TEXAS, USA — All case, recovery and death updates can be found here: Central Texas COVID-19 recoveries, cases, deaths | Live updates
This story will be continuously updated.
THURSDAY, APRIL 9
Waco-McLennan County EOC updated the public with a statement about the community and COVID-19. Director of Municipal Information Larry W. Holze released the following statement:
* Pranks Spreading On Social Media*
It has come to the attention of the EOC that “pranks” are spreading on social media where people intentionally cough on other persons in public or initiate other communication with the intent to place the person in fear of becoming infected with COVID-19. The EOC has received information that actions similar to these have taken place within McLennan County.The aforementioned actions constitute criminal conduct. If someone is found to be intentionally coughing on others or initiating other communication with the intent to place someone in fear of being infected with COVID-19 the actor can be arrested and charged with several different offense. The actor could face criminal charges of Terroristic Threat, Harassment, and/or Violation of Emergency Management Plan. The criminal penalty for these offenses can include fines up to $2,000 and 180 in jail.The law enforcement agencies in McLennan County are aware of these offenses and in conjunction with the McLennan County Criminal District Attorney’s Office will arrest and prosecute individuals who are trying to instill undo fear and panic to the good citizens of McLennan County.
* Guidance for Cloth Masks *
CDC has issued new guidance for wearing cloth masks. Under the new guidance, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The use of a mask does not mean that social distancing no longer applies. This is a voluntary public health measure.Wearing a mask of any type does not provide full protection from the virus. It’s an additional step to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.If you decide to wear a mask of any type, you must continue following social distancing standards. Only go out in public for essential needs. When you do go out in public you should keep at least 6 feet away from other people. Don’t touch your face. Wash your hands often to remove any germs. The best way to protect yourself from Covid-19 is to not be exposed to the virus and stay home.
The Brazos County Health Department provides an update on the county's coronavirus response.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported four new cases of COVID-19 in the county Thursday afternoon. There are a total of 66 cases now.
This after the county reported a second COVID-19 death late Thursday morning.
Seven cases remain hospitalized with three in critical condition.
The county reported 34 total recoveries while 81 people are being actively monitored, including positive cases and their close contact.
A third COVID-19 death was reported in Bell County, according to Director of Bell County Public Health District, Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell.
Robison-Chadwell also reported a total of 84 cases, a jump of 10 cases from yesterday's report.
Killeen ISD is adding to its continued learning learning center by adding lessons for elementary students to watch on KISD-TV Spectrum channel 17 or online at killeenisd.org/livetv.
The televised lessons start Monday, April 13. Programs are set to air every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Elementary teachers have prepared half-hour literacy and math lessons for grades pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Lessons shown earlier in the week introduce topics that continue later in the week.
Here is the full schedule of education programs and air times starting April 13:
Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver reported McLennan County's second COVID-19 death.
According to a release from the city, the 69-year-old male patient with underlying conditions died this morning at a local hospital.
Another fatality was reported last night of a 61-year-old male. The death was unattended and is under investigation, so it is not yet confirmed if this death was COVID-19 related or not.
The Brazos County Health District confirmed six new cases of COVID-19. The total number of positive cases is now 114.
A ninth death has also been reported. The victim was a female resident in her 80s who was in hospice care.
10 patients are currently hospitalized and 26 residents in total have recovered. One patient was discharged from the hospital.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8
The Salvation Army has established a place anyone affected by COVID-19 can call for emotional and spiritual support.
The Emotional and Spiritual Care (ESC) Hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CST), seven days a week at (844) 458-HOPE (4673).
A team of ESC specialists, made up of Salvation Army Officers and trained employees, are available to help callers.
The goal of the hotline is to offer assistance to people overcome with worry or undue stress caused by the pandemic. Callers will find people ready to listen to their concerns and pray with them.
“Our goal is to give people an opportunity to connect with someone who will hear their story and concerns. We hope to offer a calming presence in the midst of circumstances none of us has ever experienced before,” said Lt. Chantel. “The Salvation Army wants people to know they are not alone and that even though we might not be able to meet them face to face, we care, want to listen and are as close as a phone call.”
To contribute to The Salvation Army’s ongoing efforts in your community, visit their website, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or mail a check to P.O. Box 1884 Temple, TX 76503.
Coryell County Judge Roger Miller issued a county-wide Stay Home, Stop the Spread order for all county residents. COVID-19 cases are increasing in Coryell County, with the current number of positive cases at 13.
This order is to stop the spread of the coronavirus and limits out of county travel for current residents. This also prohibits nonresidents from entering the county, except people working in the county under CISA's list of essential workers.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported no new COVID-19 cases Wendesday afternoon, leaving the number of cases at 62.
Seven cases remain hospitalized and four are in critical condition.
The health district reported that 85 people are being actively monitored.
Williamson County reported 10 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, making the total cases 97.
To date, 40 cases have recovered. No new deaths were reported.
The Bell County Public Health District reported three new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the county total to 74.
According to an updated case list provided by the district, the three new cases are:
- A woman in her 50s in Temple
- A man in his 30s in Temple
- A man in his 40s in Killeen
The health district reported no new recoveries or deaths.
The Heart of Texas Community Health Center in Waco received $1,978,250 through federal grants to slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to a release from the Office of Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
“While medical professionals in Texas are doing everything they can to combat this outbreak, the federal government should make sure they have every resource at their disposal,” Sen. Cornyn said in a release. “I applaud local leaders for their efforts to secure these grants, and I’m grateful to the Trump Administration for continuing to make health centers in Waco a high priority.”
Sen. Cornyn also had a video conference call with the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce to share information about federal resources available to Texas businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.
Walgreens will begin drive-thru COVID-19 testing at some of its locations, with results returned in 15 minutes, according to Gov. Greg Abbott.
The tests were developed by Abbott Labs and take about 15 minutes to get a result. Each testing site may be able to test up to 3,000 people per day, Gov. Abbott said.
McLennan County health leaders said the county's hospitals have a total of 54 ICU beds and that 40 were in use.
Dr. Jackson Griggs said the hospitals could double their ICU bed capacity should there be a surge in COVID-19 patients.
Between the two hospitals in the county, Griggs said there were a total of 66 ventilators with 12 of those in use. Griggs said the ones in use were not necessarily COVID-19 patients.
The hospitals have a total of 521 beds in the county with the ability expand that supply if needed, Griggs said.
The Brazos County Health District reported eleven new COVID-19 cases Wednesday morning.
The new cases bring the total to 108 cases. An eighth death has also been reported in the county. The resident was a female in her 80s who had been hospitalized.
Nine of the cases are currently hospitalized. The health district also reported 22 total recoveries and three patients discharged from the hospital.
Killeen ISD wants to remind parents and families that they will be providing meals on Good Friday. So far this week, KISD said they have seen a jump of 900+ meals with the new times that were offered. For comparison, last Friday, April 3, 1,663 lunches were served and on Monday, April 6, that increased to 2,755 meals.
TUESDAY, APRIL 7
Killeen Independent School District is actively exploring a contingency plan for online graduation. The district said this is not ideal, but if the state of the pandemic doesn't change, this might be the best option for the student and community's safety.
There are now 62 cases in McLennan county. Eight are hospitalized, four are in critical condition, 29 have recovered, and one person died. 78 people are being actively monitored.
For all local county numbers, click here.
According to a Killeen Police Department press conference, one of the Killeen officers tested positive for COVID-19 Monday.
The officer who tested positive is a 13-year veteran and anyone who came in contact with the officer is now under quarantine. A total of 15 officers are under quarantine.
Also, the KPD plans to get n95 masks for its officers soon, but don't have them yet. The Killeen Police Chief saif he is confident the department can handle anything that comes up.
Coryell County reported an additional three positive cases of COVID-19 bringing the total to 13.
One person has recovered.
Nine of the patients are from Coppers Cove, two are from Gatesville and two are from Pidcoke.
All Temple police officers have been given N95 face masks, goggles and gloves for protection while they are on patrol.
The city said the move comes in response to information released by the Centers for Disease Control and not because of the number of identified cases of coronavirus in Temple.
The City of Harker Heights invites citizens to participate in this year’s social distancing EGG-cellent Easter Egg DRIVE & HUNT from the safety and comfort of their vehicle.
Residents and businesses of Harker Heights are encouraged to visit the City’s Special Events website to print out one or more egg templates.
Participating residents and their block number and street name will be listed on a master list for the public to view. The list will be posted on the City’s Special Events website on Friday, April 10 by 9:00 am.
Citizens from Harker Heights and surrounding areas can visit the website to obtain the master list, drive around Harker Heights during daylight hours to hunt for as many eggs on each street they can find Easter weekend (April 10-12).
The Bell County Health District is recommending that residents wearing cloth masks in public as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Wearing cloth coverings over the mouth and nose in public settings is an appropriate personal safety measure at this time, particularly at grocery stores, pharmacies, or other places where social distancing measures may be difficult to maintain, according to the county.
The recommendation is that the face coverings are simple in nature (i.e., a bandana or face covering fashioned from household items) and that children under two not wear a mask for their safety.
“I urge Bell County residents to continue to practice the social guideline recommendations that are in place. Personal hygiene measures, along with aggressive, active practicing of social distancing still remain the best defense against mitigating both the impact and the duration of the virus,” Bell County Judge David Blackburn said. “This new recommendation from the CDC on wearing cloth masks in places like the grocery store or Walmart furthers those efforts.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event that will require action on the part of every person in order to mitigate the spread,” Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell, Director of Bell County Public Health District, said. “New knowledge about COVID-19 has informed this CDC recommendation, and I urge citizens to follow the recommendation”
Williamson County announced its fourth death due to COVID-19. The woman was in her 50s.
The county also announced six new positive cases, bringing the total to 87.
Limestone County Emergency Management reported two additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to five.
