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Fewer new COVID-19 cases reported in Central Texas, but death toll continues to rise as vaccine trickles in

Fewer new COVID-19 cases reported in Central Texas, but death toll continues to rise as vaccine trickles in

January 26, 2021
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The increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Central Texas appeared to be slowing Monday, but the death toll continued to rise as more doses of vaccine trickled into the region. (File) (KALB) (KWTX) – The increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 in […]

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


The increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Central Texas appeared to be slowing...
The increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Central Texas appeared to be slowing Monday, but the death toll continued to rise as more doses of vaccine trickled into the region. (File) (KALB)

(KWTX) - The increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Central Texas appeared to be slowing Monday and the number of patients hospitalized in the area was slowly dropping, but the death toll continued to rise as more doses of vaccine trickled into the region.

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.

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,and the 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.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Central Texas increased to 58,667 Monday, up 590 from Friday’s total, and the death toll rose by more than 20.

The virus may have claimed as many as 1,048 lives in Central Texas, but according to Texas Department of State Health Services data Monday, at least 1,046 Central Texas residents diagnosed with the virus have died, including 233 Bell County residents, 26 more than the local count of 207; 22 Bosque County residents; 48 Coryell County residents, 24 more than the local count of 24; 23 Falls County residents; 30 Freestone County residents; 23 Hamilton County residents; 54 Hill County residents; 19 Lampasas County residents; 28 Leon County residents; 40 Limestone County residents; 363 McLennan County residents, 11 more than the local count of 352; 24 Milam County residents; 16 Mills County residents; 80 Navarro County residents, two fewer than the local count of 82; 26 Robertson County residents, and 17 San Saba County residents.

The statewide death toll rose to 34,394 Monday, up 72 from Sunday and 687 from Friday.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose by 5,524 Monday, 5,205 of them new, to 1,965,585.

Of the total, 377,765 cases were active Monday, 1,181,758 patients have recovered, and 12,785 were in hospitals, down 665 from Sunday and 779 fewer than on Friday.

In Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam and Mills counties, at least 205 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Monday, accounting for about 23% all hospitalizations and filling about 19% of available beds.

At least 128 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Monday in Trauma Service Area M, which includes McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Hill and Limestone counties, accounting for about 29% of all hospitalizations and occupying about 20% 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 Monday was 14.765%, down from 15.35% on Sunday and from 16.57% on Friday.

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

About 3.9 million doses of vaccine have been allocated to the state and about 2.8 million have been shipped as of Monday, but an interactive Texas Department of State Health Services vaccine availability map Monday showed the majority of sites to which doses have been delivered have none available.

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

Statewide about 1.49 million initial doses of the vaccine and 265,786 second doses have been administered for a total of about 1.75 million.

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

Six of the state’s vaccine hub providers are in Central Texas including the Bell County Public Health District, the Coryell Health Medical Clinic in Gatesville, Falls Community Hospital and Clinic in Marlin; Ascension Providence Health Center in Waco; the Waco-McLennan County Health District, and the Corsicana-Navarro County Public Health District.

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.

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.

Coryell Health held an appointment-only vaccination clinic Saturday at the Gatesville Civic Center for which all appointments were filled.

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 Monday showed that in Bell County, with 265,191 residents who are 16 and older, 14,640 residents have received a first dose and 2,520 have received both, while in McLennan County, with 198,642 residents 16 and older, 13,024 residents have received a first dose and 1,285 have received both.

The dashboard Monday showed the administration of 763 initial and 41 secondary vaccinations in Bosque County; 2,216 initial and 160 secondary vaccinations in Coryell County; 811 initial and 32 secondary vaccinations in Falls County; 546 initial and eight secondary vaccinations in Freestone County; 1,579 initial and 93 secondary vaccinations in Hamilton County; 1,493 initial vaccinations and 73 secondary vaccinations in Hill County; 515 initial and 61 secondary vaccinations in Lampasas County; 441 initial and 15 secondary vaccinations in Leon County; 847 initial and 14 secondary vaccinations in Limestone County; 1,277 initial and 47 secondary vaccinations in Milam County; 268 initial and 20 secondary vaccinations in Mills County; 1,908 initial and 77 secondary vaccinations in Navarro County; 540 initial and 48 secondary vaccinations in Robertson County, and 84 initial and six secondary vaccinations in San Saba County.

BELL COUNTY

The Bell County Public Health District Monday reported the deaths of two Killeen men in their 70s, a Harker Heights woman in her 70s, a Killeen woman in her 40s; a Belton man in his 70s, a Belton woman in her 80s, and a Belton man in his 50s, increasing the virus’ toll to 207, according to local data.

