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Central Texas COVID-19 case count tops 59,000, state total nears 2 million

Central Texas COVID-19 case count tops 59,000, state total nears 2 million

January 26, 2021
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The total number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Central Texas since the start of the pandemic rose to more than 59,000 Tuesday while the statewide total neared 2 million. (File) (kwch) (KWTX) – The total number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Central Texas since the start of the pandemic […]

Click here to view original web page at www.kwtx.com


The total number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Central Texas since the start of the pandemic...
The total number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Central Texas since the start of the pandemic rose to more than 59,000 Tuesday while the statewide total neared 2 million. (File) (kwch)

(KWTX) – The total number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Central Texas since the start of the pandemic rose by 337 to at least 59,004 Tuesday while the statewide total neared 2 million.

Fifteen more Central Texas residents have died.

According to Texas Department of State Health Services data Tuesday at least 1,061 area residents diagnosed with the virus have died, including 238 Bell County residents, 23 more than the local count of 207; 22 Bosque County residents; 49 Coryell County residents, 25 more than the local count of 24; 23 Falls County residents; 30 Freestone County residents; 23 Hamilton County residents; 56 Hill County residents; 19 Lampasas County residents; 28 Leon County residents; 43 Limestone County residents; 365 McLennan County residents, nine more than the local count of 356; 25 Milam County residents; 16 Mills County residents; 81 Navarro County residents, one fewer than the local count of 82; 26 Robertson County residents, and 17 San Saba County residents.

The statewide death toll rose by 307 Tuesday to 34,701 and the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state increased by 22,478, 21,813 of them new, to 1,988,063.

Of the total, 376,862 cases were active Tuesday, 1,845,210 patients have recovered, and 12,851 were in hospitals, an increase of more than 60 over Monday’s total.

In Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam and Mills counties, at least 218 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Tuesday, accounting for about 25% all hospitalizations and filling about 21% of available beds.

At least 123 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Tuesday in Trauma Service Area M, which includes McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Hill and Limestone counties, accounting for about 28% of all hospitalizations and occupying about 19% of available beds, above the 15% ceiling that triggers capacity reductions under orders Gov. Greg Abbott issued on Sept. 17 and Oct. 7.

The Lab Test Date positivity Tuesday was 14.44%, down slightly from 14.765% on Monday.

Experts say a positivity rate of 5% or less indicates the virus is under control.

The COVID-19 therapeutic infusion center in Austin, which opened on Jan. 6, has been expanded in collaboration with Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White, and St. David’s Healthcare to provide more COVID-19 patients with monoclonal antibody therapy, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday.

A 20-bed alternate care site has been opened in Lubbock to expand hospital capacity in the region.

The site can be expanded if needed.

VACCINATIONS

The Texas Department of Human Services was expecting to receive another 332,750 doses of COVID-19 vaccine this week from the federal government and directed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ship the doses directly to 212 providers across the state including more than 80 hub providers. DSHS is also ordering 216,350 doses intended as second doses for those who’ve receive initial vaccinations.

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, said Tuesday the U.S. is accelerating shipment of vaccine to hard-pressed states with the goal of providing enough doses to vaccine 300 million people by late summer or early fall.

Texas officials have established more than 80 vaccination hubs around the state.

Six vaccine hub providers in Central Texas were all scheduled to receive vaccine shipments this week, including the Bell County Public Health District, which was due to receive 3,900 more doses of the Pfizer vaccine; the Coryell Health Medical Clinic in Gatesville, which was due to receive 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine; Falls Community Hospital and Clinic in Marlin, which was due to receive 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine; Ascension Providence Health Center in Waco, which was due to receive 1,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine; the Waco-McLennan County Health District, which was due to receive 1,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine, andthe Corsicana-Navarro County Public Health District, which was due to receive 1,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Goodall Witcher Hospital in Clifton was due to receive 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine, the DSHS clinic in Lampasas was due to receive 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine; the McLennan County State Juvenile Corrections Facility in Mart was due to receive 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine, and the Milam County Health Department was due to receive 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

About 3.9 million doses of vaccine have been allocated to the state and about 3 million have been shipped as of Tuesday, but while interactive Texas Department of State Health Services vaccine availability map Tuesday showed some area providers with doses on hand, most if not all vaccination slots are taken.