The most recent patients are a woman in her 30s and a woman in her 40s.
The Brazos County Health District reported an additional three positive cases bringing the total to 97.
The number of recovered patients also climbed to 14, which is up two from Monday. The number of people who had died remained at seven.
MONDAY, APRIL 6
The Bell County Health District reported the second death from COVID-19 along with an increase in the number of positive cases to 68.
The number of positive cases was up from 58 just since 11 a.m.
The victim was a Temple man in his 80s, according to the health district. The first person to die in Bell County was a woman in her 80s.
Gov. Greg Abbott spoke from Austin Monday on the state's response to COVID-19.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Bell County increased to 58 as of Monday, according the health district.
Twelve of the patients have recovered and one person has died.
People between the ages of 40-49 have had the most positive cases with 12.
The Brazos County Health District reported no new cases of COVID-19 Monday, leaving the total number of cases at 94.
Sadly, the district did report a seventh death. The patient was a man in his 80s.
The health district said it had performed 1,613 tests.
TOP NATIONAL HEADLINES
- US now has more than 337,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,600 deaths.
- AP: A government watchdog report finds 3-in-4 hospitals has cases of COVID-19 as America approaches an expected peak later this month.
- Washington state is giving back 400 ventilators from the national stockpile in order to help harder-hit states.
- From April 5 blog: Americans brace for 'hardest, saddest' week
SUNDAY, APRIL 5
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported two new COVID-19 cases, making the total number of cases to 53.
Five cases remain hospitalized and three in critical condition - one less critical patient than yesterday's reported number.
One new recovery was reported Sunday afternoon, making the total recoveries 19.
The public health district reported that 100 people are being actively monitored, including positive cases and their close contacts.
The Brazos County Public Health District reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 in the county, making the total number of cases 94.
A sixth Brazos County resident has died from the virus. The resident was a male in his 80s who was hospitalized.
There are currently 11 patients in the hospital, three more than yesterday.
SATURDAY, APRIL 4
Copperas Cove announced that a four resident has tested positive for COVID-19.
The city said in a press release that the fourth person is a male resident in his 70s who is in self-quarantine.
This is the sixth coronavirus case in Coryell County.
Here is the coronavirus patient breakdown for Coryell County:
- A Copperas Cove male resident in his 70s
- A second Copperas Cove male resident in his 70s
- A Copperas Cove female resident in her 70s
- A Gatesville female resident in her 40s
- A Pidcoke female resident whose age was not disclosed
- A Copperas Cove resident whose gender and age weren't disclosed
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported one new case of COVID-19 Saturday afternoon, making the total 51.
The department also reported three new recoveries, bringing the number of patients who have recovered to 18.
Five people remained hospitalized with four in critical condition.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported that an inmate at the Woodman State Jail in Gatesville tested positive for COVID-19.
The person reported having shortness of breath April 2 and was tent to an outside hospital and placed in medical isolation.
The Brazos County Health District reported three new cases of COVID-19 in the county. The total number of cases is now 75.
Eight people remain hospitalized and 10 have recovered. No new deaths have been reported.
The Bell County Public Health District reported seven new cases of COVID-19 in the county. Bell County now has a total of 58 cases.
Here is the seven patient breakdown:
- Bell County man in his 50s
- Belton man in his 30s
- Killeen woman in her 30s
- Killeen man in his 60s
- Killeen man in his 40s
- Harker Heights man in his 70s
- Harker Heights man in his 20s
The health district reported that there were no new recoveries and no new deaths.
FRIDAY, APRIL 3
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor has held its annual Easter Pageant. Regardless of weather or conditions, it is a tradition that has never been canceled for the past 80 years.
But this year, a special production of the pageant will be live-streamed Wednesday, April 8, at 5:30 p.m. to protect against COVID-19.
“We didn’t want this tradition that has gone on for 80 years to just not happen,” said Precious Anselm, this year’s pageant director.
It was decided that this year’s Easter Pageant would be edited together to feature both footages from past productions and testimonials from people who have been involved with the pageant over the years.
Earlier this week, UMHB posted a video inviting anyone who has ever taken part in Easter Pageant to submit stories about their experiences.
“It’s been really eye-opening and inspiring to see how many videos we’ve gotten,” Anselm said. “We’ve heard from people who were involved more than 30 years ago.”
Anselm is confident that, while this won’t be the production she first imagined last year, it is going to be something powerful.
For more information about this year’s Easter Pageant Experience, visit the event’s official website: umhb.edu/easter-pageant.
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of Waco is handling requests for donations in the community relating to COVID-19.
People who have previously purchased supplies of hand sanitizers, medical masks or sanitizing wipes and would like to help assure that health care providers and first responders have ample supplies, can donate them through the Emergency Operation Center.
They are also accepting sewn masks as well. No other items are needed at this time.
Anyone who has any of the above items to donate please click on the “Donations” link on the COVIDWACO.COM website and follow directions. You can also send donation questions to: email@example.com
A Chick-Fil-A in Temple, located in Soth 31th Street was informed that an employee was tested for COVID-19, according to a Facebook post by Owner/Operator Steve Joy.
"According to Bell County Health and CDC guidelines, when an employee is tested, that person must not be on location and must remain on quarantine for 14 days or until he/she receives a negative test result. If the employee’s test is positive for COVID-19, the entire team would have to be quarantined for a period of 14 days before they could return to work," according to the post.
Joy decided to close down the restaurant immediately and quarantined the entire team who worked with that employee.
"Because of high priorities at the testing centers, our symptomatic employee has still not received test results. Even though this employee is no longer sick, and the doctor is confident this case is not the COVID-19 virus, this team member will remain quarantined to complete a 14-day period," Joy said. "All other employees returning to work have been cleared by the Bell County Health Department."
The location will reopen the drive-thru Saturday. For more details, click the Facebook post below.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health Department confirmed one new case of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 50.
The department also reported 15 recoveries, while five people remained hospitalized and four in critical condition.
No new deaths have been reported as of Friday afternoon.
Bell County reported no new COVID-19 cases at their weekly press conference.
The county holds at 51 total cases, with 12 recoveries and no new deaths as of Friday afternoon.
Bell County is hosting its weekly press conference with updates on the county's response to the coronavirus.
Bell County Judge David Blackburn and Bell County Public Health Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell are providing updates on the number of cases and measures in place place against the virus.
Baylor Scott & White Chief Medical Officer of Emergency Services, Dr. Robert Greenberg, joins Blackburn and Robison-Chadwell and will be available to answer questions.
The Brazos County Health District reported four new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of positive cases to 72.
A fifth death was also confirmed. The patient was a female Brazos County resident in her 70s who had been hospitalized.
Eight people remain hospitalized and 10 have recovered.
The University Interscholastic League announced it would modify its contingency plans and extend event suspension through May 4, in accordance with Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order.
The plan in place, according to a release from the UIL, is based on school resuming May 4 so that tournaments, meets, and competitions could be scheduled accordingly.
However, all in-person practices, rehearsals, and workouts currently remain suspended and remote instruction remains in place.
As May 4 approaches, the UIL will monitor information and provide member schools with guidance on district and post-season date adjustments.
The league said that its decisions remain flexible and will be consistent with the advice of local, state and federal officials.
THURSDAY, APRIL 2
Lampasas County reported its first case of COVID-19. City of Lampasas Mayor Misti Talbert indicated that the case was not in the city limits, but was in Kempner.
No other details were immediately available on the case.
The annual Copperas Cove Parks & Recreation Easter Egg Round-Up has been canceled due to COVID-19.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported one new case of COVID-19 in the county.
The total number of cases as of Thursday afternoon was 49.
Six cases remain hospitalized while four are in critical condition - one less than yesterday's number.
No new deaths have been reported.
Fort Hood officials announced that the Directorate of Emergency Services will close or alter operating hours at select Access Control Points due to the COVID-19 response effort. This will start at 5 a.m. Friday.
Access Control Point 2A (State Highway 195), ACP 14 (Old Copperas Cove Road), and ACP 21 (79th Street) will close until further notice.
The DES will open ACP 21 (79th Street) for outbound traffic only from 3-6 p.m. on weekdays.
Access Control Point 5 (East Range Road) will change operating hours to 5 a.m. to10 p.m. until further notice.
The Bell County Public Health District reported five new cases of COVID-19 in the county.
The total is now 51 cases.
There have also been an additional two recoveries, making that number 12 in total.
No new deaths have been reported as of early Thursday afternoon.
The Brazos County Health District confirmed five new cases of COVID-19 in the county.
The total number of cases in the county is now 68.
Additionally, the county reported its fourth COVID-19 related death. The resident was a female in her 90s who was hospitalized.
There are currently seven hospitalizations and three reported recoveries.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1
The Temple Parks and Recreation Department temporarily closed several park amenities in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 virus
Starting Wednesday, Parks and Recreation will close areas where it would be difficult to maintain the recommended social distancing guidelines. Park restrooms have been closed and water fountains have been turned off. Also, the following areas in public parks will be closed until further notice:
- Basketball courts
- Volleyball courts
- Pavilions and gazebos
Many features within Temple's park system will remain open to the public such as hike and bike trails, sports fields and the Miller Springs Nature Center. While residents are encouraged to take advantage of these areas, they should also remember to maintain proper social distancing.
There is currently no timetable for when park amenities will reopen. Residents with additional questions can contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 254-298-5690.
Interim Public Relations Manager
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported four new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 48 as of Wednesday afternoon.
Six of the cases remain hospitalized. Five are in critical condition and 12 cases have recovered.
No new deaths have been reported.
Coryell Health in Gatesville reported its first positive COVID-19 test result.
According to the clinic, the the individual was sent home to await test results in self-isolation.
The individual was triaged at the clinic after self-reporting symptoms related to COVID-19.
