After two days of double-digit increases in COVID-19 cases, Bell County added four infections Friday.
That brings the Bell County Public Health District’s tally to 278. As the case count increased by single digits, the county’s number of recoveries jumped by 15, according to the health district. So far, 165 residents have recovered from the virus.
The Texas Department of State Health Services Friday pegged the county’s tally at 282. The state’s count for Bell County includes coronavirus-positive Fort Hood residents.
CORYELL, LAMPASAS COUNTIES
Lampasas County Judge Randall Hoyer said Friday afternoon that the county still had nine reported coronavirus cases. The number reflected two active cases and seven who had recovered with no deaths.
The number may change, however, as three may soon be coming from Coryell County, according to June Huckabee, executive assistant to Coryell County Judge Roger Miller.
On Thursday, Coryell County had reported 227 total cases of the virus, but in Friday’s update, the county reported 224.
Huckabee said the reason was because three of the patients had ZIP codes in the county, but the physical location of their residences were determined to be in Lampasas County.
There is a small area where Lampasas, Coryell and Bell counties meet and certain portions of various municipalities stretch into two or more counties.
Huckabee said Miller talked to officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services, who agreed that Coryell County should remove them from its count and that the state would roll them into Lampasas County.
Coryell County also had a change in the number of recoveries. In Thursday’s update, the number of recoveries was 30, but on Friday it went down to 29.
Huckabee said that is because there was a patient who contracted the virus early on and was deemed recovered by health officials. The female patient was re-tested, and it was determined that she still had the virus.
Huckabee said it is unclear if the female still had the virus or had re-contracted it.
Of the 224 cases in Coryell County, 157 are inmates in the numerous Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisons in Gatesville.
Thirty-six confirmed cases are active among the rest of the general population.
The county still remains at two deaths from the virus.
In Coryell County, nine positive results from coronavirus tests came from three separate days of mobile testing over two weeks, according to a news release from Gary Young, the emergency management coordinator for Copperas Cove.
The testing was on May 4, May 11 and May 14 at Gatesville Civic Center and Copperas Cove Fire Station No. 2 as well as other locations in the county. Over the three days there were nearly 500 tests administered, according to the release. Of those tests, nine of them came back positive, 464 came back negative and five of the results are pending.
The state health department on Friday changed the way it reports the number of tests administered in the state. It now separates the number of antibody tests from its count of standard viral tests, The Texas Tribune reported.
Statewide, 800,433 total tests have been performed, and 49,313 antibody tests have been administered, according to state data.
The Bell County Public Health District is not including antibody test results in its tally, Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell told the Telegram this week.
“We’re not keeping a strict tally on that because it’s not very reliable,” she said.
The health district reported Friday 741 additional tests had been performed in Bell County, bringing the total to 16,126.
There are two different types of COVID-19 case definitions: A laboratory-confirmed case, which only occurs through an antigen test, and a probable case diagnosis, which happens through antibody testing.
“A probable case diagnosis, which is what you’re describing, they’re using antibody testing to say a probable, and they’ll also use clinical diagnosis to say probable,” Robison-Chadwell said. “Someone with a clinical diagnosis of COVID could have about five or six other things. … Antibody tests ... are not strictly FDA approved. They’re not considered very reliable, so again it might not be COVID-19.”
Antibody test figures, she pointed out, don’t really tell you very much about the ongoing pandemic.
“And, as a matter of fact, they’re more confusing than they are helpful,” Robison-Chadwell said.
Herald reporter Hunter King contributed to this report.