Coronavirus

As the Bell County Commissioners Court decided to no longer make masks mandatory inside businesses, local COVID-19 numbers continued to spike Monday — and among the new cases was a Belton Independent School District student athlete.

The Bell County Public Health District Monday reported the county’s 13th death and 59 additional infections since Friday.

“As of today, the Bell County Public Health District has recorded 1,081 total COVID-19 cases since March 11, when it began local tracking of the pandemic,” Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell said. “Today the Health District was notified of the thirteenth death, a Killeen woman in her 80s, which occurred on Friday.”

Most of the county’s new cases — 45 of which — came on Monday, according to health district data. That is the fourth highest daily increase recorded in the county.

Bell County set four of its highest single-day increases last week. The highest daily increase was 84 on Wednesday, the second highest was 68 on Thursday and now the fifth highest was 41 on June 23.

“In Bell County, the trend of younger individuals being diagnosed with COVID-19 continues,” Robison-Chadwell said.

At least 878 residents who are younger than 60 have tested positive. That is more than 81 percent of all reported Bell County cases.

Residents in their 20s have the greatest number of infections, with 256. Residents who are younger than 20 account for 107 of the county’s cases.

One of those was a Belton ISD student athlete, Athletic Director Sam Skidmore said Monday afternoon. The student has participated in Belton High School’s summer strength and condition camp, he said.

“Symptoms developed on Saturday morning, so they did not attend camp today but instead went to get tested,” Skidmore said in a statement. “However, the student did participate in activities last Friday at Tiger Field, within their workout group.”

All activities for Belton High School at Tiger Field have been suspended on Tuesday to ensure everything is cleaned and disinfected as well as to communicate to students and their families, Skidmore said.

“Cleaning efforts include indoor facilities, such as the weight room, receiving specialized disinfection fogging treatments,” Skidmore said. “Equipment is sanitized between each use and all items are cleaned between group rotations.”

The summer strength and condition camp is expected to resume Wednesday, Skidmore said.

“We will remain diligent in our cleaning and sanitizing efforts, as well as our screening and workout group ratio practices,” the Belton ISD athletic director said. “Coaches are required to wear a mask at all times and we have taken steps to be able to provide face coverings for athletes whenever social distancing is not possible indoors.”

The health district did not report any new recoveries Monday. So far, 377 residents have recuperated from the coronavirus.

At least 25,229 tests have been performed in the county.