"Coryell Health staff followed all standard precautions, accepted protocols and procedures to protect medical staff, employees, and patients," the clinic said.
It was not immediately clear if the person who tested positive was a resident of Coryell County.
The Bell County Public Health District reported a total of 46 cases of COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon.
There are no new reported deaths and there have been 10 recoveries
Limestone County Emergency Management reported the county's first COVID-19 related death.
The patient was a Mexia woman in her late 50s to early 60s who passed away March 31. She had been hospitalized in Mexia, according to emergency management
The Brazos County Health District confirmed its third COVID-19 death late Wednesday morning.
The patient was a female Brazos County resident in her 80s who had been hospitalized.
The health district also reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 in the county. The total number of cases now sits at 63.
Of the 63 cases, eight are currently hospitalized.
Midway ISD Principal Paul Offill tested positive for COVID-19, the district learned Wednesday morning.
Offill is principal at River Valley Intermediate. He was involved in iPad distribution at the intermediate school March 22-24. He also helped with meal distributions at Speegleville Elementary on March 27 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Staff who were possibly in contact with Offill are being contacted and will be put on a 14-day quarantine depending on when they were in contact with him.
Belton ISD announced it installed technology infrastructure that will allow students to access school WiFi from the parking lot.
Students who need internet access can now park at one of the five campuses with enhanced WiFi capabilities to connect to the internet while observing social distancing guidelines.
Campuses with enhanced WiFi capability include Belton High School, Lake Belton Middle School, South Belton Middle School, North Belton Middle School and Miller Heights Elementary School.
District-issued devices should connect to the WiFi automatically while other devices can connect through the district's guest WiFi, with the password guestbisd.
Technical assistance is available through the BISD Technology Help Desk, which can be reached Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-215-4357.
TUESDAY, MARCH 31
The Waco City Council voted to postpone the May 2 general election for Mayor and Council Members for District I and III to Nov. 3.
Limestone County reported its third case of COVID-19 and County Judge Richard Duncan issued a shelter-in-place order effective April 2 at 11:59 p.m.
Duncan said in a Facebook post he expected a fourth and fifth positive case were "around the corner."
The Brazos County Health District relesed a statement Tuesday that said they are aware thet residents at The Waterford at College Station assisted living facility have tested positive for COVID-19.
"This is a devastating situation, and we have been and will continue to be in close collaboration with the facility’s administration to provide education and guidance moving forward," Brazos County District Health Promotion Manager Sara Mendez said. "Through this dialogue, we have learned that prior to this The Waterford was following guidance from both their corporate office and the Texas Health & Human Services Commission. For example, they were restricting visitors, screening staff, and had implemented enhanced cleaning procedures."
In response to this situation, COVID-19 testing was recommended for all residents and staff and has been implemented as testing supplies have allowed, Mendez said. The health district remains in regular contact with Texas Health & Human Services Commission staff to provide ongoing guidance on how to best protect these vulnerable residents from this infection.
The Brazos County Health District has also been collaborating with administrators and medical directors of local long-term and assisted living care facilities in the area.
Killeen Independent School District sent a letter that informed parents that they extended closures of campuses and offices until May 4. All KISD employees will continue to be paid during the closure.
KISD will update its website with additional information as it becomes available.
Per the Governor’s order today, Temple ISD and all Texas public schools will remain closed through April 30. We will continue with our remote learning plans during this time. More details will follow in the coming days.
Governor Abbott announced in a press conference that all Texas schools will be closed until May 4.
The Waco Independent School District announced that G.W. Carver Middle School Principal Phillip Perry died Tuesday morning due to complications from COVID-19.
Perry is the first person in McLennan County to die of the virus.
Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver said in a city council meeting Tuesday McLennan County had its first death from COVID-19.
Deaver did not provide details on the age of the patient.
Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver said after consulting with McLennan County healthcare leaders and seeing the ongoing spread of COVID-19 it became clear the city needed to extend the local state of disaster declaration.
The Waco City Council passed the motion unanimously.
Deaver initially put the order in place on March 17 to last through April 6.
- CNN anchor Chris Cuomo says he's tested positive for coronavirus.
- There are more than 164,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and more than 3,100 deaths.
- Southwest Airlines is temporarily reducing its flight schedule by more than 40%
- A German tennis official says an announcement to cancel the Wimbledon tennis tournament is expected Wednesday.
MONDAY, MARCH 30
The NCAA voted to allow an extra year of eligibility for student athletes in spring sports.
The sports include baseball, softball, tennis and track. It does not include winter sports.
The NCAA also adjusted financial aid rules to allow teams to carry more members on scholarship.
The Westfield Family Medicine Clinic said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they want patients to stay safe and practice social distancing so they are offering video visits to new and established patients, but will still offer in-person visits as needed.
If you want or need a video visit, call (254) 742-7400 to get scheduled today.
All City of Copperas Cove offices will remain open for telephone, email, and online services only for the protection of employees, residents, and customers, according to the city.
Offices will be closed to the public effective immediately, with the exception of the Police Department lobby, which will stay open for necessary assistance. Limited exceptions for on-site appointments may also be granted by contacting the specific department ahead of time.
Copperas Cove said they are actively working to minimize the impacts of these communication changes. Contact information for all services is available on the City’s website.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District received 3 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 39. Seven cases are hospitalized, four cases are in critical condition, six cases have recovered.
Waco Independent School District expects to extend school closures, according to Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon.
Kincannon will be on a call with other superintendents from around the state this afternoon to discuss the possible closure of schools next week.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor announced that they will still host Revival starting Monday at 7 p.m. UMHB will host three days of Revival live-streamed around the world at umhb.edu/revival.
Brian Rayburn, Pastor to Students at Encounter Church in Ventura California, will be this year’s featured speaker. Praise and worship will be led by Revenant Worship out of Dallas. Each evening will feature testimonies from students.
For Revival co-director Emily Wagner, a senior Social Work major from Round Rock, the impact of the global Covid-19 crisis on the event has been equal parts frustrating and inspiring.
“It’s been completely wrecked but in a completely good way,” Wagner said.
While moving to a live-streamed format means that this is the first UMHB revival in years to not feature the signature tent on the campus quad, it also means opening it up to a much larger audience.
“With so much feeling out of control right now, I’m so excited to be bringing Revival into people’s homes,” Wagner said. “I may be alone in my house, but people around Texas, America, and the world are sitting around doing the same thing.”
Revival organizers received countless messages on social media from current students, graduates, and prospective Crusaders around the world, that expressed delight at the opportunity to attend Revival from home, according to UMHB.
One of the most important aspects of Revival has always been the evangelism that takes place throughout the event. In years past, small group leaders have spread across the quad after each evening’s activities, leading discussions and answering questions from attendees.
To achieve this same evangelism in a virtual setting, this year’s steering committee has created small group meetings on the Zoom platform. The links to those meetings are posted to the Revival page and will be shared by committee members in the online discussion thread. This is where leaders will continue to interact with attendees and try to make personal connections.
Limestone County Emergency Management confirmed the county's second positive COVID-19 case.
According to the DSHS, the case is a man in his 60's and it was travel-related, not community spread.
Waco Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon sent a letter home to parents and employees Monday saying Principal Phillip Perry of G.W. Carver Middle School had tested positive for COVID-19.
"He is currently hospitalized," Kincannon said. Mr. Perry, through his family, gave us permission to share these details with you, and I hope that you will join me in praying for his quick recovery."
Kincannon said while the campus has been closed since March 16, Perry was on campus and at the administration building. He was also present when at-home learning kits were distributed to G.W. Carver families last Monday.
SUNDAY, MARCH 29
The Leon County Emergency Management reported Leon County's first case of COVID-19.
The case is a 50-year-old man and emergency management said the case was travel related.
The Mayborn Museum extended its closure after originally announcing it would be closed through March 29.
The museum said it will now be closed indefinitely.
"We are not announcing a reopening date at this time but are hopeful that we will be together soon," a press release from the museum said. "The health and safety of our staff, our guests, and the community remain our foremost priorities. We will continue to follow the guidance of local, state, and national officials as we plan for the future."
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District did not receive any new cases of COVID-19, leaving the county's total at yesterday's total of 36.
However, the number of patients hospitalized rose by one, making the total number of hospitalizations five.
No deaths have been reported due to the virus in McLennan County.
Gov. Greg Abbott issues new executive orders
Texas Gov. Greg Aboott announced new measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state, including expanding an order mandating anyone flying in from certain areas to self-quarantine.
In addition to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Orleans, anyone flying in from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, California or Washington state will now be required to be quarantined for 14 days, or for as long as they plan to stay in Texas.
Anyone traveling into Texas via road from Louisiana will also be required to quarantine. Travel associated with commercial business, military or healthcare response and infrastructure needs will be exempt from that element of the order.
He also announced a new executive order that halts "dangerous felons" from being released into Texas streets, after the governor says there have been reports of local communities considering doing so to combat the spread of COVID-19 within jails and prisons.
The Brazos County Health District reported its second death related to COVID-19 and an additional four cases. The total number of COVID-19 in Brazos County is now 44.
The second death was a female resident in her 90s who was hospitalized.
Four cases remain hospitalized, down two cases from yesterday's report.
SATURDAY, MARCH 28
The Brazos County Health District reported its first COVID-19 related death in an afternoon press conference.
The resident was a man in his 80s who was in hospice care.
The health district also reported nine new cases of the coronavirus, making the total in Brazos County 40 cases.
Six of the cases are currently hospitalized, as of Saturday afternoon.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported two new COVID-19 cases in the county, bringing the total to 36 as of Saturday afternoon.
The number of hospitalized cases remains at four, while the county reports five recoveries.
The Saturday update reported no deaths in McLennan County.
The Bell County Public Health District reported three new cases of the coronavirus, all in Killeen..
The total number of cases in Bell County is now 28, with no new deaths reported.
