The Bell County Public Health District announced Thursday that they have raised the COVID-19 threat level in response to a wave of new cases.

In a news release issued Thursday afternoon, BCPHD Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell, PhD wrote the following:

We have shifted the threat level to Level 1: Severe Uncontrolled Transmission (Red). This was done because we are seeing worsening community outbreaks associated with the post-Thanksgiving surge.

 

Our public health system is strained, and while our healthcare partners are managing, they are also under stress. We expect another possible wave of COVID-19 cases after Christmas, and if it is anything like the wave of new cases we saw following Thanksgiving, it could certainly prove to be extremely problematic for Bell County.

 

Changing the threat level is not a trigger for any action, but this is a warning to everyone that we are all in this together and it is up to every individual to do their part to bring these numbers down.

BCPHD added 168 cases Thursday. In total, they've reported 9,987 cases with 8,348 recoveries.

"We currently have 1,639 active cases and an incidence rate of 451.6," Dr. Robison-Chadwell wrote. "Our 7 day rolling average is sitting at 141 cases, and our incidence rate remains over 400 per 100,000 people. This is certainly a concern coming into the Christmas holiday."

On Wednesday, BCPHD reported five recent deaths attributed to COVID-19: a Killeen man in his 40's; a Killeen man in his 60's; two Killeen men in their 70's; and a Temple man in his 70's.

Health officials have repeatedly recommended that Americans limit the size of holiday gatherings to only those people in their immediate household, and to continue wearing a mask that covers their nose and mouth when out in public. Physical distancing is still recommended as well, as the primary means of passing along the virus is expelling viral particles in respiratory droplets.

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