As Bell County’s coronavirus cases increased by eight Tuesday — bringing the total to at least 44 — the county’s top elected official planned to update a local shelter-in-place order to match new guidelines from the state of Texas, officials said.
So far, six people have recovered, and one person has died, a Temple woman in her 80s, according to the Bell County Public Health District.
The county’s newest cases are a Temple woman in her 40s; a Temple man in his 50s; a Temple man in his 60s; a Killeen male younger than 20; a Killeen man and woman in their 40s; a Belton man in his 60s; and a Bell County man in his 50s.
Paul Romer, the county coronavirus public information coordinator, told the Telegram Tuesday that Bell County Judge David Blackburn plans to revise his stay-at-home order Wednesday to match Gov. Greg Abbott’s “essential services and essential activities” executive order.
Blackburn last updated the order on Friday. It requires Bell County residents to stay home except for trips to the grocery store and to work at essential businesses. It is in effect until 11:59 a.m. April 6 — unless the county judge or Commissioners Court amends it.
Breaking the order could result in a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 180 days in jail.
Temple continues to be the epicenter of the local pandemic. Bell County’s second largest city has at least 20 cases — a plurality.
They include a male younger than 20; two women in their 20s; two women in their 30s; two women in their 40s; three women and two men in their 50s; four men and a woman in their 60s; two women in their 70s; and a woman in her 80s, who died Thursday.
Killeen, the county’s largest city, now has 15 known infections. They include a male younger than 20; a woman in her 20s; a man and woman in their 30s; three men and three women in their 40s; a woman in her 50s; two women and a man in their 60s; and a man in his 70s.
Belton, the county seat, has three reported cases: a female younger than 20; a man in his 20s; and a man in his 60s.
Harker Heights has two cases: two women in their 40s.
Rural Bell County has at least four infected individuals: a man in his 30s; a man in his 50s; a man in his 70s; and a man in his 80s. The health district is categorizing infections from unincorporated areas of the county and small towns as Bell County cases.
Bell County’s cases are evenly divided between people who are younger than 50 and those who are older than 50.
Women account for a majority, 54.5 percent, of Bell County’s COVID-19 cases. Men are 45.5 percent of local infections.
Like Bell County, McLennan County’s COVID-19 case count also stands at 44, according to its local health district. McLennan County reported its first death, a Waco middle school principal, Tuesday.
“We are so deeply saddened by the loss of Phillip Perry, principal of G.W. Carver Middle School and a beloved member of the Waco ISD family and community,” a message on the Waco I.S.D. Facebook page said. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, staff and students during an unimaginable time. Mr. Perry has been a role model to countless students in our district and in his neighborhood. He cared deeply for his students and colleagues at G.W. Carver Middle School, providing guidance and support at any time. In addition to serving as principal at Carver, Mr. Perry often umpired local baseball games and refereed basketball games, offering words of encouragement to young athletes. During this difficult time of mourning, we encourage you to share your stories and memories of Mr. Perry.”
Burnet County has three known cases, County Judge James Oakley said. Milam County has two cases while Coryell and Falls counties have one infection each, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Statewide, 3,266 Texans have COVID-19 and 41 people have died, according to the state agency.
So far, 42,992 Texans have been tested, according to the state health department.