CENTRAL, Texas — Editor's Note: This story will be continuously updated.
TUESDAY, APRIL 21
The City of Killeen said a third Killeen police officer tested positive for coronavirus.
City spokeswoman, Hillary Shine said the officer was recovering.
The first two positive cases in KPD officers were reported April 7. One of those officers has recovered, the other is still recovering, according to the city.
Killeen Independent School District expanded the resources offered to elementary students with the addition of bilingual lessons on the Continued Learning Center online at www.killeenisd.org/livetv.
Families can tune in on Wednesdays, starting this week, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade lessons in Spanish.
Bilingual teachers have prepared half-hour literacy and math lessons for each grade level that will serve as a resource to mailed packets and the online Continued Learning Center.
The schedule begins tomorrow and will continue every Wednesday for as long as they are needed.
Lessons will also available on the KISD website.
Abbott said in a press conference Tuesday that over 205,000 have been tested for COVID-19 in the US and the country has seen a dramatic increase in tests available. 19,945 have tested positive, which makes the positive test rate of about 10 percent. 1491 have been hospitalized in Texas.
There is an average of about 1,450 new cases every day in the country, but the percentage of those being hospitalized is going down.
Abbott also said that Texas has not come close to using or needing all the hospital beds available in the state.
There are 21,000 hospital beds, 2,311 ICU beds, and 8,300 ventilators available in the state.
He also stated that although the fatality total continues to increase, the rate of deaths is decreasing. Texas has lost 511 lives to COVID-19, but numbers are going up for those who have recovered.
Abbott said that the state is prepared. 4.8 million masks, 453,000 face shields, 2 million gloves and 16,000 gloves have been provided in the past week.
Abbott also spoke about jobs in Texas and said that he is working to slowly open up the state. So far, $1.4 billion has been paid out to 1,579,000 filled unemployment claims in the state.
Abbott said that the biggest challenge in this situation is the healthcare response. The state has not yet experienced a shortage of healthcare workers, but wants to be prepared if that does happen.
Abbott asked that all medical personnel register at Texas.gov to sign up to provide medical service if it is needed. When you sign up, you do have the choice to accept assignments or not. It is all voluntary
“Your assistance makes a difference,” Abbott said.
Hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities can request volunteers through that same website.
On top of this, there are more than 60 drive through testing spots in Texas with more opening soon.
Abbot said his main focus now is that “Texans want to get back to work.”
He said that he and his team have received a lot of information from the public and businesses that said they are prepared to open doors as soon as possible, in the safest way possible.
Abbott said that Texas is prepared to take positive steps to open up the state. In the meantime, there are nearly 500,000 jobs available in Texas if you are looking for a new job.
Visit WorkInTexas.com to find regions, industries, and hiring jobs.
Abbott reiterated that the state has seen a decrease in deaths and positive cases because of social distancing. He urges the public to continue to take those measures to protect our most vulnerable populations.
Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Network planned October launch is being pushed back because of production delays related to the COVID-19 disease, it was announced Tuesday.
A new debut date wasn’t immediately announced.
The pandemic has brought most TV and film production to a standstill.
The Brazos County Public Health District reported three additional cases of COVID-19.
The total number of positive cases is 176 with 16 deaths.
As of Tuesday, April 21, there's only a 39% chance Texas has already reached its peak in deaths and the true peak may be a couple of weeks away. The model shows that in Texas, there's a 75% chance the peak will happen one week from now and a 91% chance of a peak happening within the next two weeks.
Sen. Ted Cruz met with the Temple Chamber of Commerce in a video conference call.
Cruz talked about the need to re-open the Texas economy.
"If we continue shelter-in-place that's going to be devastating for the economy," said Cruz. "For young healthy people it makes sense to go back to work."
Cruz also said he believed congress would approve additional funding for the Payroll Protection Program.
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MONDAY, APRIL 20
The Brazos County Public Health District reported no new cases of COVID-19.
