Coronavirus pandemic

Bell County Public Health Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell announced Monday that she will resign from her position — and the county will soon pause its daily COVID-19 updates as a result.

The district said the daily updates, published by Robison-Chadwell, will stop next week as she prepares to leave for a new job conducting epidemiological research at another organization.

The district said in its statement that Robison-Chadwell’s last day is set for May 24, with district officials working to determine who will replace her.

“I have been fortunate to lead this health district with its talented and dedicated staff,” Robison-Chadwell said. “While I am excited to see what the next phase brings, it is bittersweet, and I will miss working with this agency and the multiple partners that we have collaborated with along the way.”

District officials said the learning curve required with updating the dashboard, which Robison-Chadwell has mainly handled, is the reason for the pause of updates.

Updates of the dashboard will continue to remain paused except in the result of the county sees the incidence rate of new cases rising above 80 cases per 100,000 people. Officials said this benchmark will mean that staff will have a chance to become familiar with the dashboard if cases do rise once more.

Bell County Commissioner Bill Schumann, who also represents the county on the board of health, said he is thankful for Robison-Chadwell’s work and will miss her.

“We are grateful for the way Dr. Chadwell has served the people of Bell County over the last five years,” Schumann said. “Especially over the last year, she has been instrumental in helping our community navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccination process.”

Robison-Chadwell said she doesn’t intend to announce her new job since isn’t a public-facing position.

COVID-19 rate

Incidence rates of COVID-19 in the county continued to drop Monday, according to the Bell County Public Health District.

Robison-Chadwell said the number of active cases is 201, resulting in an incidence rate of 55.4 cases per 100,000 people. The last reported incidence rate by the county was on Thursday, with a rate of 61.2 cases per 100,000 people.

“Our new total number of cases is 22,406 with 21,773 having recovered,” Robison-Chadwell said.

The district also announced that it did not see any new deaths over the weekend.

Extended eligibility

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it had expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The expansion now includes the use of the vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15, from its previous restriction to only those 16 and older. The recommended timing of the two dose vaccine is the same as those who were already able to get it, two shots three weeks apart.

“Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, said. “Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations.”

School districts

Temple Independent School District continued to only show one case of COVID-19 on its seven day dashboard. The case is located at Travis Science Academy.

Belton ISD showed that it only had two active cases on its dashboard Monday, one at Belton Middle School and the other at Lake Belton High School.

Killeen ISD only had a total of three COVID-19 cases, two amongst it students and one among its staff.

Salado ISD reported that it has not seen any new cases of the virus since April 21, and currently had no active cases either.