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COVID-19 continues to cause disruptions in Central Texas as case counts rise

Waco-Temple-Bryan KWTX-TV logo Waco-Temple-Bryan KWTX-TV 9/23/2020 Staff
a close up of a box: Some students in one area school district were sent home Tuesday to learn remotely for the rest of the week, another high school football game was canceled and an annual Halloween event was called off as COVID-19 continues to cause disruptions in Central Texas. (File) © Provided by Waco-Temple-Bryan KWTX-TV Some students in one area school district were sent home Tuesday to learn remotely for the rest of the week, another high school football game was canceled and an annual Halloween event was called off as COVID-19 continues to cause disruptions in Central Texas. (File)

(KWTX) – Marlin middle and high school students were sent home Tuesday to learn remotely for the remainder of the week after more than a dozen new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed between the two schools, the Lampasas-Gatesville varsity and junior varsity football games were canceled because of COVID-19 concerns and Hewitt called off its annual Trunk or Treat Halloween celebration as the virus continued to cause disruptions in the region.

The total number of cases confirmed in Central Texas rose to 19,612 Tuesday.

According to state data Tuesday at least 282 area residents diagnosed with the virus have now died, including 82 Bell County residents, three more than the local count of 79; six Bosque County residents; 12 Coryell County residents, two more than the local count of 10; five Falls County residents; two Freestone County residents; four Hamilton County residents; 13 Hill County residents; eight Lampasas County residents; six Leon County residents; 10 Limestone County residents; 99 McLennan County residents, one more than the local count of 98; six Milam County residents, one fewer than the state count of five; 26 Navarro County residents, six fewer than the local count of 32; and four Robertson County residents, one fewer than the local count of three.

The statewide death toll rose by 77 Tuesday to 14,994, just less than 15,000, while the U.S. death toll passed a grim milestone as it increased to more than 200,000.

Texas added 17,820 additional cases of the virus to its total Tuesday, 3,964 of which are new.

The total number of cases confirmed in the state now stands at 716,207.

Of the total, 87,317 cases were active and 613,896 patients have recovered.

At least 3,207 patients were hospitalized Tuesday, up 75 from Monday, and in the two Trauma Service Areas that include most of Central Texas, hospitalizations rose to almost 100.

Almost 5.7 million tests have been administered statewide and the Lab Test Date Reported positivity rate was 7.85% Tuesday, down from 7.90% on Monday.

Restaurants, businesses, manufacturing facilities, museums and libraries were allowed to begin operating at 75% capacity Monday in Central Texas and around the state, but bars must remain closed under new guidelines Gov. Greg Abbott announced last week. Hospitals in the region may resume elective procedures, as well.

The reopening guidelines are predicated on hospitalizations in each of the 22 Trauma Service Areas in the state. The regions that include Freestone, Leon, Navarro and San Saba counties also have rates below 15%. Just three regions, Laredo, Victoria and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, had rates higher than 15% when the new guidelines were announced last week.

Nursing homes, assisted living centers and State Supported Living Centers in areas where COVID-19 hospitalizations are less than 15% may reopen for visitation with certain health protocols in place effective Sept. 24.

The total number of patients hospitalized

The Texas Education Agency and the state Department of State Health Services have created a website that provides an overview of COVID-19 cases in public schools. District level data will be available starting on Sept. 23.

BELL COUNTY

Bell County reported 44 additional cases Tuesday, increasing the county’s total to 5,265.

Of the total, 260 cases were active Tuesday and 4,926 patients have recovered.

The state count, which includes Fort Hood personnel who live on post rose by 21 to 5,327.

“We are seeing the echoes of a potential upward swing in COVID-19 cases today,” Bell County Health District Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said.

“If we are beginning to see the start of the expected fall increase it is imperative that we all do our part by socially distancing, washing our hands, staying home when we are sick, keeping our children home when anyone in the household is sick and avoiding gatherings where possible,” she said.

“We know that as the holidays approach it is sad to consider that COVID is still here and that may alter our plans for the remainder of the year, but that is unfortunately the reality we are facing. It has been rough and we appreciate the efforts of all residents in keeping this virus at bay. We are in this together,” she said.

Bell County’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 79 deaths Tuesday while state data showed 82, three more than on Monday.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard still showed 40 active cases Tuesday and 38 closed cases.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas Tuesday was reporting seven positive tests involving students and four involving faculty and staff since March.