Houston software developer Artem Kamshilin created an interactive vaccine tracking map that filters state data to provide up-to-date reports.

Statewide about 1.6 million initial doses of the vaccine and 297,503 second doses have been administered for a total of about 1.9 million.

Now eligible for vaccination are those covered by Phase 1A of the state’s vaccination distribution plan, including frontline healthcare workers and residents and employees of long-term care facilities and those covered by Phase 1B of the plan including residents 65 and older and residents 16 and older with medical conditions that put them at risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

The Waco-McLennan County Health District has replaced its online vaccination registration system with an online waiting list that residents can access anytime.

The City of Waco has activated its Public Information Hotline to allow residents who don’t have access to email or the internet to get the latest updates on testing sites, vaccine availability and other information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number is (254) 750-5606.

The Bell County Health District says its vaccination centers at the Killeen Community Center at 2201 East Veterans Memorial Blvd. and at 220 West Avenue D in Temple will be open on Tuesdays through Saturdays and closed on Mondays and Sundays so the schedule won’t be disrupted by potential shipping delays. Appointments are required.

Anyone unable to make an appointment online may call the Bell County COVID-19 vaccination hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at (254)-933-5203.

The Bell County Public Health District has also created an online waiting list for eligible residents willing to show up on short notice to receive an unused dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine should any be left over at the end of the day at either of the county’s vaccination clinics in Killeen and Temple. As many as a dozen doses may remain at the end of a day of vaccinations, officials said. The new waiting list does not guarantee vaccination, so residents should continue to try to make appointments for vaccination at one of the two clinics, officials said.

Coryell Health held an appointment-only vaccination clinic Saturday at the Gatesville Civic Center for which all appointments were filled. Coryell Health vaccinated 765 people Saturday and has vaccinated more than 1,000 since receiving a shipment of vaccine on Jan. 21.

Veterans can get up-to-date information on VA’s VA COVID-19 vaccine webpage, which launched on Dec. 11, may sign up for regular updates on the vaccine on the vaccine on the VA’s Stay Informed page, and may contact their primary care providers through www.myhealth.va.gov or by calling 1-800-423-2111.

The Texas Department of State Health Services vaccination dashboard Tuesday showed that in Bell County, with 265,191 residents who are 16 and older, 14,721 residents have received a first dose and 2,641 have received both, while in McLennan County, with 198,642 residents 16 and older, 13,119 residents have received a first dose and 1,375 have received both.

The dashboard Tuesday showed the administration of 770 initial and 53 secondary vaccinations in Bosque County; 2,257 initial and 221 secondary vaccinations in Coryell County; 812 initial and 37 secondary vaccinations in Falls County; 549 initial and 11 secondary vaccinations in Freestone County; 1,586 initial and 97 secondary vaccinations in Hamilton County; 1,514 initial vaccinations and 99 secondary vaccinations in Hill County; 525 initial and 68 secondary vaccinations in Lampasas County; 492 initial and 17 secondary vaccinations in Leon County; 829 initial and 15 secondary vaccinations in Limestone County; 1,279 initial and 59 secondary vaccinations in Milam County; 273 initial and 20 secondary vaccinations in Mills County; 1,926 initial and 103 secondary vaccinations in Navarro County; 550 initial and 86 secondary vaccinations in Robertson County, and 86 initial and six secondary vaccinations in San Saba County.

BELL COUNTY

The Bell County Public Health District reported eight more deaths Tuesday, a Bell County woman in her 70s, two Killeen women in their 80s, two Bell County men in their 80s, a Temple man in his 70s; a Belton woman in her 80s, and a Killeen man in his 70s, raising the virus’ toll in the county to 215, according to local data.

State data showed 238 deaths, an increase of five.

The health district also reported 163 additional cases of the virus Tuesday, 60 of them new, raising the county’s total to 17,809.

Of that number, 1,883 cases were active Tuesday and 15,926 patients have recovered.

In state Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell County, at least 218 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Tuesday, accounting for about 25% all hospitalizations and filling about 21% of available beds, sufficiently high to trigger capacity reductions under orders Gov. Greg Abbott issued on Sept. 17 and Oct. 7.

