Local doctors are seeing a surge in positive COVID-19 tests as the fast-spreading DELTA variant spreads through many communities, including Bell County.
In just the last two weeks, the number of positive cases across the nation has jumped 250% compared to last month and the CDC predicts it is going to get much worse by the end of August.
Bell County Health Department reports that there are 770 active cases of COVID-19, excluding Fort Hood. The Texas Department of State Health Services (TXDHS), however, reports that as of July 26 there are 1,360 active cases of COVID-19 in Bell County.
The two reporting systems also differ on the total number of cases in Bell County. Bell County Health reports 23,911 cases with 22,601 recoveries while the state reports 23,782 confirmed cases and 24,572 estimated recoveries.
The state DHS reports that there have been 458 deaths in Bell County due to COVID-19 while Bell County Health reports 471 deaths.
Regardless, the numbers of COVId-19 cases have increased dramatically in July, which moved Bell County to Level 3: Moderate, Controlled Transmission from Level 4: Minimal, Controlled Transmission.
At Level 3, Public health systems for testing and tracing remain within their capacities and healthcare systems are also within their capacities.
To return to Level 4, Bell County will need 14 days of flat or decreasing trends in new COVID-19 case; 14 days of flat or decreasing trends in daily COVID-19 hospitalizations and widespread deployment of vaccines and/or treatment.
Vaccines supplies have exceeded demands across the state. While vaccines are easier to get, only 27% of Bell County residents are fully vaccinated, according to TXSDHS data. Older Bell County citizens are more likely to be fully vaccinated as 66% of those over age 65 are fully vaccinated. Across the state, 54% of residents are fully vaccinated.
While the vast number of people who are now testing positive for COVID-19 are not vaccinated, even those who are fully vaccinated can be susceptible to COVID-19, particularly the Delta variant.
In one household here in Salado, all three adults were diagnosed with COVID-19, despite all three being fully vaccinated. Each had varying degrees of symptoms with the woman in her 40s being asymptomatic, the man in his early 50s having a fever above 100° and the man over 70 was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 related pneumonia earlier this week.
Symptoms of Delta
• Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, gasping for air.
• Constant cough that will not stop.
• Persistent pain in your chest.
• Too weak to stand, feeling light-headed, feeling cold.
• Inability to wake up or stay awake.
• Slurred speech or difficulty speaking.
According to medical providers with American Family Care (AFC), a national healthcare network with a local clinic, vaccines stops the virus that causes COVID-19 to move between people.
The more the virus circulates the more opportunities it can transform itself and reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines that are in place, medical staff at AFC state.
The AFC medical staff state that you should “Wear a mask. We know by now covering our mouth and nose can protect the spread of COVID-19. This is especially important for children under the age of 13 who cannot get vaccinated at this time.”
Medical professionals also encourage people to continue social distancing and to continue washing their hands often and using hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention state the following about COVID-19 vaccines:
There are two types of COVID vaccinations currently under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the United States: mRNA vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) and Adenovirus vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).
Both vaccines contain a portion of the genetic material of the coronavirus called the “spike protein.” The virus uses this “spike” on its surface to attach itself to your body and enter your cells.
When you receive the vaccine, you are introducing your body to this spike protein so it can make antibodies against it. Then, if you are exposed to the natural virus, your body can more easily fight it off.
The vaccine does NOT contain the actual coronavirus, dead or alive.
A quick search of vaccines.gov shows that there are 29 locations within 20 miles of Salado that offer vaccines. Those locations and proximity to Salado are the following:
Walmart Inc #10-1232, 2604 N Main St, Belton, TX 76513, In Stock, 9.37 miles
H-E-B #39, 2509 N Main St, Belton, TX 76513, In Stock, 9.45 miles
CVS Pharmacy, Inc. #10414, 2849 N Main St, Belton, TX 76513, In Stock, 9.59 miles
Walgreens Co. #10392, 100 Lake Rd, Belton, TX 76513, In Stock, 9.60 miles
Walmart Inc #10-6459, 960 E FM 2410 Rd, Harker Heights, TX 76548, In Stock, 10.01 miles
H-E-B #381, 601 Indian Trail, Harker Heights, TX 76548, In Stock, 11.01 miles
Walgreens Co. #10730, 400 E Fm 2410 Rd, Harker Heights, TX 76548, In Stock, 11.06 miles
CVS Pharmacy, Inc. #17438. 201 E Central Texas Expy, Harker Heights, TX 76548, In Stock, 11.16 miles.
Walmart Inc #10-3319, 2020 Heights Dr, Harker Heights, TX 76548, In Stock, 11.43 miles
Sam’s Club #10-6245, 600 W Central Texas Expy, Harker Heights, TX 76548, In Stock, 11.74 miles
Walgreens Co. #6158, 3614 S 31st St, Temple, TX 76502, In Stock, 11.89 miles
Sam’s Club #10-6336, 1414 Marlandwood Rd, Temple, TX 76502, In Stock, 12.02 miles
Walmart Inc #10-0746, 3401 S 31st St, Temple, TX 76502, In Stock, 12.12 miles
H-E-B #182, 3002 S 31st St, Temple, TX 76502, In Stock, 12.20 miles
CVS Pharmacy, Inc. #06835, 2674 S 31st St, Temple, TX 76504, In Stock, 12.44 miles
CVS Pharmacy, Inc. #17352, 3550 S General Bruce Dr, Temple, TX 76504, In Stock, 12.51 miles
Walmart Inc #10-6929, 6801 W Adams Ave, Temple, TX 76502, In Stock, 12.67 miles
Walgreens Co. #11130, 3802 E Elms Rd, Killeen, TX 76542, In Stock, 13.13 miles
Walmart Inc #10-3449, 3801 E Stan Schlueter Loop, Killeen, TX 76542, In Stock, 13.20 miles
H-E-B #71, 1314 W Adams Ave, Temple, TX 76504, In Stock, 14.34 miles
Walmart Inc #10-0407, 1400 Lowes Blvd, Killeen, TX 76542, In Stock, 14.82 miles
CVS Pharmacy, Inc. #10221, 2502 Trimmier Rd, Killeen, TX 76542, In Stock, 15.12 miles
Walgreens Co. #10711, 1000 E Central Texas Expy, Killeen, TX 76541, In Stock, 15.17 miles
H-E-B #581, 2511 Trimmier Rd Ste 100, Killeen, TX 76542, In Stock, 15.19 miles
H-E-B #721, 1101 W Stan Schlueter Loop, Killeen, TX 76549, In Stock, 15.89 miles
CVS Pharmacy, Inc. #10585, 3300 W Stan Schlueter Loop, Killeen, TX 76549, In Stock, 17.37 miles
Walmart Inc #10-6286, 3404 W Stan Schlueter Loop, Killeen, TX 76542, In Stock, 17.46 miles
Walmart Inc #10-3450, 2900 Clear Creek Rd, Killeen, TX 76549, In Stock, 18.97 miles.
Walk-ins are accepted at the above-mentioned locations, but you may want to call to schedule an appointment. You can find out more about vaccine locations by visiting vaccines.gov.