Killeen, Texas Be Aware: Bell County’s COVID-19 Threat Level Is At Its Highest
Less than a month after raising the COVID-19 threat level in Bell County, officials are raising it once again due to high infection rates.
Highest Level Of Threat For COVID-19
Nikki Morrow, Interim Director of the Bell County Health District, reports that as of January 12th, 2022, Bell County has 3834 active cases of COVID-19.
Because the incidence rate here in Bell County has increased, as well as the positivity rate and surge in hospitalizations, the Bell County Public Health District changed the Covid-19 Threat Level from Level 2 (Significant) to Level 1 (Severe Uncontrolled Community Transmission). The threat level was raised to Level 2 back on January 4th, and there's been a drastic increase in cases since then.
Level 1 is the highest threat level, and the citizens of Bell County should be alarmed.
The Numbers Keep Rising
According to the Health District, Bell County has 90% new cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The county has seen increases in active cases since the threat level changed 8 days ago.
Morrow's news release includes data from a month ago. According to the data, Bell County saw 50 active cases per 100,000 population. On January 4th, it went to 575 per 100,000, and today that number has almost doubled to 1044 active cases per 100,000.
The Bell County Health District Recommends Getting Vaccinated
Due to the increased spread and highly contagious nature of the Omicron variant, Marrow is strongly encouraging Texans to get fully vaccinated and get their booster doses.
"The booster dose significantly enhances the immune response and helps protect against more severe disease and hospitalization," Marrow writes. "COVID-19 vaccines have been found to be very safe and effective and are being continuously monitored by the FDA with the most comprehensive and intense safety monitoring program in U.S. history."
The City of Temple and Salado both have free vaccination sites set up this week. Get the details here.
Less Severe, But More People Are Getting Infected and It's Negatively Affecting Patient Care
Marrow warns that while the Omicron variant appears to cause less severe disease, health officials are still seeing many severe cases that require hospitalization.
Dr. Janice Smith, a local health authority, tells Marrow there's concerning stress on the health care system, which is affecting not only COVID-19 patients, but people being treated for strokes, heart attacks, and trauma, as well as patients in need of cancer treatment and surgery.
Stay Away From People And Wear Masks
The Bell County Health District suggests minimizing indoor activities with large groups of people, frequently washing your hands, add layers of protection especially when indoors, maintaining social distancing, and most of all to wear your masks.
If you're in need of a COVID-19 test, you can stop by Wilson Park in Temple Tuesday through Saturday now through January 29, or visit the testing station hosted by Tim Jefferies with KHS Consulting in Killeen at 1015 North 8th Street.
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