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Bell County ups COVID-19 threat status to highest level

The threat level now sits at Level 1 marked by "severe uncontrolled community transmission". This is the highest threat level.

BELL COUNTY, Texas — The Bell County Public Health District increased its COVID-19 threat level to 1 on Wednesday as the county reports an increase in incidence rates.

Level 1 is the highest threat level, meaning there is "severe uncontrolled community transmission," according to the district.

The county reportedly seen a rapid rise in active cases since the threat level was adjusted on Jan. 4, many of the new cases largely attributable to the Omicron variant 

RELATED: Bell County ups COVID-19 threat level

Per its local dashboard, active cases per 100,000 population have doubled. 

A month ago it was 50 active cases per 100,000 population; a week ago it was 575 active cases per 100,000; and Monday it 1,044 active cases per 100,000 population. 

Bell County health officials recommend the following, especially with the Omicron variant being more contagious than past variants:

  • Full vaccination and booster dose if eligible
  • Wearing a KN95 or N95 mask, especially indoors and in crowded areas (“Single ply cloth masks and bandanas are simply not very effective against this variant.” Dr. Janice Smith, Local Health Authority for BCPHD said.)
  • Social distancing
  • Avoiding crowded areas
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Monitor daily health

The county says while Omicron variant appears to cause less severe disease than previous variants, it is still seeing many people developing severe disease and requiring hospitalization, especially in persons who are not vaccinated.

 “The strain on the health care system is very concerning, as it affects not only people needing care for COVID-19 but also those who need care for strokes, heart attacks, and trauma or those needing cancer treatment or surgery”, says Dr. Janice Smith, Local Health Authority. “Our health care professionals continue to provide the highest quality care possible, but they need your help. Please do your part to help prevent further spread of this virus.”

The Bell County Public Health District tracks local COVID-19 data and reports to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) for the state dashboard. The local dashboard can be found on the health district website, www.bellcountyhealth.org.

Please consult your health care provider or primary care physician for questions on COVID-19 vaccines. To find a COVID-19 vaccine near you or for frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 vaccines, please visit www.vaccines.gov, or call 1-800-232-0233. You can also TEXT your zip code to 438829 to find a vaccine location near you. To reach the COVID-19 Helpline, call 2-1-1 and select option 6, call 1-877-570-9779.