmacy in Clifton and Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 92 in Clifton are each due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In Coryell County, H-E-B Pharmacy No. 668 in Copperas Cove and Walgreens Pharmacy No. 11237 in Copperas Cove, H-E-B Pharmacy No. 403 in Gatesville and Walgreens Pharmacy No. 11724 in Gatesville are each due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In Freestone County, Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 10 in Fairfield is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the Freestone Health Clinic in Fairfield is due to receive 200 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In Hamilton County, Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 84 in Hamilton is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In Hill County, Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 53 in Hillsboro and Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 036 in Whitney are each due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In Leon County, Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 54 in Buffalo, Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 26 in Jewett and Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 75 in Normangee are each due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In Limestone County, the Family Medicine Center in Groesbeck and Limestone Medical Center in Groesbeck are each due to receive 200 doses of Moderna vaccine, and Rettig Family Health in Groesbeck and H-E-B Pharmacy No. 476 in Mexia are each due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In McLennan County, Hewitt Drug in Hewitt is due to receive 200 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 63 in Lorena is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine; Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 68 in McGregor is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine; Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 90 in Robinson is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine; H-E-B Pharmacy No. 423 in Waco is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine; H-E-B Pharmacy no. 557 in Waco is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine; H-E-B Pharmacy No. 583 in Waco is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine; H-E-B Pharmacy No. 64 in Waco is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine; H-E-B Pharmacy No. 672 in Waco is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine; Walgreen’s Pharmacy No. 04606 in Waco is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine; Walgreen’s Pharmacy No. 04607 in Waco is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine; Walgreen’s Pharmacy No. 09648 in Woodway is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the McLennan County State Juvenile Corrections facility in Mart is due to receive 100 doses of Moderna vaccine.

In Milam County, the Milam County Health Department in Cameron is due to receive 500 doses of Moderna vaccine and Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 19 in Rockdale is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In Mills County, the Family Practice Clinic of Mills County in Goldthwaite is due to receive 100 doses of Moderna vaccine.

In Navarro County, Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 77 in Corsicana and H-E-B Pharmacy No. 238 in Corsicana are each due to receive 100 does of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In Robertson County, Brookshire’s Pharmacy No. 13 in Hearne is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine and Wilson Drug in Hearne is due to receive 200 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In San Saba County, the Baylor Scott & White Clinic in San Saba is due to receive 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

All residents 16 and older are now eligible for vaccination.

DSHS has launched a Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler where residents may sign up for COVID-19 shots through a list of public health departments and select preferred times of day for vaccinations. Those without internet access may call 1-833-832-7067 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

BELL COUNTY

The Bell County Health District reported 20 additional cases of the virus Wednesday, increasing the county’s total to 21,655.

Of the total, 314 cases were active Wednesday, 20,930 patients have recovered, and 411 have died.

State data, which includes Fort Hood soldiers who live on post, showed a total of 21,741 cases and 398 deaths.

“Discussions with our Health Authority Dr. Smith and local healthcare providers regarding the threat level have led us to hold at Level 3 for the time being given the Easter holiday that just passed,” health district Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said Wednesday.

“We will reassess next week to see if the level warrants movement.”

Level 3—moderate, controlled transmission--is the second highest of the county’s four COVID-19 threat levels.

The Temple ISD announced Tuesday it will offer only in-person instruction when the 2021-2022 school year starts this fall.

“It is critical for Temple ISD to get all students back in the classroom. Our data shows that in-person learning is a better educational delivery system for our students and we cannot ignore this. Remote learning was always considered a crisis response and never a permanent educational solution,” Temple Superintendent Bobby Ott said.

“Remote instruction has proven to be a far lesser option to in-person learning, in particular for our younger students,” he said.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard Wednesday showed six active cases and a total of 349 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 20 cases involving students and seven cases involving staff members in the past seven days and 1,657 confirmed cases since March 16, 2020, 815 involving students and 842 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 no active cases Wednesday.

The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed nine cases across six campuses and one at a non-campus facility.

VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

BELL COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

MCLENNAN COUNTY

The Waco-McLennan County Health District reported 35 additional cases Wednesday, raising the county’s total to 26,297.

