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14th COVID-19 death reported in McLennan County, cracks down on mask-wearing

The public health district announced the 14th coronavirus death Wednesday afternoon.

WACO, Texas — The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported the 14th COVID-19 death Wednesday. The district said the patient was a 72-year-old white man.

The number of positive cases in the county passed 2,283 Tuesday with 1,723 of those still active. The county conducted 27,944 tests. 44 people were in the hospital 11 of those need ventilators. The positivity rate since the first case was reported in McLennan County was 8.9%.

Once again, it was reiterated how important it is to wear face masks and social distance during the press conference.

Mayor Kyle Deaver spoke about the use of law enforcement when it comes to citizens following guidelines during the pandemic. He said they would prefer to not use law enforcement, but it will be used as needed as a last resort.

Deaver choked back tears as he talked about the deaths and that three of them came from one family.

"I need you to think about each of these deaths and the mourning that is causing for each of the families that have lost loved ones," said Deaver. "We have one family in Waco, in McLennan County, that has lost three members of the same family to COVID-19. It's just tragic and the tragedy, in addition to the human loss, is that so much of this is preventable if we'll just follow the instructions."

The City of Waco is becoming stricter in its response to people and businesses not following the statewide order requiring Texans to wear masks in public places. 

Deaver said we continue to be in a really bad situation in Waco. Police will be out looking for violators who disobey the mask order. The City of Waco has been under a mask order for about two weeks. The order required businesses to have a plan in place which requires customers and employees to wear a mask.

Deaver said the city continues to get reports and complaints about people not wearing masks, so they will begin sending police officers into those stores where they are getting complaints to see what they find. If a person is not wearing a mask, they will receive a warning. Repeat offenders will get a citation. 

"I certainly do not want to have to do that with any of our citizens, but we have to take this seriously,” Deaver said. “This is to protect the other citizens around you. You are not being brave by walking in without a mask. You are being a problem, and a risk to other shoppers around you." 

If you see someone or a business violating the mask order Mayor Deaver said to call the code enforcement office at 254-750-5970. As of Wednesday, Mayor Deaver said the city has not had to issue any citations.

Bell County numbers:

Confirmed cases: 1,746

Ever hospitalized: 127

Recovered: 518

Deaths: 13

Cumulative deaths: 27,341

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