The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed 59 confirmed cases involving staff and 16 involving students since March 16. Two active cases involving employees were reported Tuesday at Cedar Valley Elementary School; one case involving a student was reported at Fowler Elementary School; one case involving an employee was reported at Harker Heights Elementary School; two active cases involving students were reported at Peebles Elementary School; one active case involving a student was reported at Trimmier Elementary School; two cases involving students were reported at Venable Village Elementary School; one active case involving a student was reported at Willow Springs Elementary School; one active case involving an employee was reported at Audie Murphy Middle School, one active case involving a student was reported at Charles Patterson Middle School; one case involving an employee was reported at Palo Alto Middle School; one case involving an employee was reported at Rancier Middle School; one case involving a student was reported at Smith Middle School; one active case involving a student was reported at Union Grove Middle School; one active case involving an employee was reported at Harker Heights High School, and one active case involving a student was reported at Killeen High School.

The Killeen ISD said Tuesday it has received Texas Education Agency approval for its plan to provide asynchronous virtual learning for students who requested it during the school year. The plan is available online. Asynchronous virtual learning involves the use of prerecorded or pre-produced modules rather that real-time live instruction.

The Temple ISD’s online dashboard showed six confirmed cases Tuesday including three at Temple High School, one at Cater Elementary School, and two at Kennedy-Powell Elementary

The Belton ISD’s online dashboard showed one confirmed case at Belton Early Childhood School and one confirmed case at North Belton Middle School.

BELL COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

MCLENNAN COUNTY

The Waco-McLennan County Health District reported 55 additional cases of the virus Tuesday, raising the county’s total to 7,626.

Of the total, 415 cases were active Tuesday and 7,211 patients have recovered.

Fifty patients were hospitalized Tuesday, 13 of them on ventilators.

Thirty seven of the 50 are McLennan County residents.

The additional cases involve five residents ranging in age from 1 to 10; four ranging in age from 11 to 17; 17 ranging in age from 18 to 25; seven ranging in age from 26 to 29; 11 residents in their 30s; two residents in their 40s; six residents in their 50s; two residents in their 60s and one resident who’s 80 or older.

The county reported its 98th death Monday, McLennan County sheriff’s Deputy Chris “Koogle” Smith, 59.

State data Tuesday, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 99 residents have died.

Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 72 active cases Tuesday and a total of 1,014 confirmed cases since Aug. 1. Fifty cases have been confirmed over the past seven days for a seven-day clinical positivity rate of 3.8%.

The McLennan Community College dashboard Tuesday showed one active case involving an employee and seven involving students. A total of 65 cases have been confirmed in the last three weeks, including 12 involving employees or visitors and 53 involving students.

The Waco ISD dashboard showed six cumulative cases Tuesday involving students and seven involving staff including two cases this week at Bell’s Hill Elementary School and one at a non-campus building.

The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed one active case involving a student at Hewitt Elementary School; two active cases involving employees at Spring Valley Elementary School; one active case involving a student at Midway Middle School, and three active cases involving students at Midway High School.

A Robinson Primary School student last in class on Sept.16 has tested positive for COVID-19, the school’s principal, Missy Zacharias, said in a letter to parents Tuesday. Students and parents who were in close contact with the student have been contacted.

Hewitt’s 10th annual Trunk or Treat event on Halloween was canceled Tuesday because of COVID-19 concerns.

Free COVID-19 testing will be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Waco Multipurpose Facility at 1020 Elm Ave. in Waco for which no registration is required; from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 2 and Waco Fire Station No. 5 at 4515 Bagby Ave. for which online registration is required, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct 8 through Oct. 10 at the First Baptist Church at 307 Center St. in Lorena for which online registration is required.

MCLENNAN COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

CORYELL COUNTY

Coryell County reported 16 additional cases Tuesday for a total of 649 of which 160 were active.

A total of 479 patients have recovered.

State data, which include Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates, showed 1,799 active cases and 1,357 recoveries.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday was reporting 15 active cases involving inmates and 38 involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville where 220 inmates were on medical restriction and one was isolated; 13 cases involving inmates and 67 involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 368 inmates were medically restricted and 14 were medically isolated; five cases involving employees at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville; eight cases involving employees at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville, and one case involving an inmate and four cases involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail in Gatesville where one inmate was medically isolated

The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed one case involving a student and one involving an employee at Williams/Ledger Elementary School, and one case involving an employee at Clements Parsons Elementary School.

