Bell County Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell said the county is experiencing a “potential upward swing” in COVID-19 cases, as two new deaths were identified on Tuesday — pushing the total to 79.

The county is now responsible for 5,265 of Texas’ 716,207 lab-confirmed cases. At least 4,926 individuals have reportedly recovered, and 47,111 cumulative tests have been administered to date, according to health district data.

Active cases remained at 260.

“We are seeing the echoes of a potential upward swing in COVID-19 cases today with just over 30 cases reported for the day as of 2 p.m.,” she said Tuesday afternoon. “We may see additional cases added to today’s tally depending on what we receive in the afternoon and those, as always, will be added during tomorrow’s update.”

Robison-Chadwell said the health district will closely monitor new cases to see if this trend continues into next week. 

“It is certainly possible we are seeing the start of a climb, but we’ll know more in the next several days,” she said. 

UMHB has 40 active cases

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, which published a COVID-19 dashboard on Sept. 4, has 40 active cases as of Friday.

Steve Theodore, senior vice president for administration and chief operating officer at UMHB, said the dashboard will show self-reported data.

“It will show the number of self-reported current, closed and total cases involving quarantine, isolation and positive COVID-19 tests among members of the campus community, beginning August 1, 2020, through the end of the Fall semester,” Theodore said in a news release. “Any UMHB student, employee or on-campus contractor who is known to be in close contact with a person who self-reports a positive COVID-19 test will be notified of the close contact by either Student Life or Human Resources, and required to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of exposure.”

Theodore asks the UMHB community to continue its diligence in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.

“Please continue to practice daily self-screening, strict social distancing, compliance with face coverings, frequent hand washing/sanitizing, and all of the other important health and safety protocols in place at UMHB,” he said. “Together, we will help ensure that our campus community remains healthy and safe.”

Although the Bell County Public Health District does not currently advertise COVID-19 dashboard’s for institutions of higher education, Robison-Chadwell said it might be something the health district looks to add in the future.

Area school districts

Temple Independent School District reported a new case of COVID-19 at Temple High School, according to the district’s seven-day dashboard. There are now seven cases in Temple ISD — 0.11 percent of the district’s population.  

The Killeen Independent School District also announced an elementary school student and a middle school staff member were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Tuesday. With the added cases, the district has now logged 16 student and 59 staff infections, since tracking began on March 16.

However, COVID-19 numbers in the Belton Independent School District continued to improve on Tuesday, as there are now two active cases: one at North Belton Middle School and one at the Belton Early Childhood School.

Salado Independent School District has not logged a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 since a student in the 11th grade was diagnosed on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

Robison-Chadwell stressed how it is vital to continue following the guidelines of medical professionals with an expected increase in lab-confirmed cases during the fall. 

“It is imperative that we all do our part by social distancing, washing our hands, staying home when we are sick, keeping our children home when anyone in the household is sick and avoiding gatherings where possible,” she said.