High demand at the Wilson Park vaccine and testing site prompted Temple officials to expand the service through January.
Temple Fire and Emergency Management Specialist Jennifer Henager said the site would continue from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays through Jan. 29.
“Right now, we’re planning to extend till the end of the month,” she said. “As we go into the middle of next week, we’ll start looking to see if we have to expand it longer. There’s a big demand for testing, specifically. We’re doing the rapid tests, and they get their results within the hour. Hopefully, we can meet some of that demand.”
She said the rapid tests offer quick results and are very accurate when it comes to positive testing, but there is a 40% chance of a false positive.
“If somebody tests negative and has symptoms of COVID-19, we encourage them to take a PCR test,” said Henager. “Those are better, but (results) take about three days.”
Long wait times are an issue at Wilson Park.
City of Temple spokeswoman Alejandra Arreguin said the city was provided with a Texas Military Department team of about seven medics who simultaneously perform the tests and vaccines.
“We can only run one station,” she said. “However, they are working on several cars at a time with some staff doing registration while others do tests.”
Austin Kruger said he hopes to start college Friday but needs a negative test to move into his dorm. He waited in line at the Temple site for several hours Wednesday to get tested.
“I need it before three days,” he said. “I should’ve gone to Round Rock or something. I waited until the last minute.”
William Maldonado and his family of four wanted to get tested since they were exposed to the virus at home.
“There was a gentleman that worked on our land that came positive for COVID,” he said. “We wanted to come out and check ourselves. There are three of us getting tested. One is underage, so she can’t get tested.”
Arreguin recommended that people pre-register at https://register.txrapidtest.org/ to avoid extra wait at the site. Staffers at the site also have a QR code available for people to register while waiting and tablets that residents can use.
The Bell County Health District on Wednesday raised the COVID-19 threat level as severe uncontrolled community transmission.
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. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday through January.
Several vaccination-only sites are also available. Those include:
• 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 and southbound Safety Rest Areas, 16801 Interstate 35 in Salado, will have vaccinations from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, 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.
More than 574 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by the health district Thursday for a total of 4,852.
The county’s incidence rate went up to 1,336.92 cases per 100,000 residents in the county.
Of the 40,661 cases reported since the pandemic started, 35,049 have recovered, and 760 people died.
The health district’s dashboard showed Trauma Service Area L had 175 of the 1,081 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.
Belton Independent School District reported 303 cases of the virus in the district, 64 confirmed and 239 probable.
Belton elementary schools showed 44 cases, eight at Tarver Elementary, five at Charter Oak, High Point, Charter Oak, Chisholm Trail, Miller Heights, and Pirtle each, Four at Belton Early Childhood School, three at Southwest, two at Lakewood, and one at Sparta and Leon respectively.
Twenty-two of the cases were reported at the middle school level, with 12 at North Belton, five at Lake Belton, four at Belton Middle, and one at South Belton.
Twenty-eight of the cases were reported at the high school level, with 15 at Lake Belton High, nine at Belton High School, and four at Belton New Tech @ Waskow.
Three confirmed cases were reported in other Belton ISD buildings or departments.
Temple ISD showed 61 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on its dashboard.
The district’s confirmed cases included 18 at Temple High School, four at Bonham Middle School, seven at Lamar Middle School, six at Hector P. Garcia Elementary, six at Thornton Elementary, five at Kennedy-Powell, five at Travis Science Academy, four at Scott Elementary, and one at Meredith-Dunbar Early Childhood and one at Jefferson Elementary.
Killeen ISD reported 133 new student cases and 71 staff cases on their dashboard.
Salado ISD reported 49 student cases and 11 staff cases on the past seven days.