Active cases of COVID-19 in Bell County spiked to 443 on Thursday — 36 more than Wednesday.

This increase also pushed Bell County’s incidence rate to 122.1 per 100,000 people.

“Today we updated our incidence rate again because of a marked increase in cases and we wanted that to be clearly visible,” Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell said. “Perhaps that will not continue to be a trend but that is concerning.”

She offered a series of reminders necessary for mitigating the continued spread of COVID-19.

“As always the major reminders are: socially distance (and) mask if you cannot, wash your hands, stay home if you are sick, and be extra vigilant if you have a compromised immune system and/or are over the age of 60.”

Although local political events have drawn hundreds of attendees, Robison-Chadwell told the Telegram how the health district’s recent COVID-19 data is yet to indicate community spread during these gatherings.

There are now 5,909 cumulative cases in Bell County, and at least 5,374 people have reportedly recovered to date. Deaths remained at 92.

Local school districts

The Killeen Independent School District has reported 24 new cases of COVID-19 this week — approximately 14 percent of the district’s 168 total infections since March 16.

Temple Independent School District’s seven-day dashboard, which is currently tracking COVID-19 data from Oct. 8 to Oct. 14, shows six active cases: five at Temple High and one at Cater Elementary.

Approximately 0.1 percent of the Belton Independent School District’s on-campus population has an active case of COVID-19. There are four cases at South Belton Middle School, two at Belton High, two at Chisholm Trail Elementary, two at Southwest Elementary, one at North Belton Middle School, one at Belton New Tech High School, one at Tarver Elementary, and one at the Belton Early Childhood School.

Elizabeth Cox, Belton ISD’s executive director of communications and community engagement, said the district has seen a slight increase in students opting for in-person instruction since the school year began.

“It varies by campus and each family or student situation is unique,” she said.

Meanwhile, Salado Independent School District Superintendent Michael Novotny is proud of his district for not logging a case of COVID-19 since Sept. 27.

“We’ve been successful thus far,” Novotny said. “There have only been three cases in the first six weeks of school, and none of those kids got it while at school ... and none of those three kids gave it to anyone else at school.”

Novotny thanked his district’s staff and students for doing their part in containing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“I’m very proud of our students and our teachers. They are doing a fantastic job of staying safe,” he said.

Area testing

A temporary COVID-19 state testing site at the Killeen Special Events Center — 3301 S. WS Young Drive — will conclude Saturday.

Testing will span from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, according to a city news release.

Registration can be completed on site or in advance at — third-party testing operated by WellHealth Management. In order to receive testing results, participants must provide a mobile phone number or valid email address during registration.

Tests are administered while participants remain in their vehicles.

All individuals at the mobile testing site must wear a mask including patients, passengers and personnel. Mobile testing is a program of the State of Texas through the Texas Division of Emergency Management and Texas Department of State Health Services. The city of Killeen is providing local support to this effort.