The cases are two women, one in her 30s and the other in her 60s, and a man in his 30s.
FRIDAY, MARCH 27
AdventHealth announced a new coronavirus hotline available to Central Texas residents.
Residents can call the hotline at 877-847-8747 to be connected with resources on the virus from the Centers for Disease Control and the state health department.
The line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The hotline is not intended to replace a physician-patient relationship, but nurses can answer general medical questions and refer callers to the appropriate next steps, such as connecting them to a nurse or health care provider.
More information can also be found at CoronavirusResourceHub.com.
Killeen ISD announced that classes will not resume until Tuesday, April 7 due to Bell County Judge David Blackburn’s stay at home safe order that was issued Thursday.
During this time, students are encouraged to complete classwork through packets and/or online through the Continued Learning Center.
The district will continue to provide Grab & Go Breakfast and Lunch meals and pay all employees during the COVID-19 closure.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health Department reported one new case of COVID-19 in the county which brought the total to 34 confirmed cases.
Four cases have be hospitalized as a result of infections and no deaths have been reported.
Coryell County Emergency Management and Coyrell County Judge Roger Miller released a joint statement asking county residents to quit traveling through Bell and McLennan counties, and any county along I-35 as the cases along the interstate continue to grow.
"Residents of Coryell County are strongly urged to cease all travel to and through Bell and McLennan Counties, as well as any county along the I-35 corridor, and the major population centers of DFW, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston," the release said. "Travel to any of these areas will increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19."
There are no new cases in the county besides the one case that was previously reported. However, the release also said that Coryell Healthcare Systems Hospital has tested 74 individuals and have had 65 negative results with nine tests pending.
The release reported that local levels of personal protective equipment were starting to become a concern.
When asked how long the health crisis might last, Miller said it "is a marathon, not a sprint."
"I’m extremely pleased with our citizens and their compliance to our disaster declaration," he said. "But we’ve all got to remain steadfast in our good hygiene practices and social distancing. And above all, be responsible for monitoring your current health and stay at home if you aren’t feeling well. We’re going to get through this, and we’ll be a better County in the end.”
Bell County Judge David Blackburn issued a fourth directive, which extends and clarifies the stay-at-home order previously issued through April 6.
"Directive number four is primarily being issued for clarification purposes. There are no major changes to the stay home, stay safe directive," Blackburn said in a press conference. "All individuals, except those conducting essential activities at an essential business or providing services for an essential business, should stay home."
The changes included in the latest directive impact churches in that religious gatherings are now allowed for groups of more than 10. However, Blackburn noted in the conference and the updated directive that:
"The demographics of many faith-based organizations comprise significant numbers of the COVID-19 high risk population group and gatherings in numbers greater than 10 puts those congregating at dire risk."
Secondly, Blackburn added gun shops to the essential business list included in the latest directive following questions about gun shop regulations around the state.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a press release via Twitter indicated that local governments could not regulate the sale, possession or ownership of fire arms using emergency powers.
Director of Bell County Public District Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell reports that Bell County has five new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 25. Three of the new cases were in Killeen, one in Belton and one in Harker Heights.
Robison-Chadwell added that statewide, there are 1,731 cases and 23 fatalities reported today in Texas.
The Brazos County Public Health District reported three new cases of COVID-19, making the total as of Friday morning 31 cases.
Four of the cases have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.
THURSDAY, MARCH 26
The City of Killeen moved the May 2 election to Nov. 3. All election information can be found on the Kileen website.
A majority of Copperas Cove City Council members voted down a stay-at-home order aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
In another action, the council agreed to extend the disaster declaration by another week through Friday, April 3. The local declaration is in line with the one issued by Gov. Abbott and allows enforcement at the local level.
The current requirements made at the federal, state and local level include:
- Every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people
- People shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of the Governor’s executive order.
- Convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, and similar establishments shall cease providing self-serve food items, except when food items are individually wrapped or packaged.
- People shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
- Every business or service provider shall take extraordinary measures to clean and sanitize their facilities in order to protect the health and safety of their employees and clients. In-home and on-site service providers such as satellite TV installers, electricians, plumbers, and repair persons shall also take extraordinary measures to prevent exposure to and spread of COVID-19.
This comes after the city reported a resident had contracted the virus.
The City of Waco said it will not postpone the May 2 election right now, as city officials continue urging residents to self-isolate and practice social distancing.
"We feel we will be able to conduct a safe and fair election on that date," a release from the city read. "However, we are continually assessing the COVID-19 situation and if we believe we cannot, the election will be postponed. It is important to us that we continue to have elections and transition leaders. as long as we can do so in a safe and fair manner, so that our city can move forward with its business of serving our citizens."
The city also urged that residents with a high risk of contracting COVID-19 vote by mail.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District released details on its latest COVID-19 cases.
There are currently 33 cases, out of which four have been hospitalized.
Two cases have recovered, according to a release from the health district.
There have been no COVID-19 deaths in McLennan County as of Thursday afternoon.
Residents with general questions on COVID-19 can call the helpline at 254-750-1890. The helpline is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer general questions.
Gov. Abbott issued a new executive order mandating a 14 day self-quarantine period for people traveling by plane to Texas from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, citing the area as the epicenter of the coronavirus in the U.S.
In addition to those three states, New Orleans is also included in the executive order as cases there have increased.
During a press conference Thursday afternoon, Abbott said the Department of Public Safety would enforce the executive order. The DPS will keep track of quarantine locations and will conduct visits to ensure compliance with the order. Failure to comply will be considered a criminal offense with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 180 days in jail.
The Bell County Public Health District has reported the first death resulting from a COVID-19 infection in its latest report.
The deceased person was a woman was from Temple and between the ages of 80 and 89.
They also reported one new case this afternoon, bring the total to 20 COVID-19 cases in Bell County.
Meanwhile, the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported five new cases, bringing the total in McLennan County to 33 cases.
“Out of respect for the family of the deceased and to assure compliance with federal medical privacy rules, the Bell County Public Health District will identify when a death related to COVID-19 occurs but will not release any additional information such as city of residence or age range, unless the family specifically permits,” Director of Bell County Public District Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell said.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission submitted a Medicaid waiver to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid.
If the waiver is approved, it would give Texas more flexibility in administering Medicaid while the state continues to address the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a release from the governor.
If approved, the flexibility would include:
- Temporarily extending existing prior authorizations for services so that Texans can get the care they need without delay.
- Extending deadlines for state fair hearings and appeals.
- Allowing services to be performed by telehealth, telemedicine, or telephonic contact.
- Extending current medical necessity, service authorizations, and level of care authorizations for Medicaid programs.
- Allowing the state to waive any requirements that require the signature of a physician, durable medical equipment provider, or Medicaid recipient.
- Streamlining provider enrollment for out-of-state and new providers to increase the number of providers in Texas, which will ensure continued access to care.
- Waiving requirements that health care professionals be licensed in the state in which they are providing services, so long as they have equivalent licensing in another state.
TOP NATIONAL HEADLINES
- The House will vote Friday on the $2.2 trillion coronavirus economic relief bill.
- The Senate unanimously passed the largest relief bill in U.S. history late Wednesday night. It includes sending checks of $1,200 to most Americans, as well as expanding unemployment benefits.
- A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier is being diverted to Guam so that all 5,000 aboard can be tested for coronavirus.
- Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — almost five times the previous record set in 1982.
The Brazos County Public Health District confirmed seven new cases of COVID-19 in Brazos County.
The total number of cases sits at 28 as of Thursday afternoon.
Of those cases, three have been hospitalized.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25
The City of Killeen has adjusted many of its services to protect employees and the public during the COVID-19 emergency. Here is a list of those changes:
- Killeen Animal Shelter is closed to the public, and adoption services have been suspended.
- Animal control issues can be reported to 254-526-4455.
- The lobby is open for service with social distancing standards in place.
- Many forms and applications are available online at KilleenTexas.gov/Permit and can be submitted digitally.
- Fire stations are closed to the public.
- Emergency response continues.
- Call 9-1-1 in case of emergency. Call 254-501-7660 for non-emergencies.
- Killeen Main Library and Copper Mountain Branch are closed.
- Curbside services are no longer available.
- Online resources are available at KilleenTexas.gov/Libraries.
Killeen Arts & Activities Center
- Closed to the public. Call 254-501-6519 or 254-501-6578 for assistance.
Killeen Civic & Conference Center
- Closed to the public. Call 254-501-3888 for assistance.
- Court cases scheduled March 16 through May 1 are canceled and will be rescheduled.
- Appearances for citations can be made by the listed date by email to email@example.com or phone at 254-501-7850.
- Social distancing precautions have been implemented for defendants who must appear.
Parks & Recreation
- Lions Club Park Family Recreation Center is closed to the public.
- Killeen Community Center is closed to the public.
- Athletic leagues are suspended until further notice. Call 254-501-6390 for assistance.
- Stonetree Golf Club is closed to the public.
- City parks and trails remain open, but social distancing and health precautions should be used at all times.
- Access is limited to the main lobby and jail visitor area.
- Emergency response continues.
- Reports will be taken by phone at 254-501-8800.
- Call 9-1-1 in case of emergency. Call 254-501-8800 for non-emergencies.
- Regular collection of trash containers and brush continues on schedule.
- Excess household trash (no bulk items) may be dropped off at new locations free: Killeen Community Center, Killeen Special Events Center, Lions Club Park and Long Branch Park.
- Curbside collection of bulk items and construction and demolition debris has been suspended.
- Recycling operations, including drop off at facilities and trailers, have been suspended.
- The Transfer Station remains open for normal business hours; residents may dispose of up to 300 pounds of bulk items and excess waste-free once per month with a current City utility bill.
- All in-person services are rendered through the drive-through lanes.
- A drive-through drop box is available 24 hours per day.
