COVID-19 Cases climb higher in Coryell County, neighboring counties continue to see surge
By LYNETTE SOWELL
After Coryell County saw a surge last week in new positive cases of COVID-19 virus, the count only climbed by four, reaching 1,017 positive cases on Monday, with 223 cases considered active, 781 recovered, and 13 deceased.
This number excludes cases among inmates at Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities located in the county.
Although the county’s report edged up by four between Nov. 13 and Nov. 16, Coryell County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Harrell said he receives a report of at least 20 new cases per day from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“That’s a normal occurrence, every day, 20-25 cases. That’s not good at all. That’s been going on for almost a week now. we’re climbing. People have COVID fatigue. I get it; I’ve got it myself,” Harrell said. “But we’ve to remember to wear a mask and sanitize our hands. Avoid those large groups. Don’t get me wrong. I want people out doing business, going to stores, restaurants, gyms, bars. But we’ve got to do it responsibly.
“I can’t stress enough as we go into the holiday season, that people look at how they are planning their holidays and getting together with family and friends, to practice a little bit of awareness about how this thing spreads, and be very cautious about what’s going on.
I’m afraid we’ll have a spike in the middle of December after Thanksgiving, and we may have another one in the middle of January.
“If 15 to 20 percent more people would wear masks, we will flatten what’s going on now.”
In the Copperas Cove Independent School District, there were 38 active cases among district students and staff as of press time Thursday. Copperas Cove High School had 17 student cases and three staff cases.
COVID-19 cases in Central Texas*
Bell County 985 active cases (7,714 total)
Burnet County 226 active cases (1,275 total)
Coryell County 223 active cases (1,017 total)
- Copperas Cove (city) 124 active cases (560 total)
- TDCJ in Coryell Co 17 active cases (1,107 total)
Lampasas County 58 active cases (507 total)
McLennan County 1,209 active cases (12,572 total)
Williamson County 366 active cases (11,084 total)
*As of press time Thursday, numbers from Texas DSHS, City of Copperas Cove, Coryell County, TDCJ COVID-19 dashboard, Bell County Public Health District
Area counties seeing continued spike in active virus cases
Meanwhile, in neighboring Lampasas County, new cases and active case numbers have continued their spike. As of Wednesday, there were 507 total cases within Lampasas County, with 58 being active, with three hospitalized and 12 fatalities.
Misti Talbert, mayor of the city of Lampasas, shared the update on her public social media page.
“Not an update you wanted see or that I wanted to give. I’m going to share with you all the concerns that Dr. (Georgia) Hay has shared. We have several individuals not reporting or being forthcoming with information which makes the contact tracing difficult,” Talbert stated. “In turn, you have many exposed individuals with mild or even no symptoms continuing to interact within the community. She states that our community spread is the most significant that it has been.”
Talbert admonished locals about their interactions.
“But here’s a little food for thought, what you consider to be casual insignificant contact with someone today could have a domino affect (sic) that you might not consider. With community spread being high, and Thanksgiving being next week, maybe try to be mindful of who you are interacting with. Are they going home to an elderly parent, or are they related to a Badger football player who might have to quarantine? I realize this virus is mild and insignificant for most, but the impacts can be enormous if you look at the bigger picture.”
Talbert advised that Lampasas County residents who test positive reach out to Dr. Georgia Hay, the county’s health authority, at (512) 734-3635.
“If you test POSITIVE please reach out to her or her staff. This helps speed up the process for her, as sometimes it takes the state a couple of weeks to get data to her.”
Over in Bell County, active cases climbed to 985, up from 750, with the total case count reaching 7,714, up from 7,246 in less than one week.
Bell County judge: Local hospital capacity “seeing signs of stress”
Bell County Judge David Blackburn issued a statement on Monday about the increasing numbers and the strain it is beginning to cause in the local healthcare system.
“Discussions with our 3 area hospital system administrators also indicate that our local hospital capacity, while being managed, is seeing signs of stress as it relates to bed capacity and COVID. BSW (Baylor Scott &White) currently has 46 COVID patients, the highest census of COVID patients since mid-August. While BSW is below the Governor’s 15% threshold number requiring elective surgeries to cease, I am advised that they are currently not scheduling any new elective surgical cases that require a hospital bed for the first part of this week.
“Seton and Advent are also experiencing much the same as BSW as relates to hospital capacity and COVID patients and are making adjustments to better manage hospital bed capacity in order to stay below the Governor’s 15% threshold.
“I share all this to simply say that we need to heed the advice and counsel of our health authorities and continue to be vigilant in our COVID health protocols. Maintaining social distancing, wearing our face coverings when we are out and about and can’t maintain social distancing, and washing our hands frequently remain our best line of defense against COVID.”
The total number of active COVID-19 cases in Texas increased to 141,891 on Wednesday, out of a total of 1,048,383 cases, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas has had 19,883 fatalities.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 numbered 7,958 in Texas, which is 12.04 percent of the 60,587 individuals currently hospitalized in the state.
Within Trauma Service Region L, there are a total of 75 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19, out of a total of 899 inpatients in the region. These are hospitals located within Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam, and Mills counties.