Temple High School’s annual showcase on Wednesday, which gives students who will enter as part of next year’s freshman class, a chance to visit the school with their families, will include a virtual option for those unable to attend in person. The virtual presentation will be available beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday on the Temple High School website.

The upcoming concert by the band Foreigner at the Bell Expo Center has been canceled because of concerns about the virus. The band was to have performed on April 25. Ticket purchasers will receive refunds starting on Feb. 1 through point of purchase.

Temple’s city hall, public library, historic post office, Parks and Recreation administration building, Public Works Service Center, Human Resources Department, and Utility Business Office and Municipal Court will remain closed to walk-in traffic through Feb. 28 because of COVID-19 infection rates. Services at the facilities remain available online, by phone, by appointment, at curbside or by drive-thru, she said. City employees who are able to work remotely will continue to do so, the city said. Essential employees will adhere to safety guidelines including social distancing, regular hand washing and the use of face coverings.

Temple Fire & Rescue will host drive-thru COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at Fire Station No. 1 at 210 North 3rd St. Tests are free. Residents may register online or on site. More information is available online.

Testing is available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays in January at Nolanville’s Central Fire Station at 84 North Main St. Registration is not required.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard Tuesday showed 20 active cases and a cumulative total of 210 cases since Aug. 1.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas Tuesday reported no active cases and 26 positive tests for the virus since March, 20 involving students.

The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed nearly 1,300 cases since March 16, 584 involving students and 698 involving staff, and 45 involving students and 47 involving staff in the past seven days. The dashboard showed one active case Tuesday involving an employee at Fowler Elementary; one involving an employee at Harker Heights Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Hay Branch Elementary; two involving students and one involving an employee at Haynes Elementary; three involving students and three involving employees at Iduma Elementary; one involving an employee at Maude Moore Wood Elementary; one involving an employee at Maxdale Elementary; one involving a student at Meadows Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Montague Village Elementary; one involving a student at Mountain View Elementary; one involving an employee at Oveta Culp Hobby Elementary; one involving a student at Pershing Park Elementary; one involving a student at Reeces Creek Elementary; two involving employees at Richard E. Cavazos Elementary; one involving a student at Saegert Elementary; one involving a student at Skipcha Elementary; one involving an employee at West Ward Elementary; three involving students at Audie Murphy Middle School; 10 involving students and five involving employees at Charles Paterson Middle School; one involving a student at Eastern Hills Middle School; one involving a student at Gateway Middle School; two involving students at Liberty Hill Middle School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Live Oak Ridge Middle School; one involving a student at Manor Middle School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Nolan Middle School; two involving students at Rancier Middle School; one involving a student at Smith Middle School; one involving an employee at Early College High School; six involving students at Ellison High School; two involving employees at Gateway High School; four involving students and four involving employees at Harker Heights High School; two involving students and two involving employees at Killeen High School; one involving a student at the KISD Career Center; one involving a student at Shoemaker High School, and 12 involving employees at non-campus facilities, seven in Learning Support Services, two in technology, one in transportation, one in central administration and one in facilities and grounds maintenance.

The Killeen ISD is offering free COVID-19 screening to students and employees from 7 a.m. to 11 .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 Tuesday showed one case at Temple High School, two at Bonham Middle School, one at Lamar Middle School, one at Travis Middle School, one at Jefferson Elementary, two at Raye-Allen Elementary, one at Edwards Academy, one in administration and one in transportation.

The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed one case at Belton Early Childhood School; one case at Charter Oak Elementary; three at Chisholm Trail Elementary; two at High Point Elementary; one at Leon Heights Elementary; two at Miller Heights Elementary; two at Pirtle Elementary; one at Southwest Elementary; two at Sparta Elementary; one at Tarver Elementary; one at Belton Middle School; three at Lake Belton Middle School; five at North Belton Middle School; two at South Belton Middle School; eight at Belton High School; two at Belton New Tech High School; six at Lake Belton High School, and five at non-campus facilities.

MCLENNAN COUNTY

The Waco-McLennan County Health District reported the deaths of four more residents diagnosed with the virus Tuesday, a 69-year-old man, a 62-year-old man, a 66-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man, raising the virus’ toll in the county to 356, according to local data.

State data based on death certificates and county of residence showed 365 deaths, an increase of two.