State data showed 233 deaths, an increase of seven since Friday.

The health district also reported 253 additional cases of the virus, 60 of them new, raising the county’s total to 17,646.

Of the total, 2,065 cases were active Monday and 15,581 patients have recovered.

The county’s incidence rate dropped to 568.9 per 100,000 residents.

“It is good to see our rate decline, but please continue to be vigilant to help us bring it down further,” health district Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said Monday.

In state Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell County, at least 205 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Monday, accounting for about 23% all hospitalizations and filling about 19% of available beds, sufficiently high to trigger capacity reductions under orders Gov. Greg Abbott issued on Sept. 17 and Oct. 7.

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.

A temporary drive-thru COVID-19 testing site will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Killeen Special Events Center at 3301 South WS Young Dr. Online registration is required.

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 Monday showed 20 active cases and a cumulative total of 210 cases since Aug. 1.

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

The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed more than 1,250 cases since March 16, 567 involving students and 685 involving staff, and 41 involving students and 53 involving staff in the past seven days. The dashboard showed one active case Monday involving a student at Clear Creek 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 four 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 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; three involving students and one involving an employee at Pershing Park Elementary; three involving employees at Richard E. Cavazos Elementary; one involving a student at Skipcha Elementary; one involving an employee at West Ward Elementary; two involving employees at Willow Springs Elementary; two involving students at Audie Murphy Middle School; six involving students and seven involving employees at Charles Paterson Middle School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Liberty Hill Middle School; one involving a student and two involving employees at Live Oak Ridge Middle School; one involving a student at Manor Middle School; one involving a student and two involving employees at Nolan Middle School; one involving an employee at Palo Alto Middle School; two involving students at Rancier Middle School; one involving a student at Smith Middle School; one involving a student at Early College High School; three involving students and one involving an employee at Ellison High School; one involving an employee at Gateway High School; five involving students and three involving employees at Harker Heights High School; three involving students and three involving employees at Killeen High School; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Shoemaker High School, and 13 involving employees at non-campus facilities, seven in Learning Support Services, three in technology, two in transportation 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 Monday showed four cases at Temple High School, two at Bonham Middle School, one at Lamar Middle School, one at Jefferson Elementary, two at Raye-Allen Elementary, one at Edwards Academy, two in administration and one in transportation.

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

MCLENNAN COUNTY

The Waco-McLennan County Health District reported 10 more deaths from the virus Monday including four from Sunday, a 90-year-old woman, an 84-year-old woman, a 52-year-old man, a 68-year-old man, a 73-year-old man, a 62-year-old man, a 75-year-old man, a 77-year-old woman, a 47-year-old man and a 79-year-old woman.

The deaths increased the virus’ toll in the county to 352, according to local data.

State data, based on death certificates and county of residence, showed 363 deaths, an increase of three since Friday.

The health district also reported 34 additional cases from Sunday, 18 confirmed and 16 probable, and 110 Monday, 75 confirmed and 35 probable, increasing the county’s total to 22,801.

Of that number, 787 cases were active Monday, 21,662 patients have recovered, and 111 were hospitalized, 32 of them on ventilators.

Of the 111, 73 were McLennan County residents.

The health district reported 70 additional cases of the virus on Saturday, 42 confirmed and 28 probable, and another death, a 69-year-old man.

At least 151 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Monday in the Trauma Service Area that includes McLennan County, accounting for about 29% of all hospitalizations and occupying about 20% 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 Monday showed 220 active cases including 196 involving students, 13 involving staff, six involving faculty and five involving contractors. In the past seven days 100 positive tests have been administered. A total of 2,425 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 23 active cases Monday, 16 involving students, and 304 total cases in the past three weeks, 235 involving students. The college is offering classes in blended-hybrid and online formats during the spring semester.

The Waco ISD dashboard Monday showed cumulative totals of 226 students, 254 employees, and 10 classified as “other” have been diagnosed with the virus since Sept. 8. The dashboard showed one active case at the Greater Waco Area Health Care Academy. 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 Monday showed one case involving a student at Castleman Creek Elementary; one involving an employee at Hewitt Elementary; three involving students and four 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; two involving students and one involving an employee at Woodway Elementary; three involving students and four involving employees at River Valley Intermediate; four involving students at Woodgate Intermediate; four involving students and one involving an employee at Midway Middle School; 15 involving students and eight involving employees at Midway High School, and two involving employees at non-campus facilities.

