With Bell County no longer providing regular updates on coronavirus case counts, people looking for updated numbers must turn to the state.
Not long after former director of the Bell County Public Health District Amanda Robison-Chadwell announced that she was leaving the post for another position, she announced that the county would end its daily updates.
The new incidence rate had dropped below 50, FME News Service reported earlier in May. The incidence rate is a measure of how many active cases there are in a given population. In Bell County’s case, it is per 100,000.
“We hope not to have to resume, but should the incidence rate rise above 80 per 100,000 the plan is to resume at that point,” Robison-Chadwell said at the time.
The county’s incidence rate was last updated May 25. It indicated an incident rate of 167 per 100,000 people that day, a drastic jump from 68 per 100,000 on May 24.
In the county’s last update of the cases and deaths, which reflected numbers through May 18, there were a total of 22,528 cases reported since March of last year and 436 deaths. At the time, there were 177 active cases and 21,915 had recovered.
On Saturday, the state reported 22,634 cases and 428 deaths for Bell County.
She reminded all interested parties that the state’s numbers would be different from what the county was reporting because Fort Hood’s numbers are included in the state’s total. It’s unclear why the state’s death toll for Bell County is lower than what the county is reporting.
The Killeen Independent School District has also considered getting rid of the dashboard on its website.
KISD Superintendent John Craft said the dashboard was created in “an effort of full transparency” at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, but interest in the online feature has decreased as the pandemic has carried on and more people have become vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The dashboard keeps track of weekly positive cases of coronavirus at each KISD school as well as the total number of positive cases to date since March 2020.
As of Saturday, the dashboard was still active, showing five active cases (four students and one staff member) in the district.
It is unclear the reason for Coryell County’s fewer updates, but in times passed, county officials have said they spend a lot of time trying to “scrub” the list from the state.
Coryell County Judge Roger Miller has said on more than one occasion that the death numbers from the state are drastically higher than the county is tracking.
When the county receives an update from the state, it will have addresses of those who have died. Miller said many of the addresses have not actually been within the county or could not be verified.
Miller said that when the county updates its website, he is confident it is the correct number.
The county last reported on Tuesday. At the time of that update, there were a total of 5,355 cases and 56 deaths. Of the cases, 44 were active and 5,255 had recovered.
As of Saturday, the state reported 7,025 cases and 86 deaths.
In Copperas Cove, as of May 24, there were a total of 2,932 cases and 32 deaths, according to city officials, who continue to send out a weekly report on the numbers. As of May 24 in Cove, there were 84 active cases, and 2,816 were no longer active.
The dashboard on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website is still very much active, but the cases are not.
In six prison facilities in the northern part of Gatesville, there are currently a total of 13 active coronavirus cases, most of which are employees as opposed to inmates.
These numbers are drastically lower than reports at the peak of the virus in Texas, when individual units would see dozens and even hundreds of cases at a time.
Lampasas County also used to regularly update when cases were increasing at a more steady rate.
Now, the county appears to update only when there is a change in the total number of cases, the total number of deaths or the number of hospitalizations.
The county also reported the number of deaths in every update. For the past few months, however, the number of deaths is sporadically reported. However, there has only been one additional death reported in the last several weeks, which brought the county’s total to 31.
In its last update Wednesday, the county reported 2,201 cases with 31 deaths.
On Saturday, the state reported 1,860 cases and 33 deaths.