The health district also reported 45 additional cases of the virus Tuesday, 13 confirmed and 32 probable, increasing the county’s total to 22,846.

Of the total, 770 cases were active Tuesday, 21,720 patients have recovered, and 117 were hospitalized, 27 of them on ventilators.

Of the 117, 75 were McLennan County residents.

At least 123 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Tuesday in the Trauma Service Area that includes McLennan County, accounting for about 28% of all hospitalizations and occupying about 19% of available beds, which is above the 15% ceiling that triggers capacity reductions under orders Gov. Greg Abbott issued on Sept. 17 and Oct. 7.

The city has scheduled a virtual town hall meeting on COVID-19 at 7 p.m. Thursday that includes Waco City Councilwoman Andrea Barefield, McLennan County Commissioner Patricia Miller, Dr. Terri Woods Campbell, Waco NAACP President Dr. Peaches Henry, Toliver Chapel Missionary Church Pastor Jimmy Hunter and former U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards. The town hall will air on Channel 10 on the Grande and Spectrum cable systems and will be streamed on https://wccc.tv/.

The health district has replaced its online vaccination registration system, which left some residents frustrated, with an online waiting list that’s always accessible, officials announced Wednesday.

The City of Waco has activated its Public Information Hotline to allow residents who don’t have access to email or the internet to get the latest updates on testing sites, vaccine availability and other information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number is (254) 750-5606.

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.

The Central Texas Food Bank will distribute food from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday at Waco ISD Stadium at 1401 South New Road.

Baylor University’s online dashboard Tuesday showed 205 active cases including 188 involving students, 10 involving staff, four involving faculty and three involving contractors. In the past seven days 85 positive tests have been administered. A total of 2,446 cases have been confirmed since Aug. 1. Baylor, which is requiring weekly COVID-19 testing of students, faculty and staff, has opened a multi-million dollar lab at the 330,000-square foot Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative facility in partnership with My Labs Direct (MLD) to process the molecular PCR tests. The lab can process as many as 8,000 tests daily and in most cases can deliver results within 24 hours, the school said.

The McLennan Community College dashboard showed 25 active cases Tuesday, 18 involving students, and 307 total cases in the past three weeks, 238 involving students. The college is offering classes in blended-hybrid and online formats during the spring semester.

The Waco ISD dashboard Tuesday showed cumulative totals of 233 students, 257 employees, and 10 classified as “other” have been diagnosed with the virus since Sept. 8. The dashboard Tuesday showed one active case at Bell’s Hill Elementary; one at Mountainview Elementary; two at South Waco Elementary; one at Cesar Chavez Middle School; one at the Greater Waco Area Health Care Academy; two at University High School; one at Waco High School, and one at a non-campus facility. Indian Spring Middle School has shifted to remote instruction through Jan. 29. In-person instruction will resume on Feb. 1.

The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed three cases involving students at Castleman Creek Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Hewitt Elementary; two involving students and two involving employees at South Bosque Elementary; one involving a student at Speegleville Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Spring Valley Elementary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Woodway Elementary; two involving students and four involving employees at River Valley Intermediate; three involving students at Woodgate Intermediate; four involving students and one involving an employee at Midway Middle School; 17 involving students and eight involving employees at Midway High School, and two involving employees at non-campus facilities.

The Lorena ISD dashboard Tuesday showed two cases at Lorena Middle School, one involving a student, and four cases at Lorena High School, three involving students.

The Mart ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed one active case at Mart High School.

The McGregor ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed two cases at Isbill Junior High and one at McGregor High School.

CORYELL COUNTY

Coryell County was still reporting 2,564 confirmed cases of the virus Tuesday.

Of the total, 483 cases were active, 2,057 patients have recovered and 24 have died.

State data, which includes inmates in state prison units, showed 4,294 confirmed cases Tuesday and 130 probable cases.

Of the total, 3,912 patients have recovered and a 49th resident has died, state data showed.

In state Trauma Service Area L, which includes Coryell County, at least 218 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Tuesday, accounting for about 25% all hospitalizations and filling almost 21% of available beds.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has advised the county that the TSA’s hospitalization rate is sufficiently high to trigger capacity reductions, bar closings and suspension of elective surgery under orders Gov. Greg Abbott issued on Sept. 17 and Oct. 7.