Total in the county remains 170 with 57 recoveries, 97 active cases and 11 people hospitalized.
16 people have died.
The Temple Independent School District said it was postponing the May 30 graduation ceremony and instead scheduled it for June 14.
Superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott said if social distancing won't allow for a full ceremony, the district will conduct a virtual graduation.
If the graduation is virtual, Ott said the district also booked the Bell County Expo Center for August 8 to host a senior class 2020 celebration.
SUNDAY, APRIL 19
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported no new cases of COVID-19 in the county. This is the third day in a row the county has reported no new cases.
The total number of cases is 76, 58 of which have recovered. 14 cases remain active.
Three cases are hospitalized in critical condition. 81 people are being actively monitored, including positive cases and their close contacts.
No new deaths were reported Sunday, leaving the total number of deaths at four.
The Brazos County Health District reported one new case of COVID-19, making the total number of cases 170.
Of those cases, 11 remain hospitalized. There have been 50 total recoveries and 16 total deaths.
The health district reported that 2,815 tests have been performed.
SATURDAY, APRIL 18
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported no new COVID-19 cases Saturday afternoon, making it the second day the district has reported no new cases.
The district reported one new recovery, making the total number of recoveries 58.
Three cases remain hospitalized and 81 people are being actively monitored, including positive cases and their close contacts.
There have been a total of 76 cases reported in the county, with 14 of them still active.
Five additional positive cases of COVID-19 has been reported to the Brazos County Health District. This brings the total number of cases to 169.
The Brazos County Health District confirmed its 16th death.
FRIDAY, APRIL 17
An H-E-B employee at the Wooded Acres location in Waco tested positive for COVID-19, according to a release from the grocery store chain.
The release said the person was last in store April 13 and that the store had "been sanitized multiple times" since the worker was last in the store.
The identity of the worker was not released.
"At impacted locations, all directly affected Partners are notified and provided medical advice, each location is deep cleaned and sanitized multiple times," H-E-B spokesperson Chelsea Thompson said in a release.
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The University Interscholastic League canceled all remaining spring activities and state championships.
In a Tweet, the UIL said, "in an effort to help protect the health and safety of Texas, the UIL is canceling all remaining 2019-2020 spring activities and state championships."
“Our staff had been working hard on plans to resume activities this spring, but without schools in session, interscholastic activities cannot continue,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “Our highest priority during this challenging time is ensuring the health and safety of our students and communities and making progress in the containment of COVID-19 in Texas. We are now turning our attention to the 2020-2021 school year.”
The previously communicated information allowing remote instruction remains in place, the UIL said.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District said there were no new cases of COVID-19, leaving the total at 76.
57 people have recovered and two remain hospitalized.
The Bell County Public Health District reported two new COVID-19 cases, bringing to total number of cases to 114.
The health district also reported one new recovery. As of Friday afternoon, there have been 58 recoveries.
No new deaths were reported.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced he had created a statewide strike force Friday designed to lead the effort to re-open Texas.
Abbott said retail to-go would re-open April 24. He said all state parks would open Monday but that would schools would remain closed the rest of the year.
Abbott said additional executive orders would be issued April 27, at which time an announcement could be made about the stay-at-home policy.
The City of Copperas Cove reported on additional case of COVID-19, bringing the total in the city to 16.
The newest case is a girl between the ages of 10 and 19.
So far, three of the 16 patients have recovered.
Brazos County reported the 15th death from COVID-19 and an additional six cases, bringing the total there to 164.
50 of the Brazos County patients have recovered, while nine remain in the hospital.
H-E-B began delivering fresh, chef-inspired meals to hospitals in Central Texas.
The meals are for doctors, nurses and other health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
H-E-B plans to deliver the meals every Friday, beginning April 17, for the next four weeks.
The first delivery in Waco was at Baylor, Scott & White Hillcrest, followed by Ascension Providence.
