The Bell County Public Health District reported 13 new deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday even as active cases in the county continue to fall.

The district’s online dashboard now shows 653 total deaths from the virus during the pandemic. The new deaths mean that the county has now seen more than 200 new deaths from the virus since the spike of delta variant cases in early July.

Nikki Morrow, interim director for the district, said the deaths occurred between Aug. 21 and Sept. 29.

The deaths included three women in their 40s, two men in their 50s, a woman in her 60s, two women in their 70s, two women and a man in their 80s and two women in their 90s.

As deaths rose active cases of the virus fell to 1,013 on Tuesday, down 97 compared to the 1,110 seen on Monday.

The fall in active cases resulted in a decrease of the county’s incidence rate, which now shows 279.1 cases of the virus per 100,000 people.

During the pandemic the county has seen 32,660 reported cases of the virus, with 30,994 of those having recovered so far.

Hospitalizations of patients with the virus also fell on Wednesday in Trauma Service Area L — which includes Bell County — according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The department’s dashboard showed the percentage of hospital beds taken up by COVID-19 patients dropped by 1.42 percentage points to 11.34 percent. The service area now has 1,111 staffed hospital beds with 126 taken up by patients with COVID-19.

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

School cases

Temple Independent School District reported six active confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with eight probable cases on its tracker.

Confirmed cases in the district include one each at Temple High School, Meridith-Dunbar Early Childhood Academy, Bonham Middle School, Travis Science Academy, Jefferson Elementary and Thornton Elementary.

Belton ISD showed 36 active COVID-19 cases on its dashboard Wednesday, accounting for about 0.24 percent of its student and staff population. The district showed 15 confirmed active cases and 21 probable cases.

The district’s cases included one case at Charter Oak Elementary, Leon Heights Elementary, Miller Heights Elementary, Pirtle Elementary, Sparta Elementary, Tarver Elementary and Belton New Tech High School. It also saw two cases at Southwest Elementary, three at Belton Middle School, four at North Belton Middle School, three at South Belton Middle School, five at Belton High School, 12 at Lake Belton High School and one at another department.

Salado ISD Superintendent Michael Novotny said the district had 21 active cases, five students at Thomas Arnold Elementary, nine at Salado Middle School, six at Salado High School and one employee not assigned to a campus.

Killeen ISD had 149 active cases on its dashboard Wednesday, with 113 students and 36 staff members.

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