Coryell Health continues to offer elective surgeries despite the restrictions because the hospital has “available beds and adequate supplies,” which allows for an exemption under the governor’s orders.

The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed three cases involving students and two involving employees at Cove High School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Cove Junior High; five involving students and two involving employees at S. C. Lee Junior High; two involving students at Martin Walker Elementary; two involving students and one involving an employee at Williams/Ledger Elementary; four involving employees at Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy, and two involving employees at non-campus facilities.

The Gatesville ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed seven cases at Gatesville High School, four involving students; three at Gatesville Junior High, two involving students; nine cases at Gatesville Intermediate, seven involving students, and three at Gatesville Elementary, two involving students.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported two cases involving inmates and 14 involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit where 133 inmates were on medical restriction and four were isolated; 28 cases involving inmates and 15 involving employees at the Hilltop Unit where 305 inmates were restricted and 28 were isolated; 15 cases involving inmates and 44 involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 791 inmates were medically restricted and 15 were medically isolated; 20 cases involving inmates and 13 involving employees at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville where 208 inmates were restricted and 21 were isolated; nine cases involving employees at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit where 150 inmates were restricted and one was isolated, and six cases involving inmates and eight involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail where 187 inmates were restricted and six 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.

FALLS COUNTY

Falls County had 1,301 confirmed and 66 probable cases Tuesday.

Of the total, 1,212 patients have recovered and 23 residents have died, according to state data.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported 36 case involving inmates and nine involving employees at the William Hobby Unit in Marlin where 937 inmates were restricted and 37 were isolated, and five cases involving inmates and four involving employees at the Marlin Transfer Unit where 56 inmates were restricted and five were isolated.

LIMESTONE COUNTY

Limestone County had 1,197 confirmed and 274 probable cases of the virus Tuesday.

Of the total, 1,301 patients have recovered.

State data showed three more deaths, increasing the county’s death toll to 43.

NAVARRO COUNTY

Navarro County had 3,175 confirmed and 1,906 probable cases Monday.

Local data showed 82 deaths.

State data showed 4,289 recoveries and 81 deaths.

OTHER COUNTIES

Bosque County had 836 confirmed and 189 probable cases of the virus Tuesday, according to state data. At least 886 patients have recovered and 22 have died, according to state data.

Freestone County had 686 confirmed and 324 probable cases of the virus Tuesday, according to state data. Of the total, 930 patients have recovered and 30 have died. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported four cases involving inmates and five involving employees at the William Boyd Unit in Teague where 236 inmates were medically restricted and four were isolated.

Hamilton County had 545 confirmed cases Tuesday and 40 probable cases, according to state data. At least 493 patients have recovered and 23 have died.

Hill County had 2,014 confirmed and 454 probable cases of the virus Tuesday, according to state data. At least 2,228 patients have recovered and 56 have died, according to state data. The Hill College dashboard showed one case involving an employee Tuesday on the Hill County campus. The Hillsboro ISD dashboard Tuesday showed one case involving an employee at Hillsboro Intermediate and five involving employees at Hillsboro High School.

Lampasas County had 905 confirmed cases Tuesday, an increase of 21, and 104 probable cases of the virus, according to state data. At least 800 patients have recovered and 19 residents have died, according to state data.

Leon County had 676 confirmed and 229 probable cases of the virus Tuesday, according to state data. At least 792 patients have recovered and 28 residents have died.

Milam County reported 1,140 confirmed and 790 probable cases of the virus Tuesday. Forty eight cases were active and 16 patients were hospitalized. Local data showed 24 deaths. State data showed 1,863 recoveries and 25 deaths.

Mills County had 364 confirmed and 26 probable cases of the virus Tuesday according to state data, which showed 275 patients have recovered and 16 residents have died.

Robertson County had 831 confirmed and 281 probable cases of the virus Tuesday according to state data, which showed 962 patients have recovered and 26 residents have died.

San Saba County had 385 confirmed and 130 probable cases Tuesday, according to state data, which showed at least 439 patients have recovered and 17 have died. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported five cases involving inmates and eight involving employees at the San Saba Transfer Unit where 187 inmates were restricted and six were medically isolated.

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