Coronavirus pandemic

COVID-19 infections continued to rise Friday in Bell County, as the active case count rose to 1,098 — 72 more than Thursday.

Deaths remained at 112, according to the Bell County Public Health District.

Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell said Bell County — totaling 7,912 cases to date — has now exceeded an incidence rate of 300 per 100,000 people.

“This is obviously not what we wanted to see heading into the holiday season, but this is unfortunately where we are,” Robison-Chadwell said. “Spread of COVID-19 in our community is significant and it will take cooperation from all of us to quell it. Please stay safe and help us prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Area school districts

There are now 25 active COVID-19 cases in the Belton Independent School District: five at Belton High, two at Belton New Tech High, two at Lake Belton High, two at South Belton Middle School, two at Lakewood Elementary, two at Miller Heights Elementary, two at Sparta Elementary, one at Pirtle Elementary, one at Tarver Elementary, one at Belton Middle School, one at Lake Belton Middle School, one at North Belton Middle School, one at the Belton Early Childhood School and two attributed to “other departments / buildings.”

These cases represent 0.171 percent of Belton ISD’s population, according to district data.

Seven Salado Independent School District students and one employee have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week.

“A fifth-grade student and an employee tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday,” Salado ISD Superintendent Michael Novotny said in his daily newsletter.

Temple Independent School District’s seven-day report — logging cases reported between Nov. 14 and Nov. 20 — shows 15 infections: five at Temple High, three at Bonham Middle School, one at Lamar Middle School, one at Hector P. Garcia Elementary, one at Travis Elementary, one at Kennedy-Powell Elementary, one at Raye-Allen Elementary, one at Cater Elementary and one attributed to “auxiliary.”

The Killeen Independent School District reached 403 cumulative cases since March 16 on Friday: 190 students and 213 staff. About 16 percent of these cases were reported in the last seven days, according to district data.

Higher education

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, which provides weekly COVID-19 updates on Fridays, reported nine active lab-confirmed cases. These self-reported infections from students, employees and on-campus contractors have totaled 178 to date.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas in Killeen reported two new student cases of COVID-19 during its weekly dashboard update on Friday.

Twelve students and four employees at the university have tested positive for the coronavirus since March. However, that total only accounts for the cases reported to the safety and risk management office on campus.