Long lines for COVID tests and vaccines continued in Killeen and Temple Tuesday as the number of active coronavirus cases climbed to nearly 3,800.

Waymon and Donna Marshall said they slowly inched their way along Avenue H in Temple and turned into 34th Street as they waited to get the COVID-19 vaccination.

“It has taken about two and a half hours to go two blocks,” Waymon Marshall, a Temple resident, said.

The site is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday.

The demand for testing and vaccinations increased as more than 416 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by the Bell County Public Health District Tuesday for a total of 3,792 active cases. One additional death was reported, bring the total to 760.

The county’s incidence rate went up to 1,044.85 cases per 100,000 residents in the county — the highest reported since Jan. 11, 2021.

Of the 39,236 cases reported since the pandemic started, 34,684 have recovered.

The health district’s dashboard showed Trauma Service Area L had 157 of the 1,062 available hospital beds in the area have been taken up by COVID-19 patients. The service area covers Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam, and Mills counties.

Vaccines and testing

Testing and vaccinations will continue at Wilson Park in the south parking lot by the football field and softball complex near South 34th Street and East Avenue H in Temple. Testing is only for individuals 14 and older and vaccines for 12 and up.

Other sites will offer vaccinations. Those are:

• Rogers Elementary School cafeteria, 802 Cemetery Road, will have vaccinations from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

• Milano Volunteer Fire Department, 305 E. U.S. Highway 79, will have vaccinations from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday.

• Cameron First Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 720 W. Second St., will have vaccinations from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

• Bell County northbound Safety Rest Area, 16801 Interstate 35 in Salado, will have vaccinations from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Several places in Temple offer vaccinations and testing, including CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, the Veterans Administration Hospital, and the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center and clinics.

Some locations may require appointments or allow walk-ins. Information about the nearest vaccine location can be found by calling 1-800-232-0233.

Milam County

Milam County Judge Steve Young said Tuesday that a high record of 320 COVID-19 cases was reported in the neighboring county.

“This is 53 more cases than the previous record high of 267 set back in December 2020,” Young said. “We have 125 new confirmed, active cases in the county with 64 discharged cases. Two individuals were hospitalized, and one person is on a ventilator.”

He added that Rockdale had a 61.3% positivity rate, with 68 out of 111 individuals testing positive.

Total cases for Milam County are 2,385 cases with 91 fatalities.

Buckholts ISD closure

The Buckholts Independent School District in Milam County announced local schools would close for the remainder of the week.

“In response to the extensive amount of illness continuing to spread throughout the community, low attendance rates, and staffing shortages, Buckholts ISD will close Jan. 12 - Jan. 15, 2022,” Buckholts Principal Randy Lund said. “Monday, January 17, 2022, is a scheduled school holiday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. School will resume on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.”

The Buckholts district consists of about 140 students and 30 teachers and staff members. Lund said that due to the small numbers of the district, he could not disclose the number of positive cases in the district without possibly identifying those involved.

School cases

Belton Independent School District reported 164 cases of the virus in the district, 46 confirmed and 118 probable.

Belton elementary schools showed 23 cases, with seven at Tarver, three at Miller Heights, three at Chisholm Trail, two at Southwest, two at Pirtle, two at High Point, two at Charter Oak, one at Sparta, and one at Lakewood.

Thirteen of the cases were reported at the middle school level, with six at North Belton, three at Lake Belton, three at Belton Middle, and one at South Belton.

Twenty-five cases were reported at the high school level, with 11 at Belton High School, 12 at Lake Belton High, and two at Belton New Tech @ Waskow High School.

Three confirmed cases were reported in other BISD buildings or departments.

Temple ISD showed 31 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on its dashboard.

The district’s confirmed cases included seven at Temple High School, five at Bonham Middle School, five at Lamar Middle School, three at Hector P. Garcia Elementary, three at Kennedy-Powell, three at Thornton Elementary, two at Travis Science Academy, two at Scott Elementary, one at Cater Elementary.

Salado ISD reported 29 cases, with 20 student infections and nine staff cases, according to Superintendent Michael Novotny.

Killeen ISD reported 59 student cases and 36 staff cases.

Freelance photographer Nan Dickson contributed to this report.

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