Coronavirus

After two days of double-digit increases in COVID-19 cases, Bell County added four infections Friday.

That brings the Bell County Public Health District’s tally to 278. As the case count increased by single digits, the county’s number of recoveries jumped by 15, according to the health district. So far, 165 residents have recovered from the virus.

The Texas Department of State Health Services Friday pegged the county’s tally at 282. The state’s count for Bell County includes coronavirus-positive Fort Hood soldiers who live on base.

Texas DSHS on Friday changed the way it reports the number of tests administered in the state. It now separates the number of antibody tests from its count of standard viral tests, The Texas Tribune reported.

Statewide, 800,433 total tests have been performed, and 49,313 antibody tests have been administered, according to state data.

The Bell County Public Health District is not including antibody test results in its tally, Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell told the Telegram this week.

“We’re not keeping a strict tally on that because it’s not very reliable,” she said.

The health district reported Friday 741 additional tests had been performed in Bell County, bringing the total to 16,126.

There are two different types of COVID-19 case definitions: A laboratory-confirmed case, which only occurs through an antigen test, and a probable case diagnosis, which happens through antibody testing.

“A probable case diagnosis, which is what you’re describing, they’re using antibody testing to say a probable and they’ll also use clinical diagnosis to say probable,” Robison-Chadwell said. “Someone with a clinical diagnosis of COVID could have about five or six other things. … Antibody tests ... are not strictly FDA approved. They’re not considered very reliable, so again it might not be COVID-19.”

Antibody test figures, she pointed out, don’t really tell you very much about the ongoing pandemic.

“And, as a matter of fact, they’re more confusing than they are helpful,” Robison-Chadwell said.