- Payment methods, forms and contacts are available at KilleenTexas.gov/UtilityCollections.
- After hours and weekend turn on requests must be received before 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Bell County Public Health District confirmed one new case of COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon.
The new case is a Temple woman between the age of 30-39.
The total number of cases in Bell County is now 19.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District announced five new cases of COVID-19 in McLennan County, bringing the total to 28 as of Wednesday afternoon.
Coryell County officials released new information on its first COVID-19 case. The patient is a 55-year-old woman who lives in Copperas Cove and works for a long-term healthcare facility in Belton.
As previously reported, she was tested at Baylor Scott and White Emergency Room in Temple and is currently in self-quarantine.
Limestone Medical Center opened a COVID Clinic with specially trained staff to serve the needs of patients that are concerned about the coronavirus.
The COVID Clinic is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. These times are subject to change based on necessity and volume.
Services offered at the COVID Clinic:
- Medical Exam
- Testing (based on criteria and physicians discretion)
- Documentation to return to work
If you simply require information or have questions you may contact our COVID Healthcare Team at 254-729-3281 and ask to speak with our Specialty Clinic Nurses. If you would like an appointment at the COVID clinic you may call 254-729-3411 and request an appointment for the COVID Clinic. Walk-in appointments will also be accepted from 8 am to 11:30 am.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas (will begin to offer Day Camps for mission-essential employees. Beginning Monday, BGCTX will operate essential family support day-camps for 5-12-year-olds at the following sites:
- BGCTX Clements Teen Center (10-12 year olds) – 2900 East Elms Road, Killeen, TX 76542
- BGCTX Woody Hall Unit (5-9 year olds) - 5100 Trimmer Road, Killeen, TX 76542
- BGCTX Bigham Unit (5-9 year olds) - 304 West Avenue B, Killeen, TX 76541
During Day Camps BGCTX will partner with KISD to support food program provision for participants, regular sanitation of facilities, medical screening of participants, and continued learning requirements for youth.
At this time, in order to ensure compliance with COVID-19 related safety guidelines BGCTX staff will operate Day Camps with no more than 8 club members per staff member in a classroom.
Families interested in Day Camp services must enroll eligible youth online at www.bgctx.org/supportDayCamps or at Club sites, and submit proof of residency and mission essential employment status prior to day camp participation.
The Brazos County Public Health District reported five new cases of COVID-19 in Brazos County, bringing the total number of cases to 21.
Of the 21 cases, two of patients have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.
With cases arising of community spread coronavirus, the health district will only be reporting the total number of cases altogether.
Fort Hood is sending its 9th Hospital Center to New York to assist the state with the coronavirus outbreak, according to Captain Tyson Friar.
The 9th Hospital Center is a group of soldiers and equipment that act as a mobile hospital - capable of all that a hospital can do.
Although there is no word on how many beds the group will be able to provide, to 9th Hospital Center is deploying an advance party after receiving orders yesterday.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced a $16.2 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living to help communities in the state provide meals for seniors.
The grant comes from $250 million authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which became law March 18. The funds will go towards distributing meals to seniors through organizations like Meals on Wheels.
The City of Copperas Cove announced that one of its residents has tested positive for COVID-19.
The resident was tested at Scott and White Medical Center in Temple. The release from the city did not provide details on the identity or age of the resident.
According to the release, the resident has voluntarily quarantined themselves.
The City of Copperas Cove also established a COVID-19 Hotline at (254)542-8920.
The hotline may be utilized as another resource by citizens who are seeking further information and wish to speak with a City staff member. The COVID-19 hotline will be available beginning Thursday, March 26, with normal operating hours on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Citizens can also keep up to date and find current City information 24/7 by logging into the Official City of Copperas Cove Facebook page or logging into the City of Copperas Cove website.
Bell County opened a COVID-19 phone bank to help answers questions from those in the community.
City spokesman Paul Romer said it will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The number is 254-933-5203.
Calls received after hours and on weekends will be routed to 211.
The county also provides regular updates to frequently asked questions on its website.
TUESDAY, MARCH 24
Today's National headlines
- President Trump is weighing how to refine nationwide social-distancing guidelines. Click here.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state could be as close as two weeks away from a crisis with 40,000 people in intensive care
- In an unprecedented move, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have officially been postponed until 2021. Click here.
- Congressional officials say a deal may be reached today on a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package. Click here.
- Chinese authorities are lifting a lock-down of Hubei province, the area most heavily hit by the virus. Domestic cases continue to subside.
Milam County announced two positive coronavirus cases. The county also announced a shelter-in-place order.
The City of Belton postpones May 2 election until November 3. The motion to shelter-in-place was also approved by the city.
The Bell County Health District confirmed two additional cases of COVID-19. That brings the total to 18.
Here are how the cases breakdown by location, age and sex.
Bell County Male, 70-79
Bell County Male, 30-39
Belton Male, 20-29
Temple Male, 60-69
Temple Male, 60-69
Temple Male, 60-69
Temple Male, 50-59
Temple Female, 60-69
Temple Female, 50-59
Temple Female, 30-39
Temple Female, 20-29
Temple Female, 80-89
Temple Female, 30-39
Temple Female, 50-59
Temple Female, 20-29
Temple Female, 40-49
Kileen Female, 40-49
Kileen Female, 40-49
The Heart of Texas Goodwill is offering virtual services to those staying home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Goodwill can now continue to provide one-on-one assistance and employment readiness services to individuals facing barriers to employment. Examples of these virtual services include assistance with resume writing, job search, interview skills training and resource navigation.
Also, the following virtual mini-class series is being offered for the following Job Readiness Training beginning Wednesday.
- Job Search: March 25
- Resume Writing: March 27
- Interview and Self Presentation: March 30
- Job Search: April 1
- Resume Writing: April 3
- Interview and Self Presentation: April 6
If you are interested, please go to the Heart of Goodwill website.
Gov. Greg Abbott said the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in Texas was 715 and that 11 people had died, in a press conference.
Abbott said 65 counties had at least one positive case and that 11,000 tests had been conducted.
Abbott said he would not be issuing a shelter-in-place order for the entire state.
By the end of the week, Abbott said the Texas Division of Emergency Management will have received 100,000 masks per day. He said an additional 100,000 masks would be coming by the end of the following week.
Abbott said anyone who wants to donate personal protection equipment, which includes masks and other medical supples, can go to www.texas.gov.
Abbott issued an executive order that would require hospitals to submit daily reports on bed capacity to the state health department and for healthcare providers to submit daily reports on the number of COVID-19 tests
The Brazos County Health District reported four additional cases of COVID-19 bringing the total to 16.
The district said 12 of the 16 cases are travel related the others are believed to be community spread.
Fifteen of the patients are at home in self-isolation. One of the new cases reported today was hospitalized.
The city of Lampasas issued a shelter-in-place order Monday.
Mayor Misti Talbert signed the order to take effect through April 3. No positive cases of coronavirus have been reported in the county.
In a special session Tuesday morning, the Waco City Council extended the shelter-in-place order put in place on Monday by Mayor Kyle Deaver to April 7.
Director of the Waco-McLennan County Health District Dr. Brenda Gray also gave updates on the COVID-19 outbreak.
Gray said there were a total of 24 cases in McLennan County but the county later corrected that to 23.
Gray said the rate of infection in McLennan County was 7.86%, which is higher than larger counties like Harris County, which has a rate of 1.5%. Harris County has more than 4-million people.
The Richland Mall announced on Twitter it was closed as of Monday until further notice.
MONDAY, MARCH 23
The City of Temple fell under a mandatory “shelter in place” order issued by Bell County Judge David Blackburn. According to the city, most city services will continue to remain available to residents online and by phone, but non-essential services will no longer be provided by appointment.
- The Police Department will temporarily suspend public fingerprinting services.
- The City Secretary’s Office will only be available to take calls and inquiries from the public between 8:00 a.m. and noon Monday-Friday.
- Drive-through service for water bill payments will be temporarily suspended. Online, phone, mail, and dropbox payments are still available. New service requests can be made at www.templetx.gov/newservice.
- Sammons Golf Course will be closed.
- The Temple Police Chief interview process will be postponed.
- The Temple Public Library will no longer be offering books and other materials for check-out with curbside delivery service. Online e-book services are still available to those with a library card through the Temple Public Library Website.
Temple will continue to provide these services as safely as possible, while in compliance with social distancing requirements to the greatest extent possible:
- Essential Governmental Functions - All services provided by the City of Temple needed to ensure the continuing operation of the City to provide for the health, safety, education, and welfare of the public.
- Essential Critical Infrastructure & Activities - Work that is necessary to the operations and maintenance of the critical infrastructure sectors including public works construction, residential and commercial construction, airport operations, water, sewer, roads and highways, and solid waste collection and removal.
The Limestone County Emergency Management Agency reported the first case of COVID-19 in the county. The patient was described as a 50-year-old woman.
Bell County joined McLennan County with a shelter-in-place order from Judge David Blackburn.
The order was set to go in place at 11:59 p.m.
The Waco-McLennan County Health District said its total positive cases were at 20. One of them is hospitalized.
One of the cases of COVID-19 announced by the Bell County Health District is a Fort Hood soldier assigned to 3rd Cavalry Regiment, the Fort Hood press center said.
The soldier is between 30-39-years-old and is in self-isolation at his off-post residence.
Out of an abundance of caution, other soldiers who he may have been in contact with are self-quarantined in their residences.
Fort Hood also said a case announced over the weekend is a military retiree. He is a man between the ages of 40-49 living in Killeen.
The man is in self-isolation at home in Killeen.
The Bell County Health District confirmed six additional cases of COVID-19. That brings the total to 16.
Here are how the cases breakdown by location, age and sex.
Bell County-Male, 30-39
Bell County-Female, 50-59
The Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas began operating a day-camp for kids ages 5-12 in Nolanville.