Friday night’s game between Gatesville and Lampasas was canceled Tuesday because of “COVID-19 concerns among Lampasas High School players,” the two districts said in social media posts. Thursday night’s JV game between Gatesville and Lampasas was also cancelled. Gatesville coaches were searching for another team to play Friday. Junior high school games at Lampasas and volleyball games Friday night at Lampasas are still scheduled to be played.

Twelve people have died in Coryell County, according to state data, but according to local data the virus has claimed 10 lives in the county 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.

Free testing is available from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday at the Civic Center at 301 Veterans Memorial Dr. in Gatesville. ID is required.

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.

LIMESTONE COUNTY

Limestone County reported 559 confirmed cases Tuesday, an increase of three.

Of the total, 441 patients have recovered.

Ten residents diagnosed with the virus have died.

The first 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.

NAVARRO COUNTY

Navarro County reported 1,249 confirmed and 355 probable cases Tuesday for a total of 1.604.

Of the total 163 cases were active Tuesday and 1,409 patients have recovered.

The county reported a 32nd death on Tuesday.

State data, based on birth certificates and county of residence, showed 26 deaths.

OTHER COUNTIES

According to the latest figures Tuesday Bosque County was reporting 304 cases, an increase of 10 over Monday’s count, and 226 recoveries. Revised state data based on death certificates showed six deaths in the county.

Falls County had 227 confirmed cases, an increase of four, and 165 recoveries Tuesday. State data showed five deaths from the virus. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported four cases involving employees at the William P. Hobby Unit in Marlin where 198 inmates were on medical restriction. Eleven inmates were restricted at the Marlin Transfer Facility. Marlin Middle School and Marlin High School will shift to remote instruction only from Wednesday through Friday out of an abundance of caution after six COVID-19 cases were confirmed at the middle school and seven at the high school. The schools will be deep cleaned. Students must log into Google Classroom daily. Students return to classrooms on Monday.

Freestone County was reporting 406 cases Tuesday. Of the total, 348 patients have recovered. One case involving an inmate and one involving an employee were reported Tuesday at the William R. Boyd Unit in Teague where 144 inmates were on medical restriction and one was medically isolated.. The county reported its first death from the virus on Aug. 31 and a second death was reported on Sept. 21.

Hamilton County was reporting 118 confirmed cases Tuesday. A total of 100 patients have recovered. Four residents have died of the virus, according to state data.

Hill County reported a total of 615 cases Tuesday, an increase of 10, with 372 recoveries. Thirteen residents diagnosed with the virus have died, according to state data. The Hill College dashboard showed one active case involving a student at its Hillsboro campus. Nine students and five staff members in the Hillsboro ISD have confirmed cases of the virus including two students and three staff members at Hillsboro Elementary School; six students at Hillsboro Intermediate School, one student at Hillsboro Junior High School, and two staff members at Hillsboro High School.

Lampasas County was reporting 233 cases Tuesday, an increase of three, with 148 recoveries. Eight residents diagnosed with the virus have died, according to state data. Friday night’s game between Gatesville and Lampasas was canceled Tuesday because of “COVID-19 concerns among Lampasas High School players,” the two districts said in social media posts. Thursday night’s JV game between Gatesville and Lampasas was also cancelled. Gatesville coaches were searching for another team to play Friday. Junior high school games at Lampasas and volleyball games Friday night at Lampasas are still scheduled to be played. The 2020 Wine Celebration (Tour) scheduled for Saturday has been canceled, the Lampasas Chamber of Commerce announced Monday.

Leon County reported 233 confirmed cases, an increase of three, with 190 recoveries Tuesday. The virus has now claimed six lives in the county, according to state data.

Milam County reported 488 cases Tuesday, an increase of five, 18 of which were active. A total of 464 patients have recovered. The county was reporting six deaths Tuesday. State data showed five deaths.

Mills County reported 55 cases with 34 recoveries Tuesday.

Robertson County had 321 confirmed cases Tuesday. Of that number, 58 cases were active and 260 patients have recovered. State data showed four deaths, but local data showed three.

San Saba County reported 52 cases and 39 recoveries Tuesday. The TDCJ reported one case involving an employee of the San Saba Transfer Facility.

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

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