At least 169 cases were active Wednesday, 25,620 residents have recovered, and 22 patients were hospitalized, six more than on Tuesday, two of them on ventilators.

The virus has claimed 450 lives in the county, according to local data.

State data showed 462 deaths.

The Central Texas Food Bank will distribute food from 10 a.m. to noon on April 22 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 150 active cases Wednesday, 145 involving students, four involving staff members and one involving a faculty member. Since Aug. 1, 2020, a total of 3,765 cases have been confirmed. In the past seven days, 66 tests have come back positive. Baylor is requiring weekly COVID-19 testing of students, faculty, and staff.

The McLennan Community College dashboard Wednesday showed two active cases, and a cumulative total of 352 cases, 271 involving students.

The Waco ISD dashboard Wednesday showed three active cases across two campuses and 278 cases involving students, 293 involving staff and 17 involving those described as “other” since Sept. 8, 2020.

The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed seven cases across five campuses.

The Lorena ISD dashboard showed no active cases Wednesday.

The Mart ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed three cases at Mart Elementary.

The McGregor ISD’s online dashboard showed one case Wednesday at Isbill Junior High School.

VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

MCLENNAN COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

CORYELL COUNTY

Coryell County had 6,796 confirmed and 261 probable cases Wednesday.

State data showed at least 6,878 patients have recovered.

The virus has claimed 84 lives in the county, state data showed.

The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Wednesday showed nine cases across six campuses and one at a non-campus facility.

The Gatesville ISD’s online dashboard showed no active cases Wednesday.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported four cases involving employees Wednesday at the Christina Melton Crain Unit where 11 inmates were restricted; five cases involving employees at the Hilltop Unit; 14 cases involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit; three cases involving employees at the Mountain View Unit where four inmates were restricted and one was isolated; one case involving an employee at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit, and three cases involving inmates and three cases involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail where 27 inmates were restricted and three were isolated.

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 had 1,839 confirmed and 188 probable cases Wednesday.

State data showed at least 2,004 patients have recovered.

The virus has claimed the lives of 32 residents, state data showed.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Wednesday reported one case involving an inmate and one involving an employee at the William Hobby Unit in Marlin and one case involving an employee at the Marlin Transfer Unit, where 23 inmates were restricted, and one was isolated.

LIMESTONE COUNTY

Limestone County had 2,094 confirmed and 605 probable cases Wednesday.

At least 2,597 patients have recovered.

The virus has claimed the lives of 73 residents, state data showed.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

NAVARRO COUNTY

Navarro County had 3,417 confirmed and 2,245 probable cases Wednesday.

Of the total, at least 5,479 patients have recovered.

State data showed 139 deaths.

Local data showed 150 deaths.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

OTHER COUNTIES

Bosque County had 1,338 confirmed and 303 probable cases of the virus Wednesday. Of the total, 1,589 patients have recovered and 33 have died, according to state data.

Freestone County had 1,066 confirmed and 749 probable cases of the virus Wednesday. At least 1,742 patients have recovered and 49 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 where 81 inmates were restricted.

Hamilton County had 702 confirmed and 53 probable cases of the virus Wednesday. At least 726 patients have recovered and 26 have died, according to state data.

Hill County Wednesday had 3,736 confirmed cases and 679 probable cases. At least 4,262 patients have recovered and 105 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 1,794 confirmed and 329 probable cases Wednesday. At least 2,056 patients have recovered, and 32 residents have died.

Leon County had 1,254 confirmed and 344 probable cases Wednesday. At least 1,533 patients have recovered, and 42 residents have died, according to state data.

Milam County had 1,393 confirmed and 1,077 probable cases Wednesday. At least 2,448 patients have recovered and 46 have died, according to state data.

Mills County had 589 confirmed and 62 probable cases of the virus Wednesday. At least 624 patients have recovered and 21 have died, according to state data.

Robertson County had 1,654 confirmed cases Wednesday and 412 probable cases. At least 2,003 patients have recovered and 39 have died, according to state data. The Robertson County Jail is again allowing visitation, but the number of visitors at any given time is limited to four, one per inmate, masks are required, and no one younger than 16 is permitted.

San Saba County had 539 confirmed cases Wednesday and 255 probable cases. At least 776 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 where 26 inmates were restricted and one was isolated.

VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

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