The two sites are at the Mary Marie Multi-Use Center at 400 Gold Star Ave. and at the JW Sims Community Center at 408 10th Sth.
Families can register for the camps online or at the club sites.
The camps run from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Falls County reported its first positive case of COVID-19.
In Central Texas, there have been 17 cases reported in McLennan County, 10 in Bell County, 12 in Brazos County and one in Milam County.
The list of all cases in Texas can be found here.
The Waco Transit System will only allow up to 10 people per vehicle at any given time, according to a WTS press release.
"We ask that passengers practice social distancing by utilizing seats that do not have a sign indicating "seat unavailable,'" the release said.
Fixed Route Service Hours will be adjusted to 7:15 am-5:15 pm, Monday-Saturday-until further notice.
For the latest service information, call (254) 750-1613 or (254) 750-1900 or visit the WTS website.
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center changed its access and visitor policies throughout its clinics and medical homes.
The new policy allows for just one in-patient visitor at least 16 years of age. For outpatient clinic appointments, patients can have only one person with them who is at least 16-years-old.
Fort Hood said all visitors will be screened before entering clinical areas. Any visitor showing signs of a respiratory infection will not be allowed to enter.
The medical center also said the Main Outpatient Pharmacy and Clear Creek PX Pharmacy will only take drop-off prescriptions to be picked up later.
Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver declared a shelter-in-place throughout the city.
Deaver said all businesses that are not essential must close. The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m.
Businesses that are considered essential include healthcare, television, gas stations, grocery stores and daycares.
All public gatherings are prohibited.
Deaver said only one member of a household should go to the grocery store at a time.
He said outdoor activity like walking, riding and hiking were allowed but said people should remember to follow the six feet social distancing guidelines.
McLennan County Commissioners issued the same declaration at their meeting at 10 a.m. It will go into effect at 11:59 p.m.
The county order impacts all cities and municipalities outside of Waco in the county.
SUNDAY, MARCH 22
Mexia ISD administration was notified that a sponsor on the Mexia High School band trip tested positive for COVID-19. According the the Facebook post by the district, the sponsor doesn't live in Limestone County and returned to his home immediately after the trip.
"In abundance of caution the District has been in contact with the Texas Department of State Health, Region 7, which has advised that anyone who was on the trip showing symptoms of COVID-19 to call their doctor," the post read.
Ascension Providence and Baylor Scott & White Health - Waco Region will implement a "no visitor" policy in all hospitals.
The policy began at Ascension Providence Sunday, March 22 and will begin at Baylor Scott & White Health - Waco Region on Monday, March 23.
"There is nothing more important to us than the well-being of our patients, caregivers and the broader health of our communities," Ascension Public Relations Manager Danielle Hall said in a release. "During this pandemic, we mus prioritize the health and safety of our patients and caregivers."
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a mandatory shelter-in-place for the county. The order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday.
More than 100 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Dallas County.
Top National Headlines:
- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19.
- IOC to consider postponing Tokyo Olympics during 4 weeks of talks.
- Russia is preparing to send medical personnel and supplies to Italy.
- Iran's supreme leader is refusing U.S. assistance to fight the new coronavirus.
- North Korea says President Trump has sent a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seeking to maintain good relations.
Gov. Greg Abbott spoke from the capitol about a more aggressive approach to dealing with coronavirus in Texas.
Abbott approved allowing retired nurses and those in school to begin working in hospitals.
Abbott issued two executive orders. The first will allow all healthcare facilities to postpone all surgeries that are not medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or preserve the life of a patient.
The second will allow for hospitals to treat more than one patient in a room.
Abbott said calls for a statewide shelter-in-place may be right for larger cities where COVID-19 is spreading but not right for the 200 counties in Texas that don't have any reported cases.
Abbott said he was "strongly urging" the federal government to step up production of personal protection equipment, or P.P.E., which includes masks, and other medical supplies necessary to protect against COVID-19.
Abbott said mandating a shelter-in-place is a local government decision.
He said his executive order issued on Friday, that shutdown bars, restaurants, theaters and prohibited gatherings of more than ten people, must be followed or those who violate it risk a $1,000 fine or jail time.
Abbott said it was impossible to tell whether or not schools would resume this year.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported one new case of COVID-19 in the county, bringing the total to 17 positive cases.
The Bell County Public Health District confirmed two more cases of COVID-19 through their website, making the total cases in Bell County 10.
Here are the total cases as indicated by the district:
- 1 case in Bell County (the extraterritorial jurisdiction)
- 1 case in Belton
- 2 cases in Killeen
- 6 cases in Temple
The Brazos County Health District confirmed two more positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 12.
Ten of the twelve cases are travel related. Two cases have no travel history and are believed to be community spread, according to the district.
SATURDAY, MARCH 21
The Bell County Public Health District confirmed an eighth COVID-19 case in Bell County.
The district said the patient is a woman between 40 and 50 and is hospitalized.
The woman was living in an assisted care facility. The district said it was unclear how the woman contracted the virus, so the case was being designated as one of community spread.
All residents and staff at the facility are currently undergoing testing.
Residents will remain in place and staff has been asked to self-isolate at home, pending test results.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District confirmed 3 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, bringing the total number of cases to 16.
The new cases were tested through commercial labs and are not counted in the number of pending tests.
The Brazos County Health District confirmed four more cases of coronavirus Saturday morning, bringing the total to 10.
Nine of the 10 cases are travel related, the district said. The other case has no travel history and is believed to be community spread.
All cases are at home doing self-care.
Copperas Cove Independent School District announced Saturday morning it would begin offering weekend meals through a program called "Five Pack Friday."
CCISD spokeswoman Wendy Sledd said beginning March 27, families can pick up not only their breakfast and lunch for the day but additional meals to last them throughout the weekend.
Students will receive a larger bag that includes lunch for Friday, and breakfasts and lunches for both Saturday and Sunday each individually bagged and labeled, Sledd said.
FRIDAY, MARCH 20
The City of Killeen has established a phone hotline and a webpage to assist the community in understanding the local impacts of COVID-19. The situation continues to change, and these resources will help keep the public informed.
A COVID-19 hotline has been activated to answer questions related to the situation by phone. The phone number is 254-616-3209. Operators are available Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The City’s COVID-19 webpage is available 24-hours per day and contains important information and resources related to the situation. It is updated regularly to keep the public informed.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District confirmed that there are now 13 cases of COVID-19 in Waco and McLennan County.
It was not indicated whether or not the new cases are travel-related or community transmitted and details on the individual cases were not included.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District now has dedicated a phone line to answer COVID-19 or related questions or concerns. The number is 254-750-1890 and is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The City of Temple declared a local state of disaster, to fall in line with the national emergency issued by the president, the state one issued by Gov. Abbott, and the county declaration.
The local disaster declaration, according to a city press release, will allow Temple officials to request disaster recovery assistance.
The local declaration incorporates by reference the most current orders, declarations, and directives issued by Bell County's Judge and Commissioners Court.
Temple's Recycling Processing Facility and Drop-Off Center #1 will temporarily close. Even with the closing facilities, there will be no changes to residential or commercial pick-up schedules, but recyclables will be diverted to the landfill until recycling services can resume.
Copperas Cove Mayor Bradi Diaz issued a Disaster Declaration for the City of Copperas Cove. This comes after the Executive Order issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday.
There are currently no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the city.
The Disaster Declaration takes effect immediately and remains in full force until Friday, March 27.
The Milam County Health District confirmed it had its first confirmed case of coronavirus.
The district website did not provide details on how the person contracted it.
The Bell County Public Health District said the number of cases of coronavirus had risen to seven in a press conference Friday.
Amanda Robison-Chadwell said the seventh case had been locally transmitted to a male. All previous six cases were related to travel.
Robison-Chadwell said the seventh person had direct, sustained contact with one of the other people with the virus.
Robinson-Chadwell said at a national level the total number of cases was 15,219 with 201 deaths. In Texas, she said there were 194 cases with five deaths.
Bell County Judge David Blackburn said to be consistent with the executive order from Gov. Greg Abbot issued on Thursday, all massage parlors would close.
Blackburn said by close of business Friday, the county would post a FAQ document to the county website. He said it would be a good source of information for answers to the several questions the county has received.
A COVID-19 phone bank will go live on Saturday, Blackburn said. It will be available 24-7. The number to call is 211.
RELATED: Coronavirus live updates: US, Mexico agree to limit travel at border; New York joins California in locking down
- President Trump said that Mexico and the U.S. have agreed to limit most travel between the two countries to slow the spread of the virus. The limits on travel will apply only to recreational and tourist travel. Trade will not be affected. The restrictions are similar to limits the U.S. and Canada put in place earlier this week along their shared border.
- The Department of Education will not enforce standardized testing rules this year for students through the 12th grade.
- Trump said the administration has also temporarily waived all interest on federally held student loans and he said he's directed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to tell federal lenders to allow borrowers to suspend their student loans and loan payments, without penalty for at least the next 60 days.
The Bell County Crime Stoppers postponed their annual golf tournament to fall in line with new CDC coronavirus guidelines.
The tournament, originally scheduled for Friday, April 3, has been rescheduled for Friday, Sept. 25. at 1 p.m. at Stonetree Golf Club in Killeen.
"We'd like to thank our sponsors who continually support the Bell County Crime Stoppers, and we hope you continue to do so
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration has decided to push the income tax filing date to July 15 from April 15.
THURSDAY, MARCH 19
The Texas Department of Public Safety reported to the Public Health Authorities that two DPS employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
A press release form the Texas DPS said, "Public safety is our number one concern, and the department will work in conjunction with public health authorities to provide any additional information necessary to notify the public of these positive cases. DPS continues to follow guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Texas Department of State Health Services related to the COVID-19 pandemic."
