Coronavirus

The Bell County Public Health District identified 69 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as active cases rose to 550 — 34 more than Tuesday.

Deaths remained at 99 with at least 5,741 people having reportedly recovered to date.

This spike of active cases also increased Bell County’s case incidence, which tracks the rate of new COVID-19 infections over the last 14 days. Bell County’s incidence rate hit 151.5 per 100,000 people on Wednesday — the highest point the metric has reached since its release in early September.

With Bell County totaling 6,390 cumulative cases, the health district has implemented antigen test tracking into its dashboard.

“With additional staff we were able to log probable cases beginning in September, which is when the data starts,” the health district said on its dashboard. “A positive antigen test, while only considered probably is fairly reliable and precautions to prevent spread are important.”

However, the health district emphasized how antigen tests also are “prone to false negatives.”

“For that reason we follow suit with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Texas Department of State Health Services in strongly recommending confirmation of a negative result for symptomatic people with a PCR (test),” Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell said.

The health district asks anyone awaiting PCR test results to isolate until receiving his or her diagnosis.

Local school districts

There are eleven active cases in the Belton Independent School District, spanning four campuses: six at Belton High, three at High Point Elementary, one at Charter Oak Elementary and one at Tarver Elementary.

Approximately 61 percent of the 18 cases recorded in the Killeen Independent School District over the last seven days were student cases, according to its COVID-19 dashboard. Killeen ISD — totaling 223 lab-confirmed cases — is nearing 100 student cases, as 95 infections have been confirmed since Aug. 17.

The Salado Independent School District has gone more than a week since its last logged case of COVID-19.

“We have not had any new reported cases of Salado ISD students or employees diagnosed with COVID-19 since Tuesday, Oct. 20,” Novotny said in his daily newsletter.

The Temple Independent School District’s seven-day dashboard will update around 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon’s update, which reflects cases between Oct. 21 and Oct. 27, showed five cases: three at Temple High and two at Lamar Middle School.

Area testing

A temporary COVID-19 state testing site in Killeen will continue weekday operations at the Killeen Special Events Center — 3301 S. WS Young Drive — through Friday, Nov. 6. Registration is required and can be completed online at GoGetTested.com.

Testing will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to a news release from the city. Participants must provide a mobile phone number or valid email address when registering in order to receive test results, according to the release.

Each test is administered while participants remain in their vehicles. A mouth swab is collected, and results are provided by text message or email within 48 to 96 hours