The Lorena ISD dashboard Monday showed two cases involving students at Lorena Primary; one involving a student and one involving an employee at Lorena Middle School, one involving a student and one involving an employee at Lorena High School, and one involving an employee at a non-campus facility.

The Mart ISD’s online dashboard showed no active cases Monday.

The McGregor ISD’s online dashboard Monday showed five cases at McGregor Elementary, three at Isbill Junior High and two at McGregor High School.

CORYELL COUNTY

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

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 4,260 confirmed cases Monday and 130 probable cases.

Of the total, 3,861 patients have recovered and 48 have died, state data showed.

In state Trauma Service Area L, which includes Coryell County, at least 205 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Monday, accounting for about 23% all hospitalizations and filling almost 19% 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 Monday showed 12 cases involving students and three involving employees at Cove High School; two involving students and one involving an employee at Cove Junior High; three involving students and two involving employees at S. C. Lee Junior High; one involving a student at Clements Parsons Elementary; one involving a student at Fairview Jewell Elementary; one involving an employee at Hettie Halstead Elementary; three involving students at Martin Walker Elementary; two involving students and three involving employees 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 Monday showed nine cases at Gatesville High School, eight involving students; two at Gatesville Junior High, one involving a student; six cases at Gatesville Intermediate, three involving students; seven at Gatesville Elementary, six involving students, and two involving transportation employees.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Monday reported two cases involving inmates and 16 involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit where 87 inmates were on medical restriction and two were isolated; 35 cases involving inmates and 18 involving employees at the Hilltop Unit where 317 inmates were restricted and 35 were isolated; 20 cases involving inmates and 48 involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit in Gatesville where 791 inmates were medically restricted and 21 were medically isolated; 20 cases involving inmates and 15 involving employees at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville where 208 inmates were restricted and 20 were isolated; 15 cases involving employees at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit where 184 inmates were restricted, and five cases involving inmates and eight involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail where 158 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 1,296 confirmed cases Monday and 66 probable cases.

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

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Monday reported 36 case involving inmates and nine involving employees at the William Hobby Unit in Marlin where 1,061 inmates were restricted and 36 were isolated, and five cases involving inmates and five involving employees at the Marlin Transfer Unit where 56 inmates were restricted and five were isolated.

LIMESTONE COUNTY

Limestone County had 1,194 confirmed and 274 probable cases of the virus Monday.

Of the total, 1,300 patients have recovered.

State data showed two more deaths, raising the virus’ toll in the county to 40.

NAVARRO COUNTY

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

Local data showed 82 deaths.

State data showed 4,278 recoveries and 80 deaths.

OTHER COUNTIES

Bosque County had 829 confirmed and 189 probable cases of the virus Monday, according to state data. At least 82=83 patients have recovered and 22 have died, according to state data.

Freestone County had 685 confirmed and 324 probable cases of the virus Monday, according to state data. Of the total, 928 patients have recovered and 30 have died. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Monday reported five cases involving inmates and five involving employees at the William Boyd Unit in Teague where 383 inmates were medically restricted and five were isolated.

Hamilton County had 544 confirmed cases Monday and 39 probable cases, according to state data. At least 492 patients have recovered and a 23rd resident has died.

Hill County had 2,009 confirmed and 453 probable cases of the virus Monday, according to state data. At least 2,296 patients have recovered and 54 have died, according to state data. The Hill College dashboard showed one case involving an employee Monday on the Hill County campus. The Hillsboro ISD dashboard Monday showed one case involving an employee at Hillsboro Intermediate and five involving employees at Hillsboro High School.

Lampasas County had 884 confirmed cases Monday, an increase of 23 since Friday, and 105 probable cases of the virus, according to state data. At least 799 patients have recovered and 19 residents have died, according to state data.

Leon County had 666 confirmed and 227 probable cases of the virus Monday, according to state data. At least 788 patients have recovered and 28 residents have died.

Milam County reported 1,126 confirmed and 774 probable cases of the virus Monday. Fifty eight cases were active and 14 patients were hospitalized. Local and state data showed 24 deaths. State data showed 1,822 recoveries.

Mills County had 353 confirmed and 26 probable cases of the virus Monday according to state data, which showed 274 patients have recovered and 16 residents have died.

Robertson County had 816 confirmed and 271 probable cases of the virus Monday according to state data, which showed 957 patients have recovered and 26 residents have died.

San Saba County had 383 confirmed and 125 probable cases Monday, according to state data, which showed at least 439 patients have recovered and a 17th resident has died. The Texas Department of Criminal JusticeMonday reported one case involving an inmate and eight involving employees at the San Saba Transfer Unit where 158 inmates were restrictded and six were medically isolated.

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