One of the seven coronavirus cases in McLennan County was identified as a Baylor University student, according to a release from Baylor University President Linda Livingstone.
The student returned to Waco after traveling out of state to an area with high community transmission but self-isolated away from Baylor campus. This is the third case affiliated with Baylor as two professors are also among the seven cases in the county.
"Individuals identified as having had potential exposure to the new Baylor-related COVID-19 cases will be directly notified by public health officials in coordination with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District," President Livingstone said.
Georgetown City Council unanimously voted on March 19 to extend the local disaster declaration issued by Mayor Dale Ross on March 14 through May 11.
Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver said Thurdsay the county had identified a seventh case of coronavirus in the county. Deaver said the case was locally transmitted.
Deaver said the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District was still awaiting the results of eight tests but there is an unknown number of cases sent to private labs.
Temple has one more confirmed case of coronavirus, making the total three. There are six total confirmed cases in Bell County.
Woodway places stricter limits on gathering sizes
Woodway Mayor Bob Howard amended the city's disaster declaration to further limit the number of people who can gather.
The new limit brings the gathering size down to 10 people. That number is down from 50 in the original declaration.
Furthermore, businesses including nail salons, hair salons, barbershops and massage parlors are ordered closed by 1:30 p.m. March 19.
Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide public health disaster for the first time in more than 100 years due to the coronavirus.
Abbott also issued an executive order that requires all Texas schools, bars, gyms and restaurant dining rooms to close temporarily.
The executive order will begin on Friday, March 20 and end on April 3.
Read more about what the executive order includes here.
McLennan County Commissioners place stricter limits on gatherings
McLennan County Commissioners extended the county's disaster declaration for a week after County Judge Scott Felton issued the initial declaration March 18.
The updated disaster declaration in response to the coronavirus outbreak prohibited community or private gatherings of more than 10 people anywhere in McLennan County.
As defined in the declaration, the exception to the 10-person gatherings do not include: people waiting for transit, office spaces, schools, child-care facilities, residential buildings, temporary housing, hospitals, medical facilities, grocery stores, shopping centers, malls and other retail establishments.
The new limit is lower than yesterday's, which capped gatherings at 50 people.
Furthermore, the new declaration reiterated that restaurants and similar businesses may only provide take out, delivery, or drive through services. Bars, taverns and other locations where alcoholic beverages are consumed on location are closed until further notice. Indoor recreational facilities, like gyms, bowling alleys, pool halls and similar places are also closed indefinitely.
Violations of the order will result in a Class C misdemeanor and a fine of no less than a dollar, up to $1,000 each day the order is violated.
The updated declaration will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 19.
Chick-fil-a coronavirus patient was not exposed to public
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District said their is no danger of exposure to the public after an employee at a Chick-fil-A in Waco was confirmed to have coronavirus.
The health district said the employee at the Richland Mall location did not have any contact with customers and had not been at the location in the days before he was tested.
The district said they will follow up with all his direct contacts with phone calls.
National Live Blog
RELATED: Coronavirus live blog: Italy on track to surpass China's virus deaths as Wuhan reports no new cases
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18
Today's top headlines
- Waco-McLennan County Health District confirms six COVID-19 cases
- Bell County issues public state of disaster in response to coronavirus threat
- President Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act - So what is it?
- City of Temple cancels Bloomin' Temple, closes city buildings in response to coronavirus pandemic
Richland Mall Chick-fil-a employee diagnosed with coronavirus
The Chick-fil-A at Richland Mall in Waco temporarily closed down after an employee was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
"The health and well-being of all of our guests and Team Members are of utmost importance, which is why I wanted to provide an update on a recent situation that happened at our Richland Mall location," Franchise Operator Jake Roye said. "Out of an abundance of caution, I have decided to temporarily close our Richland Mall restaurant after learning someone on our team had a confirmed COVID-19 (coronavirus) diagnosis. We are working with the Waco-McLennan County Health District, as well as disinfecting and deep cleaning the restaurant in accordance with public health guidelines. "
According to Roye, a re-opening date will be decided after clearance from local health authorities.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health district confirmed the sixth case of coronavirus in McLennan County and released more details on the fifth reported case.
- The fifth case is a 59-year-old male with a travel history to Wyoming.
- The newest sixth case was confirmed as a 27-year-old male with an unconfirmed travel history. This case was confirmed at 11:45 a.m.
Bell County State of Disaster
Bell County Judge David Blackburn declared the count in a state of disaster as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the area.
The Bell County Public Health Department’s Amanda Robison-Chadwell reported that there are two more cases of COVID-19. That brought the total to five cases, with one case in Belton, two in Temple, one in Killeen, and one in Bell County.
Temple cancels Bloomin’ Temple, closes city buildings
The City of Temple canceled Bloomin’ Temple and closed government buildings, museums, pools and recreation facilities to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The city said most services would continue online, by phone or by appointment. The measures go into effect March 19.
City of Robinson declares state of disaster
The City of Robinson declared a state of disaster following the report that five people in McLennan County tested positive for the coronavirus.
The declaration takes effect March 18 at midnight and said restaurants will not allow the number of dine-in customers in the facility at one time to exceed one-half of its occupancy limit or 50 people, whichever is less. Restaurants with or without a drive-thru services may provide takeout, delivery, or drive-thru services as permitted by law.
Businesses are also required to provide social distancing of at least six feet between each dining party.
Public or private community gatherings, as defined in the declaration, are prohibited anywhere in the city.
Furthermore, indoor recreational facilities, including gyms and health studios, along with the community center, senior center, municipal court and Peplow Park are closed.
The move allows the city to allocate resources, use personnel and enact measures to prevent the spread the coronavirus.
Waco-McLennan County Health District confirms five cases
The Waco-McLennan County Health District announced that McLennan County currently has five cases of COVID-19, making these the first confirmed cases in the county.
Health district Director Dr. Brenda Gray said all five of the cases were travel related.
Here are the details on the cases:
- The first case is a 64-year-old man who returned from Israel on March 12. One of the people he traveled with lives in Bell County.
- The second case is a 68-year-old man from Ecuador visiting family in McLennan County.
- The third and fourth cases were a couple who traveled to New York. The 56-year-old man and 52-year-old woman are both professors at Baylor University, according to the university. Baylor said the two did not return to campus and are currently in self-isolation.
- The fifth case was brought to the health district’s attention the morning of Wednesday, March 18 and are trying to locate the person.
TUESDAY, MARCH 17
Two Killeen Educators Association members in self-quarantine
The Killeen Educators Association released a statement late Tuesday that said two of its members were in self-quarantine due to secondary exposure to a person being tested for the coronavirus.
If the test comes back positive, at least seven other people will be directly impacted, including several Killeen ISD employees, according to the association.
Bell County identifies third coronavirus case
The Bell County Public Health District identified a third positive cases of coronavirus. The case is awaiting confirmation from the Center for Disease Control.
The third individual is a man between the ages of 70 and 80 with a recent travel history to South Africa. According to the health district, they initiated a self-isolation protocol.
TxDOT taking action to keep employees and public safe
The Texas Department of Transportation said they are acting to reduce the risk of the coronavirus by postponing or canceling in-person public hearings and gatherings through April 3.
However, they said the date was subject to change. The Texas Transportation Commission’s March 26 meeting will be excluded.
Work on transportation system projects will continue and outside restrooms will stay available at all times. They will be cleaned regularly between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Safety rest areas on highways throughout the sate will also stay open.
The TxDOT’s 12 Travel Information Center will close their lobbies until further notice to help protect against the coronavirus. Travelers can still speak with center counselors about road conditions or travel information between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. by calling 1-800-452-9292.
Killeen ISD superintendent says return to school date not official yet
Killeen ISD superintendent Dr. John Craft said no official decision had been made as of Tuesday on when schools would reopen but he said they hoped to resume March 23.
Craft also said if classes do resume, parents would not be required to send their kids. He said any child kept at home would not be considered truant.
If classes do not resume, Craft said the district was working on a plan to offer online learning as well as providing hard copies of schoolwork for parents to pick up from the school.
“We won’t now how to decide until later this week,” Craft said. “We will make calculated decisions based on how the situation evolves.”
Brazos County announces first positive case of coronavirus
The Brazos County Health District confirmed its first case of coronavirus.
According to the health district, the patient is a female in her 20s and is not associated with Texas A&M University or Blinn College.
The BCHD is coordinating with the Texas Department of State Health Services to investigate who she was in contact with. Health officials will contact those people directly.
Currently, the immediate health risk to the general public is low.
MONDAY, MARCH 16
Baylor University postpones May commencement ceremonies, extends online instruction
Baylor University will extend online instruction for the rest of the spring semester.
The university also postponed May commencement ceremonies, following the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the federal, state and local health officials.
The university asked in a press release that students and faculty do not return to retrieve belongings until a safe, orderly process later in the semester is established. There will also be restricted access to residence halls to only students who have no other option than to be on campus starting Monday.
Baylor said they will still confer degrees in May and plan to invite May graduates to walk the stage in August.
Waco ISD authorizes superintendent to pay employees during school closure
The Waco ISD Board of Trustee passed a resolution at an emergency meeting Monday that delegated authority to Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon to ensure all district employees are paid during school closures.
“During these times it’s important that we act responsibly and with care for our employees,” Kincannon said. “This resolution will guarantee all of our staff receive a paycheck to take care of their families. I thank the board for taking this action for the wellbeing of our community.”
This action taken by the school board also means Waco ISD students an staff won’t have to make up days the district is closed.
After Bell County officials confirmed a second presumptive positive case of coronavirus, the City of Temple is continuing to take preventive measures to minimize risks for residents and city staff during city business and operations.
The proactive measures are as follows:
When residents call 911, Bell County Communications will ask a series of screening questions to help determine if the patient is at risk of having coronavirus. If those questions show a positive response, the following precautions will be taken:
Only responders required to properly handle the call will be dispatched.
