Coronavirus

Bell County’s COVID-19 threat level lowered to Level 2 — significant uncontrolled community transmission — this week following declining case numbers that prompted the drop from Level 1.

Nikki Morrow, interim director of the Bell County Public Health District, said the district is still asking community members to continue to practice safety measures and get vaccinated despite the change. The last time Bell County was at Level 2 was in early August.

Threat Level 2 is the second highest level issued by the department under Level 1 — severe uncontrolled community transmission.

“Bell County Public Health District changed the threat level on the COVID-19 dashboard from a level one to a level two this week,” Morrow said. “We monitor for a 2-week consistent trend before we change the threat level either way. The last two weeks we have seen a downward trend in the incidence rate for our area.”

On Friday the district reported 884 active cases of the virus, with an incidence rate of 243.58 cases per 100,000 people in the county.

The district did not report any new deaths, remaining at 653, with total cases at 32,911 and total recoveries at 31,374.

Regional hospitalizations also fell slightly over the weekend for Trauma Service Area L — which includes Bell County.

The Texas Department of State Health Services showed the percentage of hospital beds taken up by COVID-19 patients drop by more than 0.4 percentage points over the weekend. The service area now has 10.59 percent of hospital beds taken up by patients with the virus.

Trauma Service Area L includes the hospitals of Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam and Mills counties.

School cases

Temple Independent School District reported six active confirmed COVID-19 cases on its dashboard Monday along with three probable cases on its tracker.

The confirmed cases include one at Bonham Middle School, two at Travis Science Academy, one at Garcia Elementary, one at Jefferson Elementary and one at Western Hills Elementary.

Belton ISD had 48 active cases on its dashboard Monday, 18 confirmed and 30 probable, accounting for about 0.31 percent of the district’s students and staff. Cases in the district are located at 14 of its 18 campuses excluding Lakewood Elementary, Leon Heights Elementary, Pirtle Elementary and South Belton Middle School.

Salado ISD Superintendent Michael Novotny said the district has seen 14 cases of the virus in the past week including two students at Thomas Arnold Elementary, 10 students at Salado Middle School, one student at Salado High School and one staff member not assigned to a campus.

Killeen ISD showed only 83 active cases in the district, with 58 among students and 25 among staff, accounting for about 0.17 percent of its population.

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