Regional COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped once more Thursday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services Dashboard.

The dashboard showed Trauma Service Area L — which includes Bell County — now having 11.01 percent of hospital beds taken up by COVID-19 patients. This is a decrease of 0.33 percentage points compared to Wednesday’s 11.34 percent.

The department shows 1,126 currently staffed hospital beds in the region on its site, with 124 of those taken up by patients with the virus.

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

Locally, the Bell County Public Health District reported a slight increase of active cases on its dashboard Wednesday to 1,047 from the 1,013 seen Tuesday. The increase of cases also raised the county’s incidence rate to 288.5 cases of the virus per 100,000 people.

The district did not report any new deaths from the virus, remaining at 653.

During the pandemic the county has so far seen 32,751 reported cases of COVID-19, with 31,051 recoveries.

Milam County

On Wednesday, Milam County Judge Steve Young reported that the county had seen its 76th death from COVID-19.

“We have reported eight deaths in a little over two weeks,” Young said. “A vaccination will prevent one from becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus. Please encourage vaccinations and be safe.”

Young said the county had 19 active cases of the virus, and five residents in the hospital. During the pandemic the county has seen 2,045 total reported cases of the virus.

Currently, Young said, about 98 percent of all COVID-19 cases being confirmed in the county are the delta variant.

School cases

Temple Independent School District had six active confirmed cases of COVID-19 on its dashboard Thursday along with seven probable cases.

The district’s cases 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 reported 48 active cases of the virus on its dashboard, with 20 confirmed and 28 probable, accounting for about 0.31 percent of its student and staff population. Cases in the district are at 16 of its 18 campuses, not including Lakewook Elementary and Lake Belton Middle School.

Salado ISD reported 26 active cases including six students at Thomas Arnold Elementary, 13 at Salado Middle School, six at Salado High School and one staff member not assigned to a campus.

Killeen ISD showed 164 active cases in its district Thursday, 122 students and 42 staff members.

Flu shots

Baylor Scott & White has announced that it will hold a drive through flu shot side in Killeen next week.

The site, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., will take place at Leo Buckley Stadium at 500 N. 38th St. in Killeen. The healthcare provider hopes to make it easier than ever before to get a flu shot and stop it spread.

Those wanting to get the shot can attend a drive though event or find a clinic near them at

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