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Due to the rapid increase in the coronavirus and virus-related hospitalizations, businesses in both Coryell and Lampasas counties must revert to 50% capacity.

Previously, businesses were allowed to operate at 75% capacity.

The order comes as a result of the Texas Department of State Health Services identifying the counties as “high hospitalization areas,” according to press releases from Coryell County Judge Roger Miller and Lampasas County Judge Randall Hoyer.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32 said all high hospitalization areas must reduce capacity to no more than 50%.

The counties are part of the State Health Service’s Trauma Service Area L, which also includes Bell, Hamilton, Milam and Mills counties.

DSHS defines a “high hospitalization area” as an area where coronavirus patients exceed 15% of a hospital’s capacity for seven consecutive days.

From Dec. 29 through Jan. 4, the trauma service area exceeded that number, Miller’s release said.

The reduction went into effect at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday and lasts until the entire trauma service area goes under the 15% threshold for seven consecutive days.

“Coryell County has been experiencing sharp increases in the number of COVID positive tests over the past two months,” Miller’s release said. “July through mid-November, new cases were holding steady averaging approximately 35 cases per week. Beginning with the week ending November 19, that average jumped to more than 120 cases per week for the next five weeks.”

In Copperas Cove, there have now been 1,207 total COVID-19 cases as of Monday.

Gary Young, the city’s emergency management coordinator, provided the update and of the 1,207 cases, 363 are active, 835 have recovered and there have been nine deaths.

Some of Copperas Cove’s coronavirus cases come from the school district.

Copperas Cove High School had the most cases in the district with five students and one staff having tested positive for the virus.

The district updates its coronavirus tracker every day. It can be accessed at https://www.ccisd.com/290332_2.

“Until the COVID-19 vaccine is readily available to all residents of Lampasas County, I encourage you to continue wearing a face covering in public, wash your hands, and maintain social distancing,” Hoyer said in his release.

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