The first emergency response agency to arrive will have one crew member enter the building and take precautions to minimize the possibility of virus transmission.
The patient will be evaluated, and if further responders are required for proper care, they will enter the building.
The patient will be transported to the appropriate medical facility if needed after consultation with Medical Control Physicians.
The patient will be transported using the proper protective measures.
After treatment/transport is completed, any equipment used will be disinfected per established protocols.
The Fire Chief/Emergency Manager will continue to monitor the situation and if further action is required by CDC/Public Health guidance, the department will take the appropriate actions to assure they are followed.
Temple Police Protocols
The Temple Police Department encouraged its employees to follow the CDC’s recommendations for personal hygiene to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The department is increasing sanitation efforts throughout its building, including areas where there is a high rate of public contact. Officers have also been encouraged to routinely sanitize their vehicles and equipment. Officers have been issued gloves and masks to protect themselves and those they come in contact with.
While public schools remain closed, TPD will allocate its School Resource Officers to patrol shopping districts to prevent and respond to potential issues. The department encourages residents to remain patient and calm while shopping. For the next four weeks, TPD will not hold any educational classes or community events. This measure will be revisited as the situation continues to unfold.
To reduce instances of in-person contact, residents are encouraged to use the department’s online reporting system by clicking the “Report a Crime” tab on the Police Department’s website.
Anyone needing to utilize the departments fingerprinting services should call 254-298-5575 to schedule an appointment. Fingerprinting will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. on Fridays until further notice.
The TPD’s top priority continues to be the safety of its citizens and the protection of its employees. The department is reviewing its operational plans to prepare for any changes to services or staffing shortages that may be caused by this virus. At this time, TPD has not experienced any staffing shortages or major impacts to services.
While Municipal Court proceedings have been cancelled this week following guidance from the Texas Supreme Court, the Municipal Court clerk’s office remains open. Future court schedules are still being determined.
Residents are asked to call or email the court remotely in order to get the most up to date information about their case. Due to health concerns regarding in-person court appearances, the Temple Municipal Court will begin accepting appearances by email, fax or letter. Requests by email, fax or letter should be postmarked or received by the scheduled court date.
Due to CDC guidance on social distancing, the City of Temple will be holding virtual meetings for the Temple by Design Draft Comprehensive Plan instead of the previously planned open house forums. To participate, please click here to view the presentation and leave a comment on each slide. To learn more about the Draft Comprehensive plan, visit the City of Temple website.
Any planned public meetings where “social distancing” can be maintained will continue as scheduled, including the City Council workshop and regular meeting. The City Council workshop has been moved to the McLane Room on the 3rd floor of the Temple Public Library in order to allow for more space to meet the CDC’s “social distancing” guidelines. The City Council meeting will still take place in Council Chambers at Temple City Hall.
Emergency Management Updates
The City of Temple will continue to update residents with the latest developments using the coronavirus information page on the City of Temple website. All residents are still being asked to follow precautions from the Bell County Health District:
- Stay home if you are sick and avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw the tissue away.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with a disinfectant.
- Don’t travel to areas with active community spread of the coronavirus.
- Wash your hands with soap and water regularly and use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content when soap and water are not available.
Magnolia announced Monday it would close Magnolia Market, the Silos grounds, Silos Baking Co., Magnolia Press, Magnolia Table and Little Shop on Bosque.
The company said they hoped to reopen on March 30.
"Our online shop at magnolia.com will remain open during this time, and our guest services team will be standing by to answer any questions you may have," the post on Instagram said. "Please be safe, and we can't wait to see you all soon."
An administrative order was released by Bell County on Monday that ordered Bell County courts to only provide essential functions and hearings beginning March 16 through April 10.
Essential functions include criminal magistrate proceedings, CPS removal hearings, temporary restraining orders, temporary injunctions, juvenile detention hearings and family violence protective orders.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced he is closing his country's borders to anyone not a citizen or a permanent resident amid the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. researchers began trials on an experimental coronavirus vaccine as a healthy volunteer was given the first shot.
The National Institutes of health is funding the trial taking place at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. Testing began with 45 young, healthy volunteers with different doses of shots co-developed by NIH and Moderna Inc.
The goal of the first phase of this study is to learn about the vaccine's safety and see how the immune system responds to it.
Spring dates for college admissions test are being rescheduled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The groups that administer the ACT and SAT exams annouced they are putting off their next nationwide examinations. The SAT set for May 2 has been canceled, and the makeups for the March 14th exam, scheduled for march 28, have also been canceled.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday morning that he has waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements for the 2019-2020.
Abbott also requested that the U.S. Department of Education waive federal testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.
A second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 has been identified in Bell County, the Bell County Public Health District said Monday morning.
The individual is a 70-year-old man living in the Belton extraterritorial jurisdiction with a travel history to Europe.
Bell County Public Health has initiated a self-isolation protocol and contact tracing for this case.
Bell County is currently in Stage 2 of its COVID-19 action plan.
SUNDAY, MARCH 15
A Woodway man requested to self-quarantine after his roommate was exposed to the Bell County man who tested positive for COVID-19.
The Woodway city manager said the man works in the public safety department and has no symptoms of coronavirus. However, he requested they self-quarantine in an abundance of caution although he and his roommate were not showing any symptoms of the virus.
The Woodway employee's regular job functions do not put them in direct contact with the public.
FRIDAY, MARCH 13
City of Waco closes certain facilities to the public
The City of Waco closed certain facilities to the public beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday, March 14 through at least midnight on March 29.
Facilities closed to the public include
- City of Waco Public Libraries
- Cameron Park Zoo
- City of Waco Community Centers
- City of Waco Senior Centers
- Waco Convention Center & Visitors’ Bureau
- Texas Ranger Hall of Fame
- Waco Mammoth National Monument
- Riverbend Ballpark/Hart-Patterson Track and Field Complex
The city also said all rental facilities will be suspended through March 29. That includes park pavilions, athletic fields, Cameron Park Clubhouse and the Multi-Purpose Center.
Cottonwood Creek Golf Course will remain open for public play, but all scheduled events will be temporarily suspended through March 29.
The city also said gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited and that gatherings of more than 10 people are not recommended. They also urged people not to attend non-essential gatherings to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Central Texas VA announces additional safety precautions
The Central Texas Veterans Health Care System said they are taking extra precautions to limit coronavirus exposure.
Starting March 16, TVHCS clinics said they will conduct mandatory screening to identify individuals who may have symptoms of respiratory illness and direct them for further treatment. The Temple and Waco Medical Centers started conducting screenings on March 16.
CTHCS includes the following medical centers and outpatient clinics:
- Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Medical Center in Temple
- Doris Miller Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Waco
- Austin Outpatient Clinic
- Brownwood Community Based Outpatient Clinic
- Cedar Park CBOC
- College Station CBOC
- LaGrange CBOC
- Palestine CBOC
- Temple Clinic Annex
- Joint VA/DoD Sleep Center in Killeen
The Central Texas VA said that veterans concerned they may have symptoms of the coronavirus, flu or cold call 1-800-423-2111.
Schools across Bell and McLennan counties announced extended spring breaks in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
More area universities also announced closures.
Most of the schools are offering curbside breakfast and lunch for kids.
The full list of closures and services offered can be found here.
The City of Temple followed the recommendations of county health officials and is taking precautionary measures to protect against the coronavirus.
The city canceled all city events and said that any planned public meetings or forums where Bell County's social distancing guidelines can be maintained will continue as scheduled.
"The safety of our residents, visitors, and city staff remains our highest priority," Public Relations Manager Laurie Simmons said.
Starting March 12, the city custodial staff began implementing additional cleaning procedures in all city facilities including spraying all public entryway door handles and door knobs with hospital type disinfectant.
Waco area schools began announcing they were extending their spring breaks to slow the spread of the coronavirus among the student communities.
These schools announced an additional week of spring break, from March 16-20:
- China Spring
- Valley Mills
These schools extended spring break by two weeks, from March 16-27:
Greater Waco area school superintendents met to discuss their collective response to the coronavirus threat.
There are currently no confirmed cases in McLennan County. In neighboring Bell County, there is one presumptive positive case of the coronavirus. The case is in the process of undergoing confirmatory testing with the CDC.
Fort Hood officials recommended that all military, civilians, family members and visitors on post take action to protect themselves and others from contracting the coronavirus.
In response to Bell County’s announcement, Fort Hood said to:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
• Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in the trash; cough/sneeze into your elbow if tissues are unavailable.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Ensure all immunizations are up to date, including your seasonal flu shot.
• Stay home if you are sick, and avoid close contact with family members and pets.
• Create an emergency preparedness kit.
• Create a pet disaster preparedness kit.
• Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• If you are sick, call your medical provider for instructions on receiving care before going to the clinic
• Stay informed by routinely checking reliable sources of information such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your local public health agencies.
You can find more information on the CRDAMC website.
Texas governor activates National Guard in response to the coronavirus
Gov. Greg Abbott activated the Texas National Guard in order to be prepared to assist with response efforts against the coronavirus.
Members of the Texas National Guard that are healthcare employees and first responders are not included in the activation.
When the announcement was made, Gov. Abbott said no members of the Guard were needed to be deployed.
President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday afternoon to bolster funding for fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump said the emergency would open up nearly $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. He also said they would be waiving interest on federally owned students loans in effort to ease financial impact of the virus outbreak.
He also asked every hospital in the U.S. to activate their emergency preparedness plan.
Bell County Public Health District identified the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 late Thursday night.
The case is in the process of undergoing confirmatory testing with the CDC.
The individual is a 29-year-old man in Belton with a travel history in Barcelona and Paris from March 4 to March 10.
Bell County Public Health has initiated self-isolation protocol and contact tracing for this case.