Following in the lead of Austin and Dallas County, San Antonio is now mandating that all residents 10 years of age and older wear a cloth face covering in public setting, as part of the latest efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
The new directive, which comes as an addendum to the current stay-home order, is effective Monday, though city leaders had previously stated the order would be effective immediately. In an email Thursday evening, officials said "we understand the public may need some time to obtain or make a cloth face covering."
Gov. Greg Abbott was set to speak from the Capitol Friday about plans to return to some kind of normalcy in Texas at Noon.
Earlier this week, he announced he would be going over details on jump starting the economy but emphasized it would be gradual and not everything would open all at once.
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THURSDAY, APRIL 16
The City of Copperas Cove modified its COVID-19 hotline hours, saying that call volume has decreased.
The new hours, starting Friday, are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The number is 254-542-8920.
The hotline was previously available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The 12th Can, a student-run food pantry affiliated with the Brazos Valley Food Bank is organizing a food drive in partnership with the Texas A&M Foundation to assist students, faculty and staff facing food insecurity caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Community members can donate goods to The 12th Can at a drop-off location outside the Jon L. Hagler Center at 401 George Bush Drive in College Station.
Marked boxes will be placed under the front awning in its circle driveway from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The items the pantry is most in need of includes pasta, beans and canned protein.
Donated items will be collected regularly and taken to the food pantry for distribution. Those unable to drop off goods can donate online to The 12th Can through the A&M Foundation.
Food pantry members will pre-package food for individuals to pick up curbside to follow social distancing guidelines.
For more information or questions, email the Texas A&M Foundation.
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Killeen Independent School District launched a College and Career Transition Hotline for Killeen ISD high school students. The hotline is available from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. every Tuesday through Thursday.
Mrs. Karen Denney, also known as the "Scholarship Lady," will answer the hotline.
Students can call and receive guidance on numerous topics including college applications, college research, career research, financial aid, scholarships, ACT/SAT, and career search tools.
The hotline number is (254) 340-0321.
Support is also available for students via email at CCMR@killeenisd.org.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported two new cases of COVID-19, making for a total of 76 patients.
53 of those cases have recovered while two remain hospitalized with one in critical condition.
No new deaths were reported, leaving the number of deaths at four.
83 people are being actively monitored, including confirmed cases and their close contacts.
The Bell County Public Health District reported a jump in COVID-19 cases with nine new patients as of Thursday afternoon.
The total is now 112. There have been 57 recoveries. No new deaths have been reported, leaving the total number of COVID-19 deaths at three.
The Salvation Army is joining Trinity Church in hosting a pop-up prayer and pantry donation event Friday, April 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Trinity Church, 7101 W. Adams Ave. in Temple.
"Having our pop-up prayer locations ensures that we not only are providing emotional and spiritual care on a national level organizationally, but also making ourselves available and accessible on a local level," Lt. Chantel Millin said in a press release. "We pray those driving by will take a moment to drive-thru and allow us to pray with and encourage them."
The City of Copperas Cove reported one new case of COVID-19 Thursday afternoon.
The case is a woman in her 50s who is currently in self-isolation.
The release indicated that another person is hospitalized with the virus, making this the second Copperas Cove case that has been hospitalized.
There have been 15 total cases in Copperas Cove, with three recoveries and one death.
City of Mexia Mayor Geary Smith signed an emergency order that extends the city's curfew until April 22.
This is a renewal of the previous curfew, which was enacted April 10 and enforced April 11-15.
The curfew was implemented as a way to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Mexia. According to the order, Smith can later decide to revise or extend the curfew or let it expire.
The Brazos County Health District reported one new COVID-19 related death late Thursday morning, making it the 14 in the county.
The health district also reported seven new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 158.
Of those cases, nine remain hospitalized. 41 patients have recovered.
The health district is holding a press conference at 1:30 p.m. with representatives from Baylor Scott & White and CHI St. Joseph to provide and update on the county's response to the coronavirus.
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