Coronavirus Graphic logo

The number of known coronavirus cases in Bell County inched upward Tuesday when officials reported two new infections.

Bell County now has at least 18 cases, according to new figures released Tuesday afternoon.

Two Temple women — one in her 20s and the other in her 40s — are the latest Bell County residents to get COVID-19. The Bell County Public Health District did not disclose whether the women contracted the virus through travel or community spread.

However, Health District Director Amanda Robinson-Chadwell has pointed out there is community spread in Bell County.

Temple remains the Bell County city with the greatest number of known infections, with at least 13 cases. That accounts for more than 70 percent of Bell County’s reported COVID-19 cases.

Temple’s reported cases include two women in their 20s; two women in their 30s; one woman in her 40s; two women and a man in their 50s; three men and one woman in their 60s; and one woman in her 80s.

Killeen has at least two cases: a man and woman in their 40s.

Belton has at least one case, a man in his 20s.

Unincorporated and rural areas of Bell County have at least two cases: a man in his 70s and a man in his 30s. The health district is categorizing small towns, such as Salado and Rogers, as Bell County cases.

Notable Bell County cases include a Fort Hood soldier and a Texas Department of Public Safety employee who worked in the agency’s Belton office, according to both entities.

In neighboring McLennan County, officials reported Tuesday their number of COVID-19 cases increased to 24, the Waco-Tribune Herald reported.

Milam County has at least two cases, according to new figures released early Tuesday. Milam County Judge Steve Young issued a shelter-in-place order Tuesday. It is similar to orders issued by Bell and other counties.

Burnet County has at least one case.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported Tuesday that the state has at least 410 coronavirus cases and nine deaths. So far, 11,167 people have been tested for the virus in the Lone Star State, according to the agency.

Baylor Scott & White Health will not disclose the number of tests available in Bell County.

“While we are not able to offer exact numbers, it is important to note that as has been widely reported, health care providers are working to conserve testing capabilities for those most at risk,” Scott & White spokeswoman Tiya Searcy told the Telegram.

The Bell County Public Health District — which is not testing residents for COVID-19 — does not keep track of the local inventory of coronavirus tests.

Bell County Judge David Blackburn on Monday ordered residents to stay home except for trips to the grocery store, exercise and work at essential businesses. Breaking the order could result in a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 180 days in jail.

“This order requires all individuals anywhere in Bell County to stay home and stay safe — which means shelter in place except for certain essential activities and work that provide essential business and government services or provide essential public infrastructure construction, which includes housing,” Blackburn said during a Monday online news conference.

The order is in effect until 11:59 p.m. April 3 — unless Blackburn or the Bell County Commissioners Court extends it.

“I want to underscore and highlight that we are not confining folks or requiring folks to be confined to their home for all purposes and activities,” Blackburn said. “As I just read, essential activities, essential governmental functions, essential businesses all still need to continue to operate.”

However, the county’s top elected official said it will take all Bell County residents working together and staying home to get through this growing pandemic.

“Our ability to mitigate the spread of the virus though these orders and measures in the end really depends on all of us working together for the benefit of all of us,” Blackburn said. “While you as an individual may not feel threatened or endangered by the virus, please think about your family, your neighbors and your friends that are threatened and are endangered by the virus.”

“I urge you to act responsibly and in the spirit of kindness toward all.”

Staff writer Janice Gibbs contributed to this report