COVID-19 testing in Temple

A BrightStar Care worker talks to a person in a truck about the nasal swab and antibody tests for COVID-19 being conducted in the parking lot of Immanuel Baptist Church, 1401 W. Central Ave. in Temple.

The Bell County Public Health District identified 162 newly reported cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as active infections rose to 1,242 — 58 more than Monday. Deaths remained at 112.

Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell continued to stress the COVID-19 holiday guidance set forth by medical professionals.

“Our total number of cumulative cases is 8,238 with 6,996 recovered,” she said. “As we come into the Thanksgiving holiday please remember the importance of not gathering, or at the very least limiting gatherings, particularly for those at high risk.”

Robison-Chadwell also noted how the health district might not update dashboard data on Thursday or Friday.

“We will not promise dashboard updates on Thursday and Friday as we would like to try and give our staff a reprieve,” she said. “We do not expect many reports over the holiday, but limited staff will be monitoring activity over the holiday.”

Bell County’s incidence rate, which tracks the rate of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days, increased to 342.2 per 100,000 people on Tuesday — a figure that last saw a decline on Nov. 6 when the mark was set at 146.3.

Although the city of Killeen has totaled the most cases to date in Bell County with 3,088, both the cities of Temple and Belton have continuously registered higher incidence rates.

Temple testing

BrightStar Care is conducting nasal swab and antibody tests for COVID-19 in the parking lot of Immanuel Baptist Church, 1401 W. Central Ave. in Temple.

This drive-through testing is covered by most health insurance, and those uninsured through the CARES Act program, according to BrightStar Care’s registration page.

“Medicare and many health insurances are waiving out-of-pocket co-pays and cost-shares of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing when prescribed by a physician in accordance with CDC guidelines,” BrightStar Care said. “Uninsured clients should call our office 1-800-604-1987 and ask for prices before getting an appointment, because there may be some cost associated with the kit used for testing purposes.”

BrightStar Care — testing a maximum of 300 people per day — said test results can be expected after one to two days. Registration information can be completed online at COVID-19Temple.com.

“Please keep in mind that the exact timing may vary,” BrightStar Care said. “You will receive an email or phone call from our office with your results.”

Robison-Chadwell told the Telegram positive tests at this site are likely first reported to the state.

“I have not seen any results from (BrightStar Care), which makes me suspect that they are reporting directly to the state and those results will be routed back to us after they are processed there,” she said.

Area school districts

Although students are out of school this week for Thanksgiving break, some area school districts are still logging newly reported cases to their respective COVID-19 dashboards.

Temple Independent School District’s latest seven-day report — logging lab-confirmed infections between Nov. 17 and Nov. 23 — shows five cases: one at Temple High, one at Lamar Middle School, one at Travis Elementary, one at Hector P. Garcia Elementary and one at Kennedy-Powell Elementary.

The Killeen Independent School District has tallied six cases since Monday, bringing its cumulative total to 426: 199 students and 227 employees.

Meanwhile, Salado Independent School District’s last reported case of COVID-19 was on Saturday. The district has five active cases of COVID-19: four students and one employee. All five infections were reported in the past week.

Despite the Belton Independent School District still reporting new cases to the health district in support of daily contact tracing, the district will not update its dashboard again until Monday, Nov. 30.

“During the Thanksgiving break, the Big Red Community is encouraged to contact Belton ISD Health Services at 254-215-2042 to report student positive COVID-19 test results,” the district said in a dashboard statement. “Staff with results to report should contact Tanya Bane at 254-215-2019.”

BELL COUNTY CASES

Total cases: 8,238; 6,996 recovered; 1,242 active, 58 more than Monday; 112 dead*, 75 with comorbidities

In Trauma Service Area L (Bell, Milam, Coryell, Lampasas, Hamilton and Mills counties) there are currently 80 people hospitalized, 6 more than Monday

Temple: 2,623 cases (13 more than Monday), 44 deaths

Killeen: 3,088 cases (86 more than Monday), 32 deaths

Belton (76513 ZIP code): 1,050 cases (15 more than Monday), 17 deaths

Harker Heights: 536 cases (5 more than Monday), 9 deaths

Other: 941 cases (7 more than Monday), 10 deaths

*Death totals include numbers from state death certificates, which were added to state totals starting July 27. Fort Hood on-post numbers are reported directly to the state and are added to total cases. Other numbers reported from the Bell County Health District based on 65,121 tests administered. State totals may vary as Fort Hood on-post numbers are reported directly to the state.

Go to https://tinyurl.com/y3pafeu7to access the new Bell County COVID-19 dashboard.