Coronavirus pandemic

The Bell County Public Health District identified eight COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday as active cases fell below 2,000 for the first time since Dec. 29.

These latest fatalities, which brought the COVID-19 death toll to 215 in Bell County, were for a woman in her 70s from Bell County, two women in their 80s from Killeen, two men in their 80s from Bell County, a man in his 70s from Temple, a woman in her 80s from Belton and a man in his 70s from Killeen, according to health district data.

“We unfortunately added eight new deaths … our condolences go out to their families,” Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell said.

Bell County reached 17,809 cumulative cases since tracking began in March, as this death certificate data was obtained by the health district.

“We added 60 brand new cases today,” Robison-Chadwell said. “Yesterday’s total increased to 147. Our active case number is 1,883 and our incidence rate has declined to 518.8 per 100,000.”

Although Bell County has seen its active case count plummet from its 3,081 concurrent infections on Jan. 8, residents are still being urged to adhere to advised health protocols. Robison-Chadwell has previously emphasized how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers a region with an incidence rate of over 200 to be in a “red zone.”

“To put that into perspective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers a rate over 200 to be a ‘red zone’ ... So a 500 per 100,000-plus incidence rate is not good,” she said in late December. “We have a lot of work to drive that down.”

Area school districts

The Salado Independent School District has 19 active cases after an infection was identified on Monday.

“An 11th-grade student at Salado High School tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday,” Salado ISD Superintendent Michael Novotny said in his daily newsletter.

Approximately 73.7 percent of these 19 cases were reported in the past week, according to Salado ISD.

Belton ISD has 43 active cases spanning 17 campuses: eight at Belton High, six at Lake Belton High, five at North Belton Middle School, three at Chisholm Trail Elementary, three at Lake Belton Middle School, two at High Point Elementary, two at Miller Heights Elementary, two at Pirtle Elementary, two at Sparta Elementary, two at South Belton Middle School, two at Belton New Tech High, one at Charter Oak Elementary, one at Leon Heights Elementary, one at Southwest Elementary, one at Tarver Elementary, one at Belton Middle School and one at the Belton Early Childhood School.

Belton ISD’s COVID-19 dashboard attributed an additional five cases to “other departments / buildings.”

These 48 combined cases represent about 0.33 percent of its population, according to district data.

Temple ISD’s seven-day report, which last logged COVID-19 cases reported between Jan. 19 and Jan. 25, showed 12 infections: one at Temple High, two at Bonham Middle School, one at Lamar Middle School, one at Travis Science Academy, one at Jefferson Elementary, two at Raye-Allen Elementary, one at Thornton Elementary, one at Fred W. Edwards Academy, one attributed to “administration” and one attributed to “transportation.”

Killeen ISD has registered 92 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past week, according to district data. The district has now totaled 1,282 cases since March 16: 584 students and 698 employees.

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