Coronavirus pandemic

The Bell County Public Health District reported nine new COVID-19 related deaths on Friday, as Bell County surpassed 20,000 cases since March.

This announcement brought Bell County’s February death toll for COVID-19 to 85 — approximately 27.5 percent of the region’s 309 total fatalities.

“The new deaths include a woman in her 60s from Harker Heights, a woman in her 70s from Killeen, a man in his 80s from Harker Heights, a man in his 90s from Killeen, a man in his 60s from Temple, a man in his 50s from Temple, a man in his 60s from Temple, a man in his 50s from Killeen, a man in his 60s from Belton, a man in his 70s from Belton (and) a man in his 80s from Bell County,” Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell said.

Bell County has now totaled 20,016 cumulative COVID-19 infections, and at least 18,944 people are reported to have recovered to date, according to the health district.

“Our active case total is 1,072 and (Bell County has) an incidence rate of 295.4 per 100,000 people,” Robison-Chadwell said. “Please stay safe and help us prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The county’s top public health official 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.”

Area school districts

Although area school districts closed campuses in response to Friday’s inclement weather, many district administrators still updated their COVID-19 dashboards.

The Belton Independent School District — which had their students participate in classes virtually on Friday — had 33 active cases spanning 13 campuses: seven at Belton High, five at Sparta Elementary, four at Charter Oak Elementary, three at Belton Middle School, three at Lake Belton Middle School, two at High Point Elementary, two at South Belton Middle School, two at Lake Belton High School, one at Chisholm Trail Elementary, one at Lakewood Elementary, one at Pirtle Elementary, one at Southwest Elementary and one at the Belton Early Childhood School.

Belton ISD also reported two additional cases that were attributed to “other departments / buildings,” according to its COVID-19 dashboard. These 35 infections represent approximately 0.24 percent of Belton ISD’s population, according to district data.

Salado ISD reported three new COVID-19 infections on Friday, bringing the district’s active cases to 24.

“Two second-grade students at Thomas Arnold Elementary and an eighth-grade student at Salado Middle School tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday,” Salado ISD Superintendent Michael Novotny said in his daily newsletter.

Novotny’s district has totaled 189 cumulative cases since tracking began in March, according to Salado ISD.

Killeen ISD reached 1,539 cumulative cases on Friday — 748 students and 791 employees — following 77 infections being identified in the last seven days, according to its COVID-19 dashboard.

Temple ISD’s seven-day report, which most recently logged cases reported between Feb. 5 and Feb. 11, showed six cases: two at Temple High, two at Lamar Middle School, one at Cater Elementary and one at Hector P. Garcia Elementary.

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