Connect with us


New COVID-19 cases continue to fall as vaccination rates slowly rise in Central Texas



 ABILENE, TX – A year ago Wednesday 221 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Central Texas and five residents diagnosed with the virus had died.

But while number of confirmed cases in the region rose by 70 to 76,249 Wednesday and the death toll increased to at least 1,604, almost 185,000 Central Texas residents 16 and older have received one dose of vaccine and more than 120,000 are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Statewide nearly 38% of residents 16 and older have received a first dose and nearly 22% are fully vaccinated.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported an additional 3,675 confirmed cases of the virus Wednesday, 3,285 of them new, increasing the statewide total to 2,412,115.

At least 68,974 cases were active Wednesday, 2,662,211 residents have recovered, and the virus has claimed 99 more lives in Texas, increasing the statewide death toll to 47,921.

As many as 1,628 Central Texas residents diagnosed with the virus have died, but according to Department of State Health Services data Wednesday the regional death toll was 1,604 including 398 Bell County residents, 13 fewer than the local count of 411; 33 Bosque County residents; 84 Coryell County residents; 32 Falls County residents; 49 Freestone County residents; 26 Hamilton County residents; 105 Hill County residents; 32 Lampasas County residents; 42 Leon County residents; 73 Limestone County residents; 462 McLennan County residents, 12 more than the local count of 450; 46 Milam County residents; 21 Mills County residents; 139 Navarro County residents, 11 fewer than the local count of 150; 39 Robertson County residents, and 23 San Saba County residents.

At least 2,886 patients were hospitalized statewide Wednesday, about the same as on Tuesday.

In Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam, and Mills counties, at least 45 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 were hospitalized Wednesday, accounting for about 5% all hospitalizations and filling about 4% of available beds.

At least 22 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Wednesday in Trauma Service Area M, which includes McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Hill and Limestone counties, accounting for about 5% of all hospitalizations and filling about 3% of available beds.

The statewide Lab Test Date positivity Wednesday was 5.73%, up from 5.35% on Tuesday.

A positivity rate of 5% or less generally indicates the virus is contained, experts say.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Tuesday barring state agencies and political subdivisions from creating a so called “vaccine passport” requirement “or otherwise conditioning receipt of services on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status.”

“Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives,” Abbott said.

The Texas Health and Human Services commission will provide about $254 million in SNAP food benefits in April.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the state approval to ensure SNAP households receive